7 Tips for the best Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon photographs.

Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon photography 1
Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon photography 1

My 7 simple tips to get you the best Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon Photographs.

Joksulsurlan Glacier Lagoon is one of those really special places in the world. It can be challenging to photograph it though so here are my top 7 tips on how to capture the best Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon photographs including different types of weather conditions.

With it’s serene beauty, calmness and sheer scale all combine to make Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon one of the most epic views and places in Iceland. The first bit of advice I have for you is if you are there and it’s either too busy or the Icebergs just don’t look right, go away for 30 mins and come back again. It could very well look completely different then.

Tip 1 is a huge one and it’s Weather.

Tip 1 will cover 5 different weather conditions you could encounter when you are here and how to make the most out of them…

A bright clear sky, an overcast sky, Sunrise or sunset with clouds, clear skies with an Aroura display predicted (yes, that was obvious I suppose) or better still in my mind a fairly heavy fog.

Photographing Jokulsarlon Lagoon In Thick Fog.

Thick fog has to be my favourite weather condition for Jokulsarlon, it just helps to isolate the beautiful colours, tones and textures of the icebergs.

A lone iceberg on calm water with a nice reflection and thick fog all combine to give you a naturally minimalistic photograph which in my mind helps to create a stunning photograph.

Photographing Jokulsarlon Lagoon with Blue Skies.

Normally bright blue skies would be considered the death nail of photography but not here… Those bright blue skies with little to no cloud cover at Jokulsarlon Lagoon adds at least three things to your photograph…

Firstly, it gives you a great colour contrast between the iceberg and the sky so it helps to make it pop all the more.

Secondly, it creates this very surreal effect in your mind where you think… Ok blue skies means it’s warm so how is there an Iceberg floating in the water. Always remember yes you know it’s cold but the viewers might not.

Thirdly, Blue skies also mean you have slightly harsh light so you are going to pick up more of that texture in the Iceberg especially if there are darker sections in the ice.

Also check out Tip 2 below if you’re shooting in bright light.

No.2 Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon photography
No.2 Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon photography

Photographing Jokulsarlon Lagoon With Over Cast Skies.

A great option to give you some moody shots, a good Graduated Neutral Density filter here will help darken the sky and make the details in the clouds pop that bit more. Giving you a very dramatic effect especially if you are shooting Long Exposures.

Photographing Jokulsarlon Lagoon In Sunset or Sunrise.

Yes, this was an obvious one as Golden hour is always the most popular time for photography due to that soft golden light which helps to paint a far more visually pleasing image with its soft romantic lighting. Again a good Graduated Neutral Density filter will come in handy here to help control the bright skies.

Photographing Jokulsarlon Lagoon With The Northern Lights.

Again a fairly obvious one but the northern lights as a background for your image could only make it more epic again. I will be putting up a blog on shooting the Northern Lights fairly soon that will go into a lot more detail on what you need and what setting should work best for you so stay tuned for that one.

Tip 2… Use  a Polarising Filter

Use a polarising filter to help reduce glare in the water. Glare can be a major issue when photographing Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon, especially when the sun is reflecting off the water and ice.

To reduce glare and also enhance colour saturation in your photographs just pop on a polarizing filter but don’t forget to rotate it to get the desired effect.

This filter also helps to eliminate reflections and increase contrast, resulting in clearer and more vibrant photographs so if you want to keep that reflection just remember that.

If you don’t have a Polarising filter then I highly recommend the Formatt Hitech polarising filters and they were kind enough to give me a 10% off discount code for all their products also. Just use the code HAYES10 at checkout to save a nice bit of money.

No.3 Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon photography
No.3 Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon photography

Tip 3… Angles 

When photographing Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon, don’t be afraid to get creative with your angles and perspectives. Try shooting from several different angles as only minor changes can have a massive impact in your photographs.
Think about your background and if you want to hide it or show it, do you want to shoot in Landscape or Portrait orientation? How will that change what the viewer see as remember this photograph could be seen by thousands of people that were never actually here so it all needs to make sense to them.
You are taking them on a journey so consider how you want that story to start (your foreground) what’s your subject (presumably an Iceberg or two) and then the final details to your image the back ground.
Shooting low down gives the Iceberg more perceived height in the photograph so it alters how people see your subject, it changes your foreground also as the water is closer now. Finally low camera angles can be used to kill off the background if you find it too distracting.
Always shoot from several angles and have a quick think before you press that shutter button.

Tip 4… Reflections

If you are there on a fairly calm day you can completely alter the type of reflection you get by doing just two simple things.
1.- Shoot from a lower camera angle as this will lengthen your reflection or alternatively you can go slightly higher if you want to shorten it.
2.- Adjust your polarising filter to kill off a bit of the reflection for more of a creative effect.
No. 4 Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon photography
No. 4 Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon photography

Tip 5… Think outside the box

You can also experiment with different focal lengths and compositions to create unique and interesting images. Try walking up higher on that small hill next to the parking lot this will give you a slightly more aerial type of view and show the scale and size of the whole area. Don’t be afraid to take risks and try new things – you never know what kind of stunning photos you might capture.
Why not set up your camera on a tripod with a remote shutter release and throw a rock in the water and immediately take a shot. this could add a lovely foreground detail. It could also upset a few other photographers so make sure it’s ok to do it first, don’t be that person that just doesn’t care and messes everything up.
Wait for some birds to come into shot or even better a seal, they can add some amazing living texture and charachter to your photographs.
Sometimes you see massive views like this and you just wonder how will I ever capture it all? Well, sometimes you just can’t (still try it though) and you are better off taking a few micro landscapes which are often times more intimate photographs.
You could very well find that you have more of a connection to those photographs then as you picked them and saw something in them at the time.

Tip 6… Give it time.

Time is going to be my most important tip here, the icebergs are constantly moving around and changing direction as the tide comes and goes so your view when you arrive may not be great but in an hour it could be epic so my suggestion here is to maximise your time and head on over to Diamond Beach for 30 or 40 minutes and take some shots there and slowly wander back to Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon to see how different it looks.
Remember those majestic lumps of ice are floating around and melting away water that may have been frozen for thousands of years as we watch them and there is something so incredibly special about that.
The time you invest here is going to be so worth it.

Tip 7…

This isn’t really a photography tip but a tip for you… Just stand there and watch the Icebergs for 10 to 15 minutes, stand still and just soak in that view and try to connect with not just a photograph but a moment in time. 
I will guarantee you that when you look at your photographs then later on you will be right back Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon again and that sense of calm will flow through you again.
I hope this helped you and if you have any questions then please feel free to fire me over an email.
Also feel free to check out my other Iceland blog locations below and my tips and tricks section in the menu above.
Or even better if you want to join me on a photography workshop check them out here.
See you out there,

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7 Tips for the best Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon photographs.