Vatnajökull and Jökulsárlón (part 1)

The first of two posts on the impressive glacier Vatnajökull and its offspring. Photography on a rainy, windy day might be challenging, but it’s still worth it when landscapes are this amazing!

The land of Ice and Fire provides magnificent displays of both, and I was fortunate enough to get to experience the entire spectrum during my recent photography tour.

I will dedicate two posts this week to the ice marvels presented by Vatnajökull and Jökulsárlón. Let’s start with the Glacier of Lakes, as Vatnajökull translates, which is the largest ice cap in Iceland and the second largest in Europe. With an average thickness of 380m, it is rather imposing.

Despite the fact that we visited on a rather rainy (and windy, as in hold on to your tripod, lest it blows over), it was inspiring to visit both sites. After a short hike from our parking location, there was a great location to get a complete view of the ablation zone of the glacier:

The Foot of Vatnajökull

As I walked toward this area to set up my tripod, I was greeted by the sound and view of a segment of the glacier breaking off; it was a small section, but still awe inspiring to experience. It is clear from the amount of dirt that is embedded in the ice that a lot of material is collected, as the glacier progress downhill at its slow pace. Of course, the forces exerted by this mass of ice and snow are tremendous and landscape altering.

Vatnajökull Glacier ablation

This second image is a bit further away, so that it provides a better view of the ice sections (miniature icebergs) that have broken loose from VatnaJökull, and have started their journey, as they float along.

In the next post, I’ll cover the lagoon that is also fed by Vatnajökull: Jökulsárlón.

Both of these images are HDR composites of captures at -2.3, 0.0 and 1.3 EV and combined using Skylum’s Aurora HDR. I’m a big fan Aurora HDR, as it not only does a stellar job of the HDR processing, but also makes it easy to make some quick adjustments that provide a sense of what the final image can look like.

After the HDR composites are finalized, I do clean up and touch up in Adobe Photoshop; on a rainy day, there was no avoiding getting some droplet on the lens filter, which had to be removed in post-processing. I did some further balancing of the exposure, as the sky was rather bright compared to the foreground.

Author: jansenphoto

A Fresh Perspective Photography is more than just a vehicle for capturing the world around me; it provides me with a palette and a set of brushes, with which I paint not only what I see, but also look to express the emotions that are evoked by the scene in front of me in that moment. Growing up in the Netherlands exposed me to a wide cross-section of visual arts that laid the foundation of my photographic view of all that surrounds me. Early influences were the Dutch Masters of the 17th century, to whom I was introduced by my grandfather during museum explorations; favorites among them are the scenes of quotidian life depicted by Jan Steen and Frans Hals and the vivid landscapes of Jacob van Ruisdael. My classical high school education was supplemented by the Boijmans Van Beuningen museum, where I spent many a lunch hour exploring its great collection. Here I was introduced to surrealism with a particular love for the approach taken by Salvador Dali; Dali also rekindled my appreciation for the work of Hieronymus Bosch, who often showed the folly of us mortals. Universal Connections My approach to any photographic subject is to look for understanding first; in this I look to establish either a connection between the viewer and the subject or capture the connection of the subject with its surroundings. The captured image then aims to portray this connection from a perspective that is part of my personal interpretation. This interpretation is often a form of externalized introspection, which may alternately display the connection of isolated beings and items with their environment or highlight the whimsy of the profound world, in which we find ourselves. The universe is full of connections, many of which are waiting to be discovered; part of my journey as a photographer is to document these connections. Any assignment, be it an event, a product shoot or a portrait session is always approached through communication with the client; this is where the first connection is established. Ideas are exchanged and a collaborative plan of action forms, ultimately resulting in a set of images that aim to exceed the expectations of each client. And, lest we forget, it is important to have fun while practicing the serious business of photography!

3 thoughts on “Vatnajökull and Jökulsárlón (part 1)”

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