Welcome to the Diamond Beach in Iceland
As you walk along the coarse jet-black volcanic sands of Diamond Beach and you will soon notice shimmering pieces of semi-transparent Ice, each up to 1000 years old strewn across your view.
Being able to walk among these icebergs on Diamond Beach at the Glacier Lagoon, often referred to as Jökulsárlón, is possibly one of the most memorable experiences one could have while traveling along the South East coast of Iceland and its right in our backyard; a 10 minute drive from the Glacier Adventure meeting point in Hali.
This is a must-do in southeast Iceland!
Although you may have come here for the exceptional photos, what you actually want is the meat and potatoes, the skinny, the down low (as some may refer to it) on the Diamond Beach, and we are here to provide it.
First, Diamond Beach, or Black Beach as it is sometimes referred to, is conveniently located just across the road from the main parking lot of the Glacier Lagoon, or Jökulsárlón, and surprisingly, it has it’s own incredibly hard to pronounce name, Breiðamerkursandur Eystri-Fellsfjara. As many names in Iceland, when translated, provide a very literal description of the location…so Breiðamerkursandur means ‘Wide-Forest-Sands’ and ‘Eystri-Fellsfjara’ means ‘East-Mountain-Beach’ . It takes this name because the Icebergs that you see on the beach are from calving events on the glacier called Breiðarmerkurjökull, or ‘Wide-Forest-Glacier’ and Eystri-Fellsfjara because it’s in the East of Iceland, very close to a notable mountain called Fell…and it’s a beach. As you may have guessed by now, the area around Breiðarmerkurjökull, or Wide-Forest-Glacier, used to be forested, as most of Iceland was as well in the period of settlement.
Before the icebergs get to the beach, they need to follow the tide out of Jökulsá river, one of the shortest rivers in Iceland (only 500 meters long). You can often see this phenomenon as you drive over the Jökulsárlón bridge… and look down.
This is also a perfect place to visit if you are going for aurora hunting, the northern lights are often dancing in the sky from October-March and this is the perfect background. You are so lucky if you are going to visit us at Glacier Adventure, this awesome place with the Diamond beach and the floating icebergs at Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon is just a free bonus, there is no entry fee and you can stay there all day long walking, enjoying and taking pictures in this another world!
Short Guide to Photographing at Diamond Beach!
Now, because we are all admittedly addicted to our phones and the external validation of those likes on Instagram, let’s cover some basics on taking those viral photos at the Diamond Beach.
Here is the quick and dirty photo guide
- Keep a safe distance from the water! Sometimes waves much larger than the average size can hit the beach, and if they are carrying an iceberg then there is potential for you to get wet, injured, break a tripod etc.
- Stay dry – it’s a good idea to have some waterproof shoes and pants.
- Choose your spot wisely- observe the beach for a few minutes before setting up to see where the waves are breaking, and make sure you have a clear path behind you in case a bigger wave comes and you need to move backwards.
- Don’t leave your personal things (e.g. camera bag) on the beach. It’s better to have it on your back- especially when there is strong wind or big waves.
What gear should you bring with you to the diamond beach?
- Camera with a wide angle lens – it’s really nice to be close to the icebergs and also see the flow of the waves around them.
- It’s nice to have some ND filters for longer exposure, and graduated filters for the sky
- Your tripod is important and heavier is better- something that can stand up to the icelandic elements!
- Make use of the camera timer.
- Have a microfiber cloth – it’s good to check often that your lens doesn’t have water droplets on it.
- Shutter Priority Mode for blur effect
- Use of Tripod
- ND filter depending on the amount of light.
Diamond beach photos were taken by Ladislav Skala @buttinthenature