After a quick breakfast we check out of our storm shelter and headed out to Hali. There is so much to see and photograph along the south coast of Iceland that two days do not do it justice. From a photographers point, at a bare minimum you need a week during each season.
Our first major stop was the ice blue ridges of Svinafellsjokull (Pig Glacier) at Skaftafell. This is a beautiful glacier that has claimed a few lives. As you approach the glacier entrance sign shows the names of two who went missing 2007. The sign was erected by their family and friends. Unfortunately due to ice on the ledges, the path that leads to an elevated vantage point was closed. Yet there were many suitable spots to photograph from and some of the group trekked to the far edge to capture images of the glacial valley and the mouth of the glacier.
From here we set out to Jokulsarlon. This is a large glacial lagoon where Vatnajokul, the largest glacier in Europe, calves and sends its magnificent large blue and crystal clear icebergs into the ocean.
With many images under our belt we were anxious to get to the black sand beach which is at the very end of Jokulsarlon. There the Vatnajokul icebergs get pushed and deposited onto the black sand beach by the mighty waves and tides of the ocean. The photo opportunities are endless and one has to be careful of the huge rogue waves that come ashore so fast that it is virally impossible to out run them. I did experience my first soaking this morning. Knees down I was wet and my boots were full of freezing cold sea water. I guess I can say it took a dip in the ocean in Iceland in the winter. Fortunately this was soon before we had planned to wind up and head to our hotel to cheek in. I had to use the reception facilities to get out of my wet clothes and change into a fresh set of dy ones. I guess I was not the only one in the group who experienced the wrath of the tides in Iceland as many stories of rogue waves were told at lunch. Our plans were being formulated to come back for sunrise the next morning.
We had a great lunch. Most of us ate the traditional Icelandic soup while others had mushroom soup. The weather started to turn for the worse so some of the group wanted to just relax while others wanted more ptography despite the weather. We headed out along the coastal route going North East. En route we photographed some farm houses and a church. We saw a herd of reindeer or caribou on the right side of the highway so pulled over. None of us had really long focal-length lenses but it was still fun photographing these creatures.
Reindeer and Caribou look a bit different, but they are the same species Rangifer tarandus. Reindeer were domesticated in northern Eurasia about 2000 years ago. These animals have unique hairs which trap air providing them with excellent insulation buoyancy.
A old home in ruins was a great object of interest. At this juncture the weather really turned for the worse so we headed back to the hotel. The winds were gusting and the clud cover was dense. The likelihood of any night photography or Aurora photography was just about a zero.
We had dinner and retired to the rooms. Some of us sat around in the kitchen area drinking a few beers and just relaxing.