The Ice Beach and Lagoon


On the east coast of Iceland is Jokulsarlon Glacier lagoon and beach.  We spent three nights near this place and made multiple trips there at sunrise, sunset and one night to try and capture the northern lights.

The ocean washes these large junks of ice onto the beach and pushes others up the channel to the lagoon.  You have to be careful that the waves don’t pick up one of these icebergs and hit you from the back.  I shot a few images in the lagoon but I had a vision of the kinds of images I wanted to capture and they were on the beach.

The tour buses could park closer to the beach on the opposite side of the channel from where our group went to shoot.  That meant very few people to deal with.


Some of these ice cubes were the size of cars and others were much smaller.  They reminded me of cut crystal.  Finely polished and often totally clear.


While others had a greenish/blue color to them.  As the waves rushed in I would frequently have to pick up my tripod to avoid having it sink into the black sand beach.  As the waves rushed out, it would leave a beautiful pattern on the beach.




Here are some patterns I captured in the ice.



I’ll have more on the northern lights in my next post but here’s one image I shot at the Jokulsarlon Lagoon.  It was a faint light and only lasted a few minutes.


It looks like it’s late afternoon but it was actually fairly dark when I shot this.  Often these shots were anywhere between 4 seconds to 30 seconds long.  Thus the look of daylight.

At another glacier lagoon we got low to the water to show the broken surface ice near the edge of the beach with the larger icebergs in the background.


Iceland lived up to its name at these locations.

Iceland is not an inexpensive place to visit or live.  Gas was about $7 a gallon and eating out wasn’t cheap either.  Typically I’d spend $15-$20 for lunch of soup and a piece of bread.  Maybe a sandwich or a slice of pizza for $10.  Granted it was a large bowl of soup:  shellfish, mushroom, lamb and tomato/bacon soups, for example.  A soft drink was around $3 for a 20 oz. Coke.  Dinner typically cost $30-$40 without splurging.

The first Saturday night, at one of our hotels, the receptionist ask if we wanted to do the buffet that evening.  We answered yes and were told that seating would be at 6:30.   We came down dressed as normal: waterproof boots, multiple layers and maybe waterproof pants.  The lobby was full of the locals in suits and ties, long dresses and pant suits.  We learned it was the annual Christmas buffet.  We had no idea what this was going to cost.

Our host always came to our table first and told us that we could go now for the soup course.  It was shellfish soup with a variety of shellfish including mussels.  About 45 minutes later he came again and told us to help ourselves to the starter course.  The buffet table had nothing but appetizers.  Again, about 45 minutes later, it was the main course and salad followed by a long wait and then the desserts.  I think we finished dinner about 10pm.  Still, we had no idea what this lavish meal was going to cost.  It was added to our room charge.  The next morning I ask at the desk how much the buffet was and was told it was 7900 krona or about $65.  Frankly, for what we got, it really wasn’t bad.

Iceland is about 40,000 sq. miles or just about the size of the state of Kentucky.  It’s about half the size of my home state, Kansas.

As I drove around the southern part of Iceland I saw a lot of small churches like these.



They’re all designed very similar accept for the Black Church of Budir.  The predominate religion is Evangelical-Lutheran.  It comprises about 90% with Catholic a distant 3.5% approximately, for example.

That’s it for this post.  I’ll wrap up this blog with my next post.  We’ve visit what some call the most beautiful ice cave in Iceland and experience the northern lights.



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4 Responses to The Ice Beach and Lagoon

  1. Patricia Harris says:

    Beautiful pictures Ron, So enjoy seeing and reading your blog of Iceland. What an incredible trip!

  2. Debra Stamp says:

    I’m going thru your posts in reverse! This was my first read/look and it’s just wonderful Ron! Really liking the colors and play of light on those giant ‘ice cubes’ on the beach. And the churches are stunning.

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