Vatnajökull and Jökulsárlón (part 2)

The second 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!

In the previous post in this series (Vatnajökull and Jökulsárlón (part 1)) the focus was squarely on the main feature of the two, Vatnajökull, the magnificent glacier. While not as imposing as the glacier, Jökulsárlón, literally ‘glacial river lagoon’ is a wonderful source of images and a backdrop for four Hollywood movies.

This is truly a river that carries glacial output from the Breiðamerkurjökull glacier across the lagoon toward the Atlantic Ocean. Breiðamerkurjökull is an outlet glacier of Vatnajökull, as icebergs break away from it, slowly floating away; some of these icebergs can spend as much as 5 years in the lagoon, depending on their size, before they are small enough to make it to the ocean.

Jökulsárlón ice flows

The ice flows in the above image are near the exit of the lagoon, where they will meet the Atlantic Ocean. As these blocks of ice meet the ocean, some break up and chunks are driven back onto a black sand beach, also known as Diamond Beach. On a sunny day, they are a spectacular sight.

Jökulsárlon icebergs

The iceberg sections above still show the striations of the dirt that has been collected along the path of the glacier, to be covered with snow and ice; this gives a sense of the age of the ice, somewhat akin to the rings of trees. Notice also that certain parts of the ice have a distinct glacial blue color; this ice has been compressed into a crystalline structure that is more reflective of the blue area of the visible spectrum.

Weathering the day in Jökulsárlón

Despite it being a rainy day, neither the birds nor the photographers were discouraged from checking out this magical location. It did convince me that it will be wonderful to spend a couple of hours here to photograph its beauty on a sunny day!

As you might imagine, I will certainly want to come back to explore Iceland more in the future!

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