Iceland Road Trip - Jökulsárlón, Diamond Beach and Stokksnes

Iceland Road Trip

Day 3: Kirkjubæjarklaustu to Stokksnes

Iceland Itinerary 5 Days

Jökulsárlón, Diamond Beach and Stokksnes in one day

We were looking at a manageable 210 kilometre road trip, which gave us lots of opportunities to make stops along the way. As it happened we were in for a grey, rainy, misty, windy and cloudy day. As we drove through the vast Eldhraun Mossy Lava Fields we were reminded of the forces at play here. Below a quote from Guide to Iceland.

The Eldhrun Lava Fields were created in one of the greatest eruptions in recorded history and is of the largest of its kind in the world.

This eruption lasted from 1783 to 1784. This was a cataclysmic event for Iceland and beyond. In Iceland it lead to disease, crop failure and disasters.

Despite the abysmal effect the eruption had, this lava field of 565 km2 is today one of the most stunningly attractive ones in Iceland.

 
 

Landscape photography from your car

You could easily pull over every two minutes along the road and capture a meaningful landscape photo. The scenery is in abundance. After a while we decided we had to keep moving and just enjoy it from the car or we would not reach our destination in one day.

 
 

Vatnajökull Glacier comes into view

I was worried that we would run out of spectacular views as we drove further and further east. My line of thinking was: how could anything possible top what we had already seen? Then suddenly, parts of the Vatnajökull Glacier, Iceland’s largest glacier, started appearing as the clouds were lifting on the horizon. It was magical and awe-inspiring and we made several stops to savour the moment.

 
 

Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon, a favourite

Our next stop was at the Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon. This is one of the most famous attractions on the south coast of Iceland. The lagoon is linked to the Atlantic Ocean through a narrow straight. Numerous icebergs, broken off the the glacier, float in the lagoon and eventually drift out to the Atlantic. This was Di’s favourite stop in Iceland.

 
 

Iceland in September

The weather was a complete mixed bag in early September. One moment rain, the next windy and then around the corner nice and sunny and our jackets would come off.

At this point in our day the weather was changing slightly for the better. There was plenty of scenery to feast your eyes on during the final leg of the drive.

 
 

Vestrahorn on the Stokksnes pininsula is stunning, if you see it

Stokksnes is located about a twenty minute drive from our hotel, which was near the town of Höfn. We checked in and had a rest before we decided to make the final drive out to Stokksnes, I will quote the Guide to Iceland again:

Vestrahorn, on the Stokksnes peninsula in Southeast Iceland, is one of the country’s most breathtaking mountains. With peaks reaching up to 454 metres (1490 ft), steep cliffs rising from the sides of a stunning lagoon, and black sand beaches all around, it promises to blow away anyone with an appreciation of stark natural beauty. 

After a write up like that, you can imagine expectations and anticipation were building as we neared the turning point for our Iceland road trip. Anticipation slowly changed to scepticism as the weather and visibility made a turn for the worse. We kept going and paid the fee to cross the gate to the peninsula. The weather was not improving, so we waited a while in the car and consumed our dinner snack. It was now raining sideways and you couldn’t see Vestrahorn at all. The thing was, the weather could have turned on a dime but the reality felt different. This system seemed pretty determined to stick around for a while. I contemplated braving the element and Di finally convinced me to do it. I wandered the area for about 45 minutes and in the end I captured a sliver of a silhouette of the mountain. That was the best we could do. It was slightly disappointing but then again, not. This is what you can expect out here and it was refreshing to feel the ruggedness of the elements right on the Ocean.

 
 

Iceland Photography

I have been using my Fujifilm X-H1 mostly for the Iceland landscape photos. The built in image stabilizer has aided me in getting steady and sharp photos handheld while stopping my lens down to typically f/8 or f/11. With my XF 90mm f/2 R WR, I would normally keep my shutter speed higher than 1/250 in order to avoid any camera shake. With the IBIS, I would quite often be okay all the way down to 1/30 or even lower if was careful in keep the camera steady. Why not just use a tripod? We are travelling very lightweight and I have decided not to travel with a tripod besides a Manfrotto Pixi mini tri pod.

 

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