One of the most photogenic region of Iceland totally changes its character in mid winter. Seen in summer the green and mountainous Skaftafell area along with Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon becomes a frozen world of ice and snow in winter. I have been going there more frequently in winter the last couple of years. Here is a short photo essay of the images I have brought back from these trips.
Frozen Glacier Lagoon
After a long period of cold temperatures the lagoon freezes over. It is possible to enter the frozen lagoon after these long periods only. Shorter periods of warm temperatures will brake up the ice and the icebergs will start moving again. One must make sure the ice is well thick and solid before entering as thinner ice even though it supports a human might not prevent the icebergs from moving and rolling and braking up the ice. There are also areas of the lagoon that are unsafe at all times because of moving water. A local mountain guide or expert is therefore recommended for adventures like these.
Glacial lakes in the Skaftafell area freeze over in winter just like other bodies of water. In some year they freeze really thick before the winter snow arrives. The surface of the ice is fractured by the relentless force of the glaciers pushing the ice sheet forward inch by inch. Over days and weeks the ice sheet will be pushed over obstacles which become quite interesting from a photographic point of view.
Details of the Ice
There are alot of details for the eye in this world of ice. Some of the most interesting ones, the 3D world inside the ice is impossible to capture on a 2D camera but other details can be captured.
Ice caves are a feature that many glaciers have. Melted by sub-glacial water these features sometimes emerge at the end of glaciers. Inherently unstable these caves can be entered when cold temperatures makes the ice hard and stops the melting and weakening of their structures. You can read more about my Crystal Cave photo. Again a mountain guide or a local expert is advised. Here is a guy I recommend: Öræfaferðir.
Although most water in this area freezes there are sections where the water is always open.
As the last words I want to emphasize that this world of ice can be dangerous if you dont treat it with uttermost respect. Also I would like to thank Einar Rúnar Sigurðsson from Öræfaferðir for providing me with detailed information about the glaciers and ice caves of this area and also thanks to my fellow travellers: