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My first visit to Jokulsarlon and Breidamerkursandur, aka Diamond Beach was on a three day stopover in May. Only two or three people were there at sunrise. Massive four foot icebergs littered the beach. Except for the horizontal rain and waves that crashed over the tops of my rubber boots, it was a great experience. On my next visit several years later in summer, there were lots of people about midday, so I moved to the western side of the lagoon’s outlet stream. At first I was disappointed that no large chunks of ice were present anywhere along the beach. I chalked this up to arriving in late July. So I abandoned my preconceived notions about the shot I came for and tried to view the scene with fresh eyes.
I spied a relatively small chunk of ice on the wet sand with nothing and no one near it. I chose not to include the ocean and horizon in the frame as the weather was not cooperating, and the sky was an unappealing undifferentiated grey. So, with one eye on the waves, I collapsed and spread the legs of my tripod and crouched down. I wanted to capture some depth in the picture and keep the sides of the ice visible. After some experimentation, I arrived at this composition and was quite happy. It reminded me of an inverted diamond. A few shots later, a sneaker wave caused me to lose my balance, leaving me thoroughly soaked but happy.
Every time I visit this place, the parking areas get larger and more filled with vehicles. So while I wouldn’t discourage visiting in winter when you see snow covered mountains behind Jokulsarlon and stacked ice on its shores, summer’s very early sunrise will have fewer folks to contend with.
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Dimitri Vasileiou • Editor