Photographing the "Diamond beach" in Iceland

September 18, 2022  •  Leave a Comment

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I guess you have heard about the Diamond beach near Jökulsárlón, or even been there yourself. Then you already know that it is a black sand beach in front of the glacier lagoon Jökulsárlón. Icebergs float through a river connecting the lagoon to the ocean, carrying with it big chunks of Ice and icebergs on every low tide. Icebergs are calving of the edge of Breiðamerkurjökull glacier into the lagoon and float towards the exit of the lagoon. On the lagoon they gradually break into smaller pieces that can float out to the ocean with the outgoing tide. When I say smaller peaces, they might be as big as a mini-bus or a car when they float to the beach. The actual name of the beach is Vestari Fellsfjara (on the west side) and Eystri Fellsfjara (on the east side).

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These Icebergs are pushed up on the coast by the incoming tide and waves, leaving them lying on the beach until they gradually melt and disappear. I like to photograph them at f/8 - f/13, with a slightly long shutter speed, from 0,5-2 seconds, depending on the conditions each time. Also I set my camera to continuous shooting (bird photographers know what I mean) to give me better options of capturing the right moment. A ND-filter (Neutral density filter) may be necessary in bright daylight to get the shutter speed slow enough. A tripod is also needed for capturing sharp images with this low shutter speed. Of course the waves sometimes push the ice during the shooting, making it blurry and out of focus.

When an incoming wave hits the icebergs, I start shooting and continue until the wave has returned back to the ocean. This will sometimes give me 5-10 shots for each wave, allowing the water to paint lines in the picture with the white foam, see photos above and below. Then you have a few shots to choose from from each burst, and you can also throw away the ones that are not good when you have uploaded them to your computer. The video below is explaining this method better.

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I hope this will help you to capture beautiful images the next time you visit the Diamond beach. Of course there are many ways to capture the "diamonds" on the beach, this is just one of them.



 


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