fujifilm x-t1, ISO 200, FL 55mm, 1/30 sec @ f/22

fujifilm x-t1, ISO 200, FL 55mm, 1/30 sec @ f/22

Jökulsárlón is a large glacial lake in southeast Iceland, at the edge of Vatnojokull National Park.  Situated at the head of the Breiðamerkurjökull glacier, it developed into a lake after the glacier started receding from the edge of the Atlantic Ocean.  Icebergs calve from the edge of the glacier and move into the lake, with the movement being affected by the tide currents as well as the wind.  The icebergs vary in size –  from small clear multifaceted crystals that glisten in the dark volcanic sand beach that surrounds the lake to large, bright blue icebergs the size of small vehicles.  The icebergs are shaped by all the forces acting on them and so each one appears to be different and the colors – from clear crystalline to milky white to bright blue – depends on the oxygen trapped within the ice structure.  It is a rich interplay of light and ice crystals.

Jökulsárlón Lake is one of the most amazing natural wonders of the world I have ever seen.  I was stunned when I first saw it.  It was as tho God threw out handfuls of diamonds and aquamarine jewels onto the beach and into the surf, extending for as far as I could see.  The dark volcanic sand is the perfect backdrop to highlight the crystals.  As I walked onto the beach, the first thing I noticed was the light reflecting around and through the white crystals lying on the sand.  Then, I noticed the varying shapes – some small crystals no bigger than the palm of my hand and some the size of small boulders but all carved into intricate shapes.  Some looked like crystal lace and some seemed to have different glass layers, with bubbles and cracks throughout the surface.  Then, I noticed the large bright blue icebergs, bobbing in the surf, and being tossed about by the wind.  The first day I was there, the wind was ferocious and the surf was wild and rugged.  I had my camera on a tripod and was trying to capture some of the beauty of what I was seeing when a tsunami of a wave crashed into my legs and I almost lost my footing.  A fellow photographer next to me did fall and I heard later that one of my group lost her camera.  There was no doubt in my mind that I was witnessing a tremendous natural force and I was in awe at the majesty of it all.

I think it was the entire experience – the visuals of black sand and diamond ice crystals, enormous bright blue icebergs being tossed about like confetti,  light reflected everywhere and the wild wind, the crashing of the waves, the reverential feeling that I was standing at Mother Nature’s knees and watching events that had gone on before humans were even around and would go on long after I had departed this earth.

Without a doubt, witnessing this amazing spectacle has been a sentinel event in my life.

About Diana Davidson

Physician, traveler, photographer, tennis player, reader, teacher, student


  1. Great shot and post 🙂 Can’t imagine the fun and excitement of that spot!

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