I stood outside for a while, and took a series of shots, hoping to make some kind of star trail track or time-lapse, but it soon got lighter and didn't really work. After 45 minutes I drove on down to the beach. On arrival at the east beach I was a bit disappointed to see it already crowded with photographers, but that is just a usual morning in Jökulsárlón these days (and people like me have helped to make it popular, after all, so I shouldn't grumble).
A small layer of cloud hugged the horizon, but above a wispy storm cloud was growing and began glowing pink.
The anvil on the cloud grew, but the sun was still illuminating the diamonds of ice on the beach.
The cloud grew and grew and stretched out across the sky.
After sorting through some photos, a couple of (large) cups of tea and some lunch I headed back to the beach. On the way I stopped to take a few shots of some wonderful golden hour light and reflections along the side of the road.
By the time I got to the beach it was almost sunset; this time I went to the west side of the river, which was almost devoid of icebergs. The sunset was spectacular enough, though, without the need for or distraction of any icebergs.
The sun eventually disappeared completely, the clouds above thinned out and just a small amount of pink glowed on the water receding on the beach. I managed to find a couple of lonesome bergs, sitting starkly on the blank sand, occasionally being pushed over by the surf. A few heavy clouds hung on the horizon.
A big display of northern lights was forecast (and in fact was apparently already going on), so I decided to head across to the lagoon and scope out a spot for later on (weather-permitting, of course). I drove a bit further west to a car-park about 1/2km from the one near the bridge. I walked up a small hill, over the moraine and down on to the beach. There were very few icebergs in the lagoon, but there were a couple of nice large ones, which were reflected in the water. I had a bit of a quandary - go to the car and get my gear (I'd gone down without the tripod) or head home first for something to eat and come back later. I decided to do the latter, which turned out to be a bit of a mistake. Sometimes I just make an error of judgment, especially easy to see with the benefit of hindsight....
I thought about the evening ahead and thought I'd have plenty of time ahead of me to capture any northern lights, once it was dark. I hurriedly made my usual pasta (too much) and sat and ate it in the kitchen of the guesthouse, talking to a couple of German women. Once I'd finished I thought I should do a recce outside to see if the lights were visible yet, before heading out back to the lagoon. I was quite surprised (and annoyed with myself) to see a huge green streak above me, winding its way across the sky, stretching from above the yellow house to the east across over the mountains to the west. I'm getting a little collection of photos of aurora over the yellow house, I'm pleased to say!
The waning moon hadn't yet risen, but I could have done with the extra light that it provided - as it was the hills were snowless and black, just silhouettes against the light display. It was challenging to focus, as apart from the lights above, the foreground was pitch-black.
I wanted to take a few vertical shots, to capture the length of some of the lines of light, but realised that I couldn't with the tripod head configured as it was. I just couldn't work out how to tilt it downwards, so couldn't control the composition in that format.
I took a few more shots before heading in to get the rest of my camera and warm-weather gear.
I did a quick Google on the type of pan-head I had, and discovered that if I turned the camera 90° clockwise (the mounting plate was square, so this was possible), then I could angle the camera downwards, even when vertically configured. This was definitely worth knowing!
I zoomed down to the lagoon, to the same spot as before, and rushed down the hillside to the beach, where an English couple and there grown-up child were chatting on the beach. Immediately they offered me a Jaffa Cake, which was much appreciated (and oh so English!). They soon moved on, after we cooed about how amazing the lights were, and how lucky we were that it wasn't windy or particularly cold. They were staying in Vík, so had a long drive home. The lagoon was mirror-like, as it had been earlier, reflecting the bergs and aurora. The aurora, unfortunately, weren't quite as picturesque as they had been back at Hali - I seem to have missed the best part at the lagoon.
The light show continued, but wasn't as spectacular as earlier. The sky was getting muddled by endless distant aurora, but with no distinct lines or arcs. I could have stayed a lot longer, but the wind picked up a little destroying any decent reflections in the lagoon and I actually began to feel a little 'over' the aurora, which is totally ridiculous given how much I obsess about seeing them when I'm not seeing them! I was still annoyed with myself for not having been at the lagoon when it got dark (and even more so the following morning when I saw a fellow photographer's much-better shots from the lagoon just after dusk - grrrr!). I drove home to a couple of beers and review of the dozens of photos I'd taken, before setting the alarm for another early morning for my last sunrise at the beach. It hadn't been a bad little day's photography; Jökulsárlón and Hali still had me thoroughly enchanted.