Iceland 2023 Day 8 – Jokulsarlon To Hofn

Date: 1st Mar 2023

Fjallsarlon And Jokulsarlon

The morning started with a lovely sunrise, so we went out looking for some interesting foreground. Unfortunately our hotel was a good 30 minutes drive from the glacier lagoon, and the road there was mostly across featureless terrain. In the end, the best we could find were a few rocks – still better then nothing!

Icelandic Sunrise

We drove on to the turning for the Fjallsarlon lagoon, where the sun was just poking above the horizon out to sea, and in the other direction illuminating the glaciers wit a strong pink tinge.

Solar Power

First Light On The Fjallsjokull Glacier

We parked up at the Fjallsarlon car park and walked the short distance to the lagoon, where we had the entire location to ourselves on a beautiful still morning. Every so often, we could hear the sound of ice on the lagoon cracking under the pressure of the glacier pushing down into the lagoon.

Early Morning At Fjallsarlon

Photographing Fjallsarlon

View Across Fjallsarlon

After visiting Fjallsarlon, we parked up at one of the roadside parking areas car parks for Jokulsarlon, from where there was a tremendous view along the road back to the Fjallsjokul glacier. Fortunately the road is very quiet, allowng photographs to be taken (carefully!) from the middle of the road.

Road To Fjallsjokul

At Jokulsarlon we re-visited the seals and this time could photograph across the lagoon in better light than the previous morning.

Seal At The Glacier Lagoon

Icebergs At Jokulsarlon

Hofn, Stoksnes Beach And The Vestrahorn

After visiting Jokulsarlon, it was time to drive on to our next destination at Hofn. The big photographic attraction close to Hofn is Stoksnes Beach, which is backed by the impressive Vestrahorn mountain. We had visited Stoksnes previously in 2020 but due to delays along the route we only managed an hour or so at this stunning location, so this time we aimed to arrive by mid-afternoon and give ourselves a good few hours before sunset. Just before the turning off Highway 1 towards Stoksnes there is an offroad parking area with views towards the ‘back side’  of the Vestrahorn.

The Vestrahorn From Highway 1

There is a charge for access to Stoksnes Beach, but there are a few things to explore to justify the cost. Close under the Vestrahorn there are the remains of a Viking Village. This is not original, but is in fact an abandoned TV set for a program which was never completed. There is a Viking longship and a fenced stockade area with a few different buildings. Despite the lack of antiquity it was still an interesting site to explore, especially with the spectacular mountain backdrop.

Viking Longship At Stoksnes

Viking Stockade At Stoksnes

Viking Buildings At Stoksnes

After visiting the Viking Village, we drove out to the end of the road at Stoksnes for the view back to the Vestrahorn. One possible composition is to photograph the mountain across the bay. If the tide has recently gone out, this can produce wonderful reflections in the wet sand. For us though, the tide was coming in, so I have used a long exposure to catch the movement in the waves.

The Vestrahorn On An Incoming Tide

Probably the most popular view of the Vestrahorn is to photograph it with the black sand dunes in the foreground. These are topped with bright yellow grasses, which in the image below are catching the evening evening sunshine.

Evening Light On The Vestrahorn

After the sun set, it appeared to be clouding over, so we returned to Hofn, but suddenly the western sky exploded with colour. At first I was thinking that we had left Stoksnes too early, but most of the colour was in the west, so would not have been behind the Vestrahorn. Instead, we were able to get down to the beach at Hofn and get double the sunset with the reflections in the water.

Hofn Sunset

Hofn Sunset

This was probably our best day Iceland, beginning with a spectacular sunrise, ending with an equally spectacular sunset, with glaciers and mountains to enjoy during the day. After the poor weather of our first week, it was a reminder of what Iceland can offer to the landscape photographer.