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I've got some new photos to share of one of my favourite subjects; ice. So I thought I'd make it a proper blog post and throw in some old favourites too.

I think since I first fell in love with the landscapes of the north of the planet, ice has been an enduring muse. I like the way its form can vary so greatly, and its appearance can change almost instantly, depending on the light. On damp, overcast days, glaciers will glow blue. In sunrise & sunset light it will reflect the golden hues. And the direction of the light makes a huge difference too. We can see the same piece of ice from two angles, and get a strikingly different perspective on it, depending on how the light is sweeping over and through it. This post contains a set of photos from several trips over the years, in many different conditions, to show ice in its varied forms.


Glaciers are huge stores of ice, formed by annual snowfall compacting under its own weight, after centuries of build-up. It's hard to imagine them flowing like rivers, but that's what they do. And this shot illustrates why. The front wall of the glacier stands 20-50 meters out of the water, and the glacier rises several hundred meters behind it. The weight of all that ice behind powers the movement of the glacier forwards.

I like this photo because it shows the height and the depth of the glacier, with each layer experiencing different light and weather conditions.

Layers of light and Ice at Fjallsjökull Glacier, in South Iceland
Layers of light and Ice

This is an aerial photo of a glacier in Greenland, in the evening sun. What I like here is the contrast in colours between those surfaces blanketed in sunlight and those that are in the shade. It also illustrates the interesting geological process of shifting layers and crevasses within the glacier.

midnight sun paints the glacier gold
Sunlight on Glacier

Those crevasses and layers are even more starkly illustrated in this wider shot, looking out from the glacier itself, and down the ice fjord which ultimately takes the ice out to sea

Jakobshavn Glacier in West Greenland in the midnight sun
Jakobshavn Glacier

The direction of the light is crucial. From most angles this meltwater pool on the Greenland Ice sheet glows azure blue, but with the bright summer sun in the sky behind, every patch of mist and water in view is painted gold, in contrast to the blue of the shaded ice.

the inland Greenland ice sheet glows gold in the sun and blue in the shade
Gold & Blue

Some close-ups of glaciers now, and the classic misty, overcast Icelandic weather creates some of the best conditions to see the deep blues of a glacier. Icelandic glaciers often feature layers of volcanic ash mixed in with the ice, from eruptions of centuries past. I used to dislike that, but now I enjoy the extra dimension it adds, and the story of the landscape that is woven into its appearance.

layers of ice at the end of a glacier in south iceland
Crumpled Ice

This is a close-up of the same glacier as the first photo in this post, taken 5 years prior. On this occasion the fog was rolling in, obscuring the higher layers, so I focussed on the front, where the light seemed to be highlighting the giant ice lollies which form the lower regions, ready to collapse into the lagoon at any time.

close-up of the ice at the front of Fjallsjökull glacier in south iceland
Fjallsjökull Mist & Layers

Ice Bergs

Once those building-sized 'ice lollies' are eroded from the front of the glacier, they drift out to sea, creating all kinds of abstract shapes as they go. I took each of these ice berg photos on a trip to Greenland, in 2019.

the Ilulissat Icefjord, full of glaciers, in Disko Bay, West Greenland
Ilulissat Icefjord Portrait

A northern fulmar flying past a large glacier in Disko Bay, Greenland
Fulmar Against Ice

sunlit edge of a glacier in contrast to the shady blue ice, in Disko Bay, Greenland
Light & Shade

abstract nature photography from Disko Bay, Greenland
Blue Ice Abstract

The edge of a large ice berg, in Disko Bay, Greenland
Frozen Wave

a fulmar gliding past a huge rolling glacier in Disko Bay, Greenland
Ice Mountain

a large ice berg floats out to sea, in the evening sun of Disko Bay, Greenland
Ice Berg Portrait

a large sheet of ice floats past the coast of Ilullisat, with the mountains of Disko Island behind, in West Greenland
Misty Disko Bay


I took this one in 2013, the first time I visited Iceland. I've never known whether to describe it as 'minimalist', or 'abstract', but neither seem quite right, so I didn't include it in either of those recent blog posts. But I like it. I suppose it could be called a 'study'. I don't know. I guess that's why I take photos. I'd rather show something than try to explain it. It's best viewed large, if that's an option to you. You get a real sparkle from the bright specs amongst the largely black volcanic sand.

A lump of ice on the black volcanic