Iceland: Jökulsárlón Ice Beach and Glacial Lagoon

The Jökulsárlón lagoon and ice beach are among the world’s most magical places.

They were featured in 007 – James Bond A View to a Kill (1985) and 007 – James Bond, Die Another Day (2002) according to the Iceland Travel Guide 8 places in Iceland you will recognize from famous movies.

The answers to the three questions you are most likely to ask are as follows: Yes, Yes, Yes.

  1. Yes, the ice really is that blue. Glacial ice is compressed and has a different crystal structure that makes it look blue.
  2. Yes, the water is cold.
  3. Yes, I got wet, which is why I can properly testify to the previous question.

Feature Image Details: Canon 16-35MM F4 L Lens.  I shot at ISO 500 at 24mm for 0.8 seconds at F16. If I had to pick one lens and one lens only, this lens would be at the top of the list. I see things from a wide angle perspective.

The color of that sky lasted only a few frames. Here are a couple more images right before the sky turned.

The third image looks like it’s black and white.

Five Keys

  1. Getting very close to the subject
  2. Willingness to get wet
  3. A tripod
  4. Taking exposures of about 1 second or so
  5. Waiting for the right moment. Experience shows the right moment is just as the waves are receding.

When the waves are coming in, the ice is moving and it will be blurry. Grab the shot as the water recedes and hope the weight of the ice keeps it in place.

Warning

The ice is dangerous. If a big wave comes in, get out of the way. This ice is dangerous. It can break your tripod, or leg, whatever it hits first.

Aurora Borealis Jökulsárlón Glacial Lagoon

We were in Iceland for 8 days in March of 2017. We only say the Northern Lights on two evenings. The above image represents the weaker of the two by far.

Additional Iceland Aurora Images

  1. Iceland Northern Lights, Snæfellsnes Peninsula, Búðir
  2. Iceland Northern Lights, Snæfellsnes Peninsula, Búdir, Búdakirkja Church
  3. Iceland Northern Lights, Snæfellsjökull National Park, Malarrif Lighthouse

Second Trip

This was our second trip to Iceland. We returned specifically to see the Northern lights. We caught a very good display on the last evening (the above links).

Here are some links of Jökulsárlón Ice Beach and Glacial Lagoon from our first trip to Iceland during the Summer Solstice.

Equipment List

Those interested in my equipment and recommendations can find it here: Mish’s Equipment List.

Please Share!

If you like this article, please share by email or use one of the share buttons beneath the article.

Much more coming: Click to Subscribe by Email. You will not be bombarded by either ads or posts. I write once or twice a week.

Mike “Mish” Shedlock

Iceland in 16 Days: Day 3-4, South Region, Jökulsárlón Lagoon Elder Ducks

Feature Image Details: Canon 100-400 MM F 4.5-5.6 L lens at 148MM, ISO 1000, F/11, 1/800 second.

This is a pair of eider ducks at the Jökulsárlón Lagoon. Icebergs floated by, on their way out to sea, where they show up on the ice beach (see Iceland in 16 Days: Day 3-4, South Region, Jökulsárlón Ice Beach).

jokulsarlon-glacial-lagoon-south-iceland-403

In contrast to arctic terns that will dive bomb you by the dozens if you get too close to their nesting site, female eider ducks will let you get within a few feet and sit there.

I approached crawling on the ground. I did not want the duck to fly, and it never came close.

jokulsarlon-glacial-lagoon-nesting-elder-duck-south-iceland-22

For arctic tern shots, please see Iceland in 16 Days: Day 3-4, South Region, Jökulsárlón Arctic Tern Nesting Site.

Please Share!

If you like this article, please share by email or use one of the share buttons beneath the article.

Much more coming: Click to Subscribe by Email.

Up Next: Folaldafoss við Öxi (Foal Waterfall).

Mike “Mish” Shedlock

Iceland in 16 Days: Day 3-4, South Region, Jökulsárlón Arctic Tern Nesting Site

Shades of Alfred Hitchcock

Arctic terns do not like their nesting grounds intruded upon. If you walk near the nesting site, you will be bombarded by as many as 50 birds, swarming all around you. They will even peck at your head.

Apologies offered for failure to capture such an image. A video would have been nice.

I shot these images from our rental car. There is a road at the lagoon that goes through the nesting site.

jokulsarlon-arctic-tern-south-iceland-74

jokulsarlon-arctic-tern-south-iceland-77

All of the the images, including the feature image were taken with my Canon 100-400 MM F 4.5-5.6 L lens. From my car, the nesting site was right out the window. I used a focal length of about 150MM, ISO 1000. The shutter speed ranged 1/1600 to 1/2000 of a second at F/6.3.

