What never comes out in the photographs is ‘how noisy’ Jökulsarlon Glacier Lagoon can be. It is not a quiet place sometimes with the North Atlantic waves crashing onto the beach and icebergs creaking and cracking. Overhead there can be territorial birds like the Great skuas or Arctic terns. Then a cargo truck rumbles over the suspension bridge. During the day, you don’t notice this so much because your visual senses are overwhelmed by the views. But at night, these sounds (except the birds) become much more a part of your experience.
This was a moonless night in October with my camera ready. I was staring into darkness when an Aurora suddenly emerged and streaked across the sky. Jökulsarlon was perfectly still and this gave me great reflections of both the icebergs and the aurora. The Northern Lights exposed beautifully with a red crest which I didn’t see with my own eyes. The Magic cloth technique balanced the sky and foreground beautifully. It prevented the sky from over exposing and allowed a little extra exposure on the lake.
- Canon 5D2
- Ef 24mm f/1.4
- 30 sec
Back in 2010, we could enjoy a night photography session at Jökulsarlon without artificial light issues. The iceberg us caught about a second of car head light as the driver pulled up in the car park behind us. This second of artificial light really helped to lift the details on the ice. This was a fluke though, as many shots have been ruined by car headlights. In recent years, it has become unavoidable because the car park is so busy with cars and buses. The best option is to hike deeper into the lagoon and hope there is good ice.
These are multi-day photo tours that include Jökulsarlon glacier lagoon. If conditions are good these tours can include Northern lights photography.
Northern Lights Photos
Here are some more photos of the Aurora Borealis to help keep you inspired by Iceland.