Iceland: How to Photograph the Magnificent Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon

The last light of a beautiful sunset touches a distant mountain while the rest of the scene is bathed in the cool blue light of dusk at Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon in Iceland.

Dusk is, perhaps, my favorite time of day. I made this photo from the edge of the magnificent Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon, in Southern Iceland, with the very last light of the day.

What Are Your Photos About?

I just loved the contrast between the last rays of warm light caressing the mountain top with the cool bluish hues throughout the rest of the scene. In fact this photo is far more about color, in particular the color of light, than it is about mountains, ice and water.

Unique Selling Proposition

If ever you find yourself pondering over what your photos are about you might first consider what they explore. While you may have a landscape photography portfolio, it may be that your best photos depict weather. If you’re a portrait photographer it’s important to understand whether you simply photograph people (e.g., weddings, family events, debutante balls, etc) or explore the Human Condition through the documentation of life’s major events.

The concept of a Unique Selling Proposition (USP), while it comes to us from the world of marketing, should neither be feared nor scorned by the artist, enthusiast or professional photographer. It’s simply a tool to allow each of us to better determine our own creative path. And before we can work out why it is we do what we do, we first have to understand what it is we are actually doing. Dare I say, "This is Not a Cigar".

How to Photography Beauty at Dusk

The secret to making this photo is, quite literally, showing up. You can’t make a great sunrise photo while you’re chasing ZS under the covers. Likewise you’ll never be able to photograph Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon without first being there. And, for the vast majority of the world’s population, that would involve travel, time and fairly significant costs.

What’s more, once you’re there, you may have to wait for the light while accepting the vagaries of weather. In my case I arrived not long before dusk and continued to photograph, both from the shoreline and while on a midnight zodiac cruise, until after one o’clock in the morning.

Photographing Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon was great fun and a major highlight of my trip around Iceland. Why then would I be overly worried about missing dinner? If you were to calculate the amount of dinners most of us are likely to have during our lifetime, compared to the amount of times (i.e., zero to one for most folks) we’re likely to visit Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon, such decisions should be a no brainer. The fact that, for many, they are not is a key factor that separates the successful photographer from the snap shooter.

If you dream about visiting Iceland, and you’re interested in seeing more of this island nations spectacular beauty, feel free to journey through my new Iceland Photography Collection.

Glenn Guy, Travel Photography Guru