Jökulsárlón, Iceland
July 22, 2014

This is the fourth of twenty locations in Southern Iceland that are in my forthcoming guide "A Landscape Photographer's Tour of Southern Iceland" and this series of blog posts are to whet your appetite for Iceland as a photographic destination. The guide provides the same kinds of information my UK guides provide, including maps, 360 degree interactive panoramic photographs, directions, and more.

Jökulsárlón is a glacial lagoon in the South East of Iceland on the edge of Vatnajökull National Park. The lagoon originally formed about 60 years ago and has been growing in size with it's current area being approximately 17km2. The glacial lagoon was formed by ice carving off the Breiðamerkurjökull glacier, an outlet glacier of the Vatnajökull glacier.

Jökulsárlón, Iceland

The icebergs that carve off the Breiðamerkurjökull glacier float in the lagoon, some for as long as 5 years. Most of the icebergs are white in colour with the occasional black streaking, but some are an luminous blue. The white coloured icebergs are formed from snow with air bubbles trapped between the snowflakes and the blue colour icebergs are formed when meltwater which has an absence of air bubbles, fills crevasses.

Jökulsárlón, Iceland

In summer the lagoon is a popular location for sea birds, especially arctic tern and skua, that feed on the plentiful fish in the lagoon. In winter however, the lagoon freezes completely.

The lagoon is currently about 1.5 kilometres (1 mile) from the ocean, though when it was first formed it was much closer. The lagoon is connected to the ocean by a narrow channel and when the icebergs are small enough they float down the channel and out into the ocean. Sometimes when the tide changes some of the icebergs are washed back up onto the black volcanic beaches on either side of the channel.

Jökulsárlón, Iceland

Jökulsárlón is the last destination on the tourist route from Rejkavik. One of the attractions is a ride on one of the amphibious vehicles that can take approximately twenty people on an excursion through the icebergs. There are also small inflatable tenders that can take a small group of people very close to the icebergs.

Jökulsárlón, Iceland

Although Jökulsárlón is a popular tourist destination during the day, it is a large area and other than the occasional amphibious vehicle there is plenty of room for everyone to enjoy this amazing spectacle. By about 8pm though most of the visitors have gone.

The photographs in this blog post are actually frames from video taken with a Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera. I hope to have a short video of the locations available soon.

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