Icelandic ice

© 2011 – philip vergeylen – all rights reserved

Iceland is not all about ice, but ice there is.

If you want to find some ice cubes to chill your Campari, you should head to the south-east of Iceland. There you will find Jökulsárlón (which literally means Glacier Lagoon). It is the largest glacier lagoon or lake in the country. With a depth of nearly 200 m it is also one of the deepest.

Jökulsárlón is situated at the head of the Breiðamerkurjökull glacier branching from the Vatnajökull. This 18 square km lagoon stands about 1,5 km from the sea and is filled with icebergs. The icebergs that calve from the glacier edge move towards the river mouth and get entrenched at the bottom.
While floating, only about one tenth mass of an iceberg is seen above the water surface. The movement of the icebergs fluctuates with the tidal currents.
These icebergs are seen in two shades, one type in milky white, while the other type is in bright blue color, which is an interplay of light and ice crystals.

However, they start floating as icebergs when their size is small enough whereafter they drift to the sea.
The icebergs that make it to the sea are washed ashore, where they make great subjects for the photographers. The black volcanic sand of the Breiðamerkursandur adds to the drama of the landscape.

The lagoon is filled with fish that drift in from the sea along with the tides. This attracts a lot of seals, which can be seen from very close by. It is also a great spot to observe and photograph sea birds, such as Arctic terns and Skuas. With some luck, you can even find a group of Harlequin ducks.

Jökulsárlón is considered to be one of the natural wonders of Iceland. In winter the lagoon freezes and locks the icebergs in place.
The lagoon can be seen along Route 1, between Skaftafell National Park and Höfn.

When I made this photo, the weather was very rough and the movements of the sea were at times very impressive. An exposure time of a few seconds was enough to obtain the result I was looking for : a sharp iceberg floating on an unsharp milky sea.


15 thoughts on “Icelandic ice

  1. Thanks for “liking” my post “i’m interviewed.” Obviously I’m not a photographer. The photo that appeared was of the French woman who authors “My English Thoughts.” The photo was hers. So you might want to check out her blog.

    My 24-year-0ld daughter and I agree, however, that your photos are awesome, especially this one. Again…

    thanks for visiting my blog…hugmamma. 🙂

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