Ice caves in Iceland are a dream of most landscape photographers. If you've seen photos of them before, then no doubt you will likely want to visit one yourself.
Before you enter one though, it's important to know how they are formed, ways in which to stay safe when entering an ice cave, and what kinds of photos you can expect to get when you do take the plunge and head into an ice cave deep within Iceland's Vatnajökull National Park. So without further ado, let's dive into the wonderful world of Iceland's incredible ice caves.
How is an Ice Cave Made?
These are caves made of ice that have opened up within a glacier over time. Most of them are formed by water running either through tunnels in the ice or on the ground beneath the glacier. The water may originate on the glacier‘s surface through melting and heat transfer may be enough to create an air filled cavity. The movement of air can then enlarge the cave through melting in summer and sublimation in winter.
Some of these ice caves are formed by geothermal vents or hot springs underneath the ice. As glaciers are constantly moving, these ice caves are not permanent and their solidness may vary greatly.
Safety Precautions When Entering an Ice Cave
Due to the dynamic nature of ice caves, they are constantly melting and reshaping over time. As such, for your own safety, you should only enter an ice cave in the company of a seasoned ice cave guide and utmost caution should be observed at all times.
Ice cave tours have become increasingly popular with photographers over the years. The best way to ensure that you'll take home amazing photographs from an ice cave, particularly if you've never been inside one before, is to go with a professional photography guide. They can help you to find compositions within the ice cave and will then guide you through the entire process of taking a photo, making sure that you'll take home some really amazing shots.
If you are keen on visiting an ice cave in Iceland, then it's best to book a tour sooner rather than later, as they can tend to fill up quickly.
Pictures from Ice Caves
Entering an ice cave, particularly a vast one such as “Crystal Ice Cave” is a truly breathtaking experience. Opportunities for photography are also great here, as the glistening of the ice and the hues of light make for some truly memorable photos. It's the best time to practice using a wide angle lens and particularly for developing your low-light photography skills. Although you will likely concentrate most of your efforts on photographing the incredible textures and colours that make up the ice cave itself, it can be fun to incorporate people as well as other objects into your ice cave photos for a sense of scale.
Taking photos inside an ice cave can be difficult if you've never tried it before but there's no better place to start than in Iceland. You'll need a tripod to ensure that your camera is steady and to minimise shake, as well as a camera with good low light capabilities. There's no need to bring filters inside an ice cave, as you'll want to be making the most of the available light rather than blocking it out.
To keep the image sharp, you'll probably need to do some more complex photography techniques, such as focus stacking. Not sure what focus stacking is? It's a method in which you take several photographs at different points of focus, which you'll then merge together with post processing software to make one final, very sharp image. Don't fret if this sounds too difficult for you – our photography guides can help you with this technique, from the shooting in-field to blending in post production later on, ensuring that you'll have a well finished image.
At Iceland Photo Tours, we've been teaching our students how to take photos inside ice caves for as long as we can remember! We've seen many different ones appearing and then disappearing over the years and we're lucky to say that we've had the opportunity to capture most of them in that time, if not all. Have you been wondering how best to photograph an ice cave? To get your creative juices flowing, here is a collection of our top 9 amazing ice cave photos that will absolutely blow your mind.
The Explorer. Photo by: 'Iurie Belegurschi'.
This Big Wide World. Photo by: 'Iurie Belegurschi'.
Blue Ice. Photo by: 'Iurie Belegurschi'.
The White Vortex. Photo by: 'Alban'
Snow Cone. Photo by: 'Iurie Belegurschi'.
Red Beacon in the Dark. Photo by: 'Iurie Belegurschi'.
Inside the Ice. Photo by: 'Iurie Belegurschi'.
Traversing the Ice. Photo by: 'Iurie Belegurschi'.
Photography in an Ice Cave. Photo by: 'Iurie Belegurschi'.
Have you been thinking of visiting and photographing an ice cave in Iceland? Our tours tend to fill up quickly, so make a booking before it's too late! Check out our range of winter photography workshops in Iceland!
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