At this time of year, the sun barely dips below the horizon in Iceland so it doesn’t truly get dark. Sunset and sunrise are within about four hours of each other and during this time, twilight prevails. I decided it would be nice to visit Jökulsárlón again at dawn so after just a couple of hours sleep, we set off from Höfn for the hour-long drive. My previous visit to this glacial lagoon was a couple of months ago and you can see details of that visit here and here.
Despite there being much less ice in the lagoon itself this time, there was still plenty of ice on the beach as you can see from the pictures. I was doing very well at keeping clear of the waves until the wave in the first picture surged ashore. To say the water was cold is an understatement. I’ve been soaked many times taking pictures on the beaches around Cornwall. This particular soaking is one I’ll remember for a long time. For the next few hours, I drove the car barefoot whilst my hiking boots and socks dried in front of the heater vents. Click on the images for a clearer sharper view! :-)
Jökulsárlón means literally glacial river lagoon and it is one of those places that most visitors to Iceland would like to see. Following on from my last post, you’ll know that the weather wasn’t the best but after a dawn start at the most southerly tip of Iceland, the plan was to drive on to Jökulsárlón. It’s a six or seven hour drive from Reykjavik, at least, it is if you’ve a photographer in the car who keeps insisting on stopping to take pictures. Otherwise you can make the journey in about 4 and a half hours.
Despite the weather, we were committed to the drive so we kept going. I wanted to see the icebergs whatever the weather was doing but I was very conscious we needed to get there before dark so I did try to keep my stops to a minimum. As it was we arrived with about an hour’s daylight to spare.
The icebergs in the lagoon break free from the Vatnajökull glacier and can spend anything up to five years floating in the lagoon before finally making their way down the river and out into the Atlantic Ocean. I knew they’d be photogenic, I just hoped the weather would let up just a little. It did with just a hint of brightness and the overcast skies, for me anyway, created the perfect mood..
70mm f/11 1/10 sec ISO-100
Save for the wind and the occasional creak of the ice, there was complete silence. It was bitterly cold and I almost felt like whispering. There was a very unique atmosphere, perhaps it was due in part to the weather but it suited this very unique location perfectly.
The black strata in the ice reflect dustings of volcanic ash from volcanic eruptions that may have occurred many hundreds of years ago and some of the strange shapes are the result of wind and rain, natures very own sculptors, at work.
The lagoon has been a location chosen by more than one Hollywood blockbuster including Batman begins and Lara Croft’s Tomb Raider. In 1985 the glacier and lagoon featured in the film A View to a Kill. Bond returned in 2002 when the lagoon provided the backdrop to one of the finest car chases I’ve ever seen as a Jaguar and Bond’s Aston Martin fought it out in Die Another Day.
Here I’ve been a little creative in the re-processing of the image above to emphasise the translucence and light reflecting/absorbing qualities of the ice. I’m once again grateful to a couple of people who took the trouble to climb the hill on the right of these images to provide some scale for me.. ;-)