This summer I traveled to Iceland’s Jokulsarlon lagoon — famous for its beautiful icebergs. In addition to the splendor of the lagoon as the tides go out they pull these beautiful glass-like icebergs out of the lagoon where they wash ashore on a nearby black-sand beach. This spectacular  combination attracts photographers like moths to a flame.

I visited Jokulsarlon both late at night and again early in the morning.  In the evening hours I found the beach too crowded to be able to easily photograph the icebergs. Early morning, the beaches were fairly empty and the light was fantastic. This gave me time to explore the many glass-like sculptures and create compositions that I found pleasing with pristine sand.  The contrast of the black sand and the jewel like icebergs combined with the lovely shapes formed by the water were mesmerizing.

During the summer it is daylight all the time however late in the evening the sun slides along the horizon line and creates beautiful colors and textures. While we were in Jokulsarlon in the early morning we had over cast skies which provided nice textures in the sky and helped the aqua blue tones of the icebergs pop against the black sand. The lines created by the water as it returned to the Arctic ocean held me captive. Each wave created a unique design and of the many photos I took on this day the one below is on the top of the list. Each time I look at it I think back to my friends who were with me on this quest and how much fun we had exploring the beach and how thankful I am that everyone came out with their gear dry!

Black Ice

To photograph these images on the black sandy beaches I used a 24-70mm lens and a heavy duty Really Right Stuff Tripod equipped with spikes and a Really Right Stuff Ball Head. I wanted to show the trails created by the ocean so I chose to use a Singh Variable ND Filter and shoot longer exposures. However, note that the icebergs move so for those that are moving more you may want to consider a faster shutter speed. The amount of movement is dependent upon both the size of the iceberg and the tide. So take your time to experiment and check your images to make sure you are happy with the amount of motion blur before you leave this amazing location. It would be sad to get back home and realize you were not happy with the images you created.

Happy Shooting!

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