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Iceland’s stunning landscapes attract people from all over the world for a variety of reasons. Some seek solitude on the island’s challenging trails, while others are out to find adventure with friends or family. Many are attracted to Iceland for its otherworldly sites and unparalleled beauty.
This explains why it’s such a popular spot for photographers. In particular, you’re likely to see photographers congregating around the icy beaches and floating icebergs of Jökularsálón Glacier Lagoon.
Blue icebergs of Jökularsálón Glacier Lagoon, Iceland
Photographing Jökularsálón Glacier Lagoon
Iceland’s unique landscapes, influenced by a thrilling geological history comprised of volcanoes, diving spots between tectonic plates and geysers create myriad opportunities for taking photos that you’ll not likely be able to capture anywhere else in the world. Jökularsálón Glacier Lagoon and nearby Diamond Beach are unique in that they combine many elements of what makes Iceland so appealing to photographers: crystalline waters, glittering blue ice and black sands.
If you’re a seasoned photographer or an enthusiastic amateur, rest assured that you’ll find plenty of jaw-dropping photo-taking opportunities on your visit to Iceland. However, it’s a long way to travel without being fully prepared. To ensure you get the most out of your chances to photograph Jökularsálón Glacier Lagoon, follow our tips.
Photographer setting up a shot using a tripod at Jökulsárlón, Iceland
1. Have the right equipment
When packing your camera bag to visit Jökularsálón Glacier Lagoon, the most important thing to pack is the camera with which you are most comfortable. For some people this might be a smartphone, and for others, a trusty DSLR or a mirrorless camera. What matters most is that you are confident with the camera and that the settings are like a second language to you. This way you can make the most of your time at the lagoon.
A sturdy tripod is something you’ll absolutely want to bring with you. The terrain around the lagoon can be very uneven, and if you want to take time setting up your shot, you’ll find the tripod to be invaluable.
Lens hood and cleaning equipment
Iceland can be dusty and windy. Depending on the weather on the day of your shoot, you may want to have a lens hood and cleaning kit available. A lens hood can help keep dust and other debris from finding its way to your lens, and your cleaning kit can help you tackle anything that gets past the hood.
A variety of lenses (optional)
If your camera accepts various lenses, you’ll want to bring a variety with you to use when you shoot at Jökularsálón. Wide-angle, telephoto or mid-range zoom lenses all offer great functionality for snapping photos with different moods and focuses at the lagoon.
Jökularsálón Glacier Lagoon at sunset
2. Know the best settings
Jökularsálón can be a tricky sight to photograph, thanks to moving water and constantly shifting icebergs. Dialing into the right settings can make all the difference. While you’ll need to experiment based on a number of variables present at the lagoon, here are a few to note:
F-stop settings of between 11 and 16 prove to be ideal in allowing you to capture crisp images.
A shutter speed of 1/125 with assistance from a tripod will also help you sharpen your images. A slower speed can help you achieve an ethereal blurring of the moving water if you want that dreamy effect.
When using a tripod, aim for an ISO setting between 50-100. If you’re holding your camera free, you’ll find more success between 400-800.
Blue icebergs floating in Jökularsálón Glacier Lagoon with a stone circle in the foreground
3. Choose the right time
While there’s no truly bad time to visit the lagoon, if you plan properly, you can make the most of your visit. Arriving very early in the morning can help you beat the crowds to avoid crowds of people showing up in your photos. Visiting in winter, when tourist numbers are lower, is another option.
However, summer is a great time to visit and the added number of daylight hours give you more opportunity to snap photos. Sunrise and sunset create a backdrop of dramatic colors to set off your photos.
4. Compose carefully
Jökularsálón Glacier Lagoon presents untold options for photo composition. From up close, macro detail to sweeping panoramas, there’s no one way to capture the location. Spend time at the lagoon, experiment with your equipment and see how it affects your results. We offer a number of exciting tours to Jökularsálón Glacier Lagoon. Choose the tour that suits you best!