A Long Road, But a Great Destination

Northern Lights over Jökulsárlón
Camera: Panasonic DC-G9M2 | Date: 13-02-2024 23:16 | Resolution: 5736 x 3585 | ISO: 1600 | Exp. bias: 0 EV | Exp. Time: 8.0s | Aperture: 1.8 | Focal Length: 9.0mm (~21.0mm)

New one for the dysfunctional hotels blog. Not only is the toilet positioned so close to the shower partition that someone with broad shoulders can’t sit straight, but as you sit there the door gradually swings open and comes to rest between your knees, with your left leg wedged firmly up against the partition, and your nose against the door handle. Double fault, 10 points.

Breakfast was complete with all expected humans, but we were collectively short one case which EasyJet had managed to leave at Gatwick, with an expected delivery date in four days’ time, so big Chris was going to have to do some emergency shopping.

We set off on the long drive to Jökulsárlón, our first stop proper. With the whole of southern Iceland covered in a fresh coat of crisp snow it was stunningly beautiful, but the combination of high winds and some ice on the road made it a very hard drive for Lee. Even though the storm had moved on, at times drifting loose snow caused a near white-out, and we passed at least one accident where a large vehicle had effectively pushed another off the road, albeit hopefully without significant injury.

We had a short stop for lunch, but otherwise we were on the road for about 5 hours. However that got us to the new FossHotel near Jökulsárlón, and after checking in we headed for the glacial lagoon, getting there just in time for sunset. There was great light on both the icebergs near the mouth of the lagoon, and also the hills behind it.

Sunset at Jökulsárlón (Show Details)

Back to the hotel for dinner, and then out again, with fairly clear skies and a good forecast for aurorae. We weren’t disappointed – it got started just as we got there, and put on a stunning show for two hours. I was in my element, with scope for all sorts of wide shots, and the Panasonic 9mm f/1.7 lens I bought for the purpose two years ago finally got used as intended.

One thing of which I was already aware in theory is just how faint the aurora is in practice. With the naked eye it’s just a dim glow and you need long exposures at high ISOs with a fast lens to make more impactful images. With my camera, at least, that leads to quite a noisy RAW image, and I’ll have to experiment to get the best results. However it all looks very promising.

Northern Lights over Jökulsárlón (Show Details)
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