Same place different day – Fjallsarlon East Iceland

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Fjallsárlón Glacier Lagoon

The Fjallsarlon lagoon is just 10 minute drive from the more popular Jökulsarlon. Unlike it’s fashionable counterpart, Fjallsarlon has no interaction with the sea except by a long winding river which deposits the remains of glacier melt water into the North Atlantic.

At Jökulsarlon the water can be very clear but here at Fjallsarlon the water is a fudge brownie colour where the huge chunks of ice have disturbed the muddy lake bed.

In this article I aim to show how the same location looks on different days and at different times of the year. The key to successful photography is being able to make the most of the conditions.


Summer Nights

Fjallsarlon light rays
Fjallsárlón lagoon on a Summer Evening.

In the Summer the best light is going on behind the glacier and mountains. This is a good time to catch calving of glacier ice from the ice shelf. The beauty of Fjallsarlon is the proximity to the ice shelf. In this mid-Summer scene the sun is poking through the clouds to give pleasant Buddha rays. This creates a dramatic backdrop to an already, impressive scene.

Northern Lights

Fjallsarlon Auroras
Northern Lights at Fjallsárlón.

Coming here at night can give a very different view of the lagoon. The Northern lights stretch high above the Öræfajökull volcano into the night sky. It can be a very windy location but on a still night one can feel completely alone and at peace with only the cracking of the ice for company.

On a new moon the colours from the aurora can be stunning and the extra exposure from the Magic Cloth technique can bring out great colours from the ice and mountains.


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Glacier Moraine

Glacier landscape photography
Autumnal colours on the glacier moraine.

Sometimes the lagoon is not so interesting as very few chunks of ice are inspirational in the mist and drizzle. But the lagoon is surrounded by hectares of moraine. The gentle hills of the terminal moraine becomes rich with moss and scattered boulders. At the right time of the year the colours can be stunning well worth stepping back away from the glacier for. This scene includes a autumn blueberry bush wrapped around a boulder.

The landscape photographer will do well to think outside the box at locations like this. Especially when the glacier lagoon is being boring.

Winter Light

Winter colours at Fjallsarlon glacier lagoon

In the Winter the light can be dramatic. Here at the end of the day, the landscape photographer can be treated to fantastic colours. The added bonus of a frozen lagoon combats the problem of the brown water and increases the amount of reflective light. The interaction of lake ice and glacier ice adds for extra interest in a landscape photograph.
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