“Transient Gold” | Jokulsarlon beach, Iceland
“Seize the moment, and then just let it go.”
José Ramos ©
After one more night sleeping inside the car, with freezing cold outside, the phone alarm starts ringing. It’s still night, even though there’s already a faint blue line in the horizon, announcing the arrival of the sun. My body is warm, tucked inside the sleeping bag, and my conscience is still numb. I rarely wake up this soon, as I’m more of a night owl, and the temperature difference must be gigantic, but I’m at Jokulsarlon… I’m not at home, I’m not at some vacation resort, I’m not still dreaming… This is Jokulsarlon, and for the first time I’ll finally photograph one of the most incredible beaches in the world.
And so it begins. Base layer (old school tshirt), second layer, third waterproof layer. The sky is becoming brighter. Can’t miss sunrise. Neoprene pants, neoprene boots. Wool cap, wool face cover, tactile gloves. Brighter. Can’t miss sunrise. Baby towel wipe, tooth brushing, deodorant. Can’t miss sunrise! Very strong cold coffee, cleaning filters, gear setup and checking. Can’t miss sunrise, and off we go!
Once more, the intense excitement of being in such an amazing place, a true paradise for landscape photographers and beauty appreciators. The beach is everything I imagined it would be, perhaps larger, with more “chunks” of ice than I thought. The wind is blowing strong and the sea is wild. I know I keep repeating this, but this was yet another extremely difficult place to photograph.
First there are way too many possible good compositions, and beauty overload can easily wreak havoc inside a landscape photographer’s brain. Then the salty water spray is strong and almost constant, even more intense than in portuguese beaches. As if this wasn’t enough, those stubborn pieces of ice can’t keep still for more than some seconds! I’m know I’m sounding a bit negative, but the truth is that I just loved it!
This is not a good place for long exposures, as you want to capture the motion of the water, as well as avoid blurring due to the ice moving with the strength of the waves. I used a smaller aperture then usual, because I couldn’t go any lower in terms of ISO, and 1/5 second exposure was just about right for the wave motion.
Had the chance to try the new Formatt Hitech Firecrest 3 stop Reverse ND Grad prototype on this beach, and I just loved it. Can’t wait to try their full line of Firecrest filters!
Sony a77 + Sigma 10-20mm
Exposure: 1/5 seconds
Filters: Formatt Hitech Firecrest 3 stop reverse ND Grad prototype
Wireless remote shutter
Manfrotto MT055XPRO3 tripod + MH055M0-Q6 ballhead