Photographing Jokulsarlon Lagoon, Iceland

Large, colorful icebergs have come together to form great walls of ice at Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon in Iceland.

This photo was made around midnight from the shores of the amazing Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon in southern Iceland. It was a lovely mid summer's night and the photo was made while waiting to embark upon a 1-hour zodiac cruise that allowed me to explore many of the wondrous icebergs floating through the lagoon on their way to the Atlantic Ocean.

Color or Black and White

There's quite a lot of texture in the icebergs and the hillside on the right side of the image. A lot of texture would usually mark the image as a candidate for black-and-white rendering but, in this case, the incredible aqua color of the icebergs made color the obvious choice.

Making the Photos

The Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon is big, measuring 1.5 km in length and covering an area of 25 km it has a maximum depth of around 250 meters. I was happy to have booked the extended 1-hour length cruise to photograph the most interesting ice formations and to explore further afield. In fact I was taken quite close to the glacier from which the icebergs calve off. 

Camera Kit

When photographing from the shore I made use of a Canon 70-200mm f4 IS USM lens, occasionally in conjunction with a Canon 1.4x Extender. While zipping around in the zodiac I employed my then Canon 24-105mm f4 IS zoom lens on a full frame Canon 5D Mark II camera.

The combination of large icebergs and a brilliantly piloted zodiac meant that, more often than not, I was photographing at the 24 mm focal length. And, for me, that means fun. On a full frame camera 24 mm is a classic focal length that allows for a slight exaggeration in perspective and, as a result, a more dynamic image. 

Ice and feather on the black sand beach near the famous Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon.

I'm incredibly fortunate to have had the opportunity to visit Iceland and the memory of  photographing Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon, from both the shoreline and from a zodiac, on two separate occasions was a great thrill. I’m very much looking forward to me third trip to Iceland. I just can’t wait till I return. 

Glenn Guy, Travel Photography Guru