What would I do different next time?

Other than get a video of birds pecking at my head, I would increase the ISO to 2000 or higher and set the Fstop at F/8 or F/11. I threw away many images because depth of field was insufficient or my focus was slightly off.

Please Share!

If you like this article, please share by email or use one of the share buttons beneath the article.

Much more coming: Click to Subscribe by Email.

Next up: Eider Ducks at the Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon.

Mike “Mish” Shedlock

Iceland in 16 Days: South Region, Day 3-4, Jökulsárlón Glacial Lagoon

The feature image above was taken at sunrise, standing in the lagoon, with a Canon 24-105MM F4 L lens at ISO 125, F/11 at 1/100 second.

Sunrise was a couple hours of so after sunset. It was cloudy at sunset, but the sky broke a bit at sunrise for some dramatic images.

The Jökulsárlón lagoon and ice beach is one of the world’s most magical places.

It was featured in 007 – James Bond A view to a kill (1985) and 007 – James Bond, Die another day (2002) according to the Iceland Travel Guide 8 places in Iceland you will recognize from famous movies.

These images and the ones in my prior post Iceland in 16 Days: Day 3-4, South Region, Jökulsárlón Ice Beach were taken on our second day at Jökulsárlón.

Our first day at was uneventful. The wind was blowing offshore, it was cloudy, and the water was calm.

The answers to the three questions you are most likely to ask (the same questions as yesterday) are as follows: Yes, Yes, Yes.

  1. Yes, the ice really is that blue. Glacial ice is compressed and has a different crystal structure that makes it look blue.
  2. Yes, the water is cold.
  3. Yes, I got wet (for the second consecutive day, just hours apart).

Here is a gallery of images taken at sunrise from the Jökulsárlón Glacial Lagoon. Click on any image to see a slideshow.

I used my Canon 100-400 MM F 4.5-5.6 L lens for all of the shots except the feature image.

I did not use a graduated neutral density filter on any of these shots. Instead, I applied a digital graduated neutral density filter inside Lightroom.

The key to these shots was “be there at sunrise”. For the feature image, I also had to get wet.

We are returning in March hoping to catch the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights). You cannot see them in the summer when Iceland is  never dark.

I will bring waders on the next trip. I got wet at least two more times.

Please Share!

If you like this article, please share by email or use one of the share buttons beneath the article.

Much more coming: Click to Subscribe by Email.

Up Next: Jökulsárlón Arctic Tern Nesting Site

Mike “Mish” Shedlock.

Iceland in 16 Days: Day 3-4, South Region, Jökulsárlón Ice Beach

The Jökulsárlón lagoon and ice beach is one of the world’s most magical places.

It was featured in 007 – James Bond A view to a kill (1985) and 007 – James Bond, Die another day (2002) according to the Iceland Travel Guide 8 places in Iceland you will recognize from famous movies.

The answers to the three questions you are most likely to ask are as follows: Yes, Yes, Yes.

  1. Yes, the ice really is that blue. Glacial ice is compressed and has a different crystal structure that makes it look blue.
  2. Yes, the water is cold.
  3. Yes, I got wet, which is why I can properly testify to the previous question.

Feature Image Details:

Here is a slide-show of images taken at the Jökulsárlón ice beach. Click on any image to step through the series.

These images were taken June 20. We were lucky. At that time of year, most of the ice may be gone.

All of these images were taken with a Canon 24-105MM F4 L lens at ISO 200 on an EOS 6D body. The details did not vary much, approximately 45MM, F/16, 1/8 second.

You can easily break your tripod or your leg if you get too close to this ice. I use the Manfrotto MT190CXPRO3 Carbon Fiber Tripod. For details, please see my Equipment List.

To catch the waves, snap a series of images when the water hits the ice. To get the smooth flow as captured in many of the images, snap pictures a moment after the tide flows back out.

You do need the wind at your favor. On our first day in this location, the wind was blowing offshore, there was less ice on the beach, and there were no waves at all.

If doing a circle tour of Iceland, I recommend staying two days near Jökulsárlón as noted my Iceland Guide.

The guide is packed with information about what to bring, where to go, what to do, where to stay, what to expect in each location, and what literature to read before your trip.

Please Share!

If you like this article, please share by email or use one of the share buttons beneath the article.

Much more coming: Click to Subscribe by Email.

Up Next: Jökulsárlón Glacial Lagoon

Mike “Mish” Shedlock.