On Reflection, This is Really Pretty

Iceberg reflections at Jökulsárlón
Camera: Panasonic DC-G9M2 | Date: 14-02-2024 11:54 | Resolution: 5567 x 3479 | ISO: 100 | Exp. bias: -33/100 EV | Exp. Time: 1/200s | Aperture: 8.0 | Focal Length: 72.0mm (~156.0mm) | Lens: LUMIX G VARIO 35-100/F2.8

The first full day of the tour started with breakfast, one advantage of being sufficiently far North is that sunrise is around 9, and sunset around 5. After breakfast we drove back to Jökulsárlón and went down onto the Diamond Beach, where many icebergs released from the lagoon are driven. We photographed them with the rising sun behind, with waves breaking over them, and as beautiful sculptures against the black background of the beach’s pebbles.

Iceberg surise (Show Details)

When we tired of that we went the short distance to the lagoon, which unusually was completely becalmed and in bright, low sunlight allowing for dramatic reflections.

The only problem with Jökulsárlón is that it’s become overrun by a massive number of visitors compared with when I visited in 2011, and the facilities haven’t even remotely kept up. The main cafe now only has standing room inside, and a very limited lunch menu. There are a few food trucks in the car park but each has at least a half-hour wait. And don’t mention the queue for the Ladies…

After an adequate but somewhat constrained lunch of lobster soup we set off for another glacial lagoon, at Fjallasarlon. When I was here before this was completely undeveloped, we drove the jeeps to the edge of the lake, and photographed the lake, a small, distant glacier, and a few icebergs. Not only does it now have a nice new visitor centre, where you can sit down!, but in winter the glacier comes right to the edge of the completely frozen lake on which you can walk.

Large iceberg on the frozen lake at Fjallasarlon (Show Details)

Like knowing that aurorae are faint to the naked eye, I also "knew" that in clear air distances can be deceptive. Chris and I walked down the relatively short path from the ridge to the lake, and a few hundred metres to a very large, very sculptural iceberg.

At that point I looked at the front edge of the glacier on the other side of the lake and said "that doesn’t look much farther". So we set off. Some time later we were still walking, with our spikes on the ice, and it was only slowly getting closer. Eventually the ice started to look a bit broken and slushy, and we decided for safety’s sake to turn around. When we got back my Fitbit suggested we’d walked around 5km, and Andreas’ drone had recorded 6km going the full distance, safely above the ice. The walk was very enjoyable, but it was a lot further than I had planned.

Andrew and Iceberg (Show Details)

The last stop of the afternoon was back at Jökulsárlón, however there wasn’t much of a sunset. I got a few more reflection shots, then it was back to the hotel for a nice dinner and early night.

Iceberg sunset (Show Details)
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