Summer days are long, so I timed this 2 day tour with a 14.00 start. This early August tour was along the South Coast as far as Jökulsarlon on day 1 and back along the South Coast to Reykjavik on day 2. Sunset was around 10 pm at Jökulsarlon and the plan was to shoot until 11 maybe if there was any ice on the beach. But first a South Coast stop at Skogafoss.


Our 2 pm start gave us just enough time to catch some light on Skogafoss. In the Summer, Skogafoss is even more packed, especially as it hosts a large campsite. Getting a shot of the falls without the crowds can be frustrating, so instead I put on my 135mm and wandered around looking at the people. I spotted this little girl in a yellow rain jacket picking yellow flowers, so I attempted a shot. What I was looking for in the composition was to have a significant part of the falls in the background. At f/5.6 this was going to be blurred, but important. Next I was looking for the flowers in her hands. This was important to communicate what she was doing. Some photographers saw me and shortly afterwards approached the girl and asked her to pose… she nervously obliged.
Skogafoss Summer

I kind of rushed the tour to get to Jökulsarlon knowing that there was a good sky and still conditions. The landscape along the way is stunning, but nowhere near as rich as Jökulsarlon with a good sunrise. We were in good time so we stopped at Fjallsarlon when the clouds started turning at 8 pm.

Fjallsarlon in the Summer

We got to Jökulsarlon at 9 pm and the light was just starting to warm up and the huge ice chunks were busy with aggressive arctic terns. To take advantage, I loaded my 135 with the intention of shooting into the light, the fast shutter speed should freeze the birds perfectly. Not only that, but their wings became back lit against the darker parts of the background.

Arctic terns Jökulsarlon

As the sun dipped behind the Oræfa Volcano, it was just a matter of time before the sky absorbs some nice colours. I continued looking for compositions with my 135mm and tried to keep my shutter speed up to capture the terns in the failing light. I got some nice shots, but my regret is not shooting enough frames of the same scene to get different bird configurations.

Arctic Terns

Finally, the sky started getting colourful around 9.30 that evening. I put on my 24mm with 6 stop filter and got out my Magic Cloth.

Jokulsarlon Summer Sunset

Thanks for reading. This was a 2 day Jökulsarlon tour.