Recap: Land of Ice, Part Two

Read Part One here.


Icy Knife by Taru Tarnanen on 500px.com

On the fifth day of the workshop we were happily surprised with some ice on the beach at Jökulsárlón. We had been told that there was no ice on beach when we got there, but in the morning the situation was a lot different. There was even, dare I say it, too much ice on the beach. We had to walk a long way from the car park to reach a point at the beach that had some isolated ice for us to shoot.

Also, the waves weren’t so bad at first, but as the sun got higher, the waves surprised us even more and more. At one point, a couple of us were shooting the same ice side by side when a rogue wave hit us and got the ice to move suddenly. Not only was the wave really strong, but the ice scared me, at least. I managed to lift my leg before it could it me, taking me a little a lot off balance, but I managed to stay upright. The only thing to get wet were my boots as I got some water in them. Brrr, cold! My roommate wasn’t so lucky, as the ice hit her instead and made her fall down, forcing her to take a little swim. Her gear got wet in the process as well, and she couldn’t get her camera to work anymore even with her best efforts to dry it. Luckily she was able to borrow a spare camera so she could take pictures off the beach. A little after that another one in our group fell down, but she could keep the gear above the water. So she only got wet because she sat in the wave a while. Soon it was time to head back to the hotel and get dry. Let’s just say that the hairdryer my roommate had did a lot more than just dry hair for the next couple of days, haha. Our room felt like a steam sauna, haha! Luckily we could open the window, so we were fine.

Field of Ice by Taru Tarnanen on 500px.com

We went back to the beach for sunset, and there was even more ice! The walk was even longer, as the place where there hadn’t been any ice during the morning was also covered in ice now. But we had time to get into position, so it was all good, haha. We battled ice and water, saw a lovely sunset and took photos. A great end to the day, I’d say. We were also very lucky, as we managed to capture the northern lights at night! We had a little lesson on focusing to infinity, before we made our way to the glacier lagoon for the show. It was my first time seeing the aurora, which made me extremely happy. I’ve always wanted to see them, and now I have! 🙂

Lights in the Dark by Taru Tarnanen on 500px.com

For sunrise on the sixth day, we went to glacier lagoon. We wanted to get the glow from the sunrise on to the mountain you could see in the background. The pinkish glow was very pretty! I loved the absolute silence there in the morning, before the other tourists woke up and arrived to disturb it. You could hear the ice cracking. Just beautiful.

Morning Glow by Taru Tarnanen on 500px.com

For sunset we headed to the Vestrahorn mountain and the beach there. It was quite lovely! I love mountains, and this one was amazing. The only bad thing was the strong winds, but it’s to be expected when shooting at the beach, haha. It was also high tide when we got there, so even if it looked liked the waves wouldn’t reach that high at first, we got surprised and I got a wet boot again, haha.

Sand and Snow by Taru Tarnanen on 500px.com

We went back to the glacier lagoon in the evening for another try at the aurora. We were supposed to go to dinner when we saw that the lights were really active again, and because of that we decided to delay dinner and made our way quickly to the lagoon. We missed the pretty show, but dinner tasted even better when coming in from the cold 😀

The last day was dedicated to glacier walking and heading out to an ice cave with a waterfall in it. It was not the ice cave we were supposed to visit at first, but because our group was so small, we were able to do it. The walk was supposed to be 5 hours in total, but I think it took a little under an hour to get there, and another one to come back to the super jeep. We had to gear up and everything, and at times it felt like we were out mountain climbing! Let’s just say that walking around with a backpack that weights over 11 kilos is not a walk in the park when you need to watch your step and climb all over the place, haha. I kept getting all messed up with the ropes because of my tripod. Luckily it was easier than it sounded, and we all made it down safely. I was also very happy that my boots were quite dry at that point (yay for the amazing hairdryer!), so my toes didn’t freeze when I stood in the river to get the shot I came there for. There was quite a bit of flare in RAW photos, but I think it turned out okay, eh?

Rushing Water by Taru Tarnanen on 500px.com

After getting back to the jeep, it was time to head back to our bus and make our way back to Reykjavík. On the way, we had a chance of photographing the northern lights at Skógafoss. When we continued our way after stopping at a gas station for some amazing burgers, the lights decided to put on an amazing show with very active movement, so of course we had to pull over and jump out of the bus for some last photos. In the end we reached our hotel a little before 2 am, which meant I had about two hours to pack my bags again before heading to the airport. I had in my wisdom, bought a direct flight home. The only direct flight home, which meant I had to be at the airport around 5:30 to catch my 7:30 flight to Helsinki, haha. Long story short, when I got home I had barely slept during the last 24 hours. But it was all worth it. The last day, and the whole workshop, was amazing and so much fun, and I can’t wait to do it again at some point!

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