Iceland – The Vatnajökull Glacier

It is perhaps not common knowledge that Europe’s largest glacier (the Vatnajökull) actually resides in Iceland. This massive glacier sits more or less in the centre of Iceland and has many different glacial tongues that snake down toward the coastline around its circumference. It is the Vatnajökull glacier that was responsible for the creation of the Jökulsárlón Glacial lagoon where ice that has carved off the glacier now wallows in a large lagoon before being washed out sea. This lagoon is perhaps Iceland’s most famous attraction and is one of the natural wonders of the world. It has become an icon and mecca amongst landscape photographers the world over. The glacier itself is sadly in rapid retreat and the carving face is now several miles back from the beach. On my trip to Iceland last year I attempted to walk to the carving face along the side of the lagoon but gave up after a few hours slog when I reached an impasse. The only viable way to reach the face near the lagoon is now via zodiac, which can be hired at great expense near the car park.  The glacier is nevertheless a remarkable subject for landscape photography and in many ways offers countless opportunities for composition with remarkable form and texture.

This particular photograph is my personal favorite from the glacier and was taken several years ago as I drove toward the lagoon from Reykjavik. A fog was descending across the glacier and I pulled the 4 wheel drive over to the side of the road where I took this image with the 70-200mm F2.8L IS lens at the 200mm end. I am hopeful that we will be able to get up to the glacier in a few weeks time during our winter workshops for some ice-cave photography.

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