Even though December is the darkest month in Iceland, this month is all about light.
Because of the country´s high latitude, days in Winter are rather short. For example, the longest day in the middle of December is only 5 hours long: sunrise is at around 11 am and sunset between 3 and 4 pm.
Last winter, I travelled around West and South of Iceland and here is what I managed to capture during those few available hours of daylight.
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SUNSET IN JÖKULSÁRLÓN ICE LAGOON AT 4PM
JÖKULSÁRLÓN ICE BEACH DURING SUNSET
They say, it rains diamonds on Jupiter and Saturn. The closest we can get to that on earth is at Jökulsárlón Ice Beach in Iceland. The huge blocks of ice that calve from the edge of Vatnajökull – the largest and most voluminous ice cap in Iceland – are about 30 metres (98 ft) high which fills the lagoon stocked with icebergs. Smaller pieces of ice find their way to the black sand beach, which makes it look like someone dropped a handful of oversized diamonds from the sky.
ICEBERGS WAITING FOR THEIR TURN TO EXIT JÖKULSÁRLÓN LAGOON INTO THE OCEAN
In case you ever wondered how glacial ice tastes, I can tell you – delicious! It’s perfect for cocktails, or just in a glass of coke.
Glacial ice is made of freshwater and has lots of pressurised ancient air bubbles. When the ice starts melting and the air escapes into the water, there is a cool fizzing sound coming our of your glass.
ICEBERG UP CLOSE IN JÖKULSÁRLÓN ICE LAGOON
Drinking tap water in Iceland is not only safe, the water is also delicious. It does not have the faint taste of chloride that many associate with tap water, since it’s never chemically purified. It comes straight from sources where the water has filtered through lava and is as clean as it can be.
SMALL PIECES OF ICEBERGS FLOATING IN JÖKULSÁRLÓN ICE LAGOON
LIGHT AFTER A STORM
Visiting Iceland in Winter is challenging, because you get only a few hours of sunlight and lots of rain and snowstorms. And I love it! The best memories I have from there are of crazy winds, walls of rain on the horizon, and surreal colors of the sky after a storm is over.⠀
THERE’S A SAYING IN ICELAND THAT GOES “IF YOU DON’T LIKE THE WEATHER, WAIT 5 MINUTES”
5 minutes before taking this photo, I got caught in a middle of a crazy storm. And 5 minutes before that, there were barely any clouds in the sky.
WHEN WEATHER GODS DON’T LIKE THIS MOUNTAIN IN PARTICULAR
Iceland is filled with interesting rock sculptures, lava formations, volcanoes and mountains of all shapes and sizes. In the Westfjords, you can find high table-top mountains with narrow fjords in between. And the mountains by the fjords in the east of the country are more rugged and harsh.
CLOUDS HOVERING OVER A GLACIER
Approximately 11% of Iceland’s total area is covered by mesmerizing blue glaciers. The glacier ice color is different from other types of ice because the red (long wavelengths) part of white light is absorbed by ice and the blue (short wavelengths) light is transmitted and scattered. The longer the path light travels in the ice, the more blue it appears.⠀
ICELANDIC HORSES GRAZING
Icelandic horses are not only the cutest and the fluffiest, but they are also the purest horse breed in the world!
There is only one breed of horses in Iceland. And any horse that is found “sub-standard” is excluded from the breeding programs.
PERFECT REFLECTION IN JÖKULSÁRLÓN ICE LAGOON
Jökulsárlón ice lagoon is a popular tourist attraction in Iceland.
If you get lucky to visit it one day, please, be careful. It is easy to forget about safety when you are surrounded my such magnificent icebergs. Tourists climbing on the ice is a chronic problem there. One time, I even saw a couple taking their engagement photos on an ice float. Fortunately, the police arrived before anyone fell in the ice-cold water and got hurt.
ON A LOOKOUT
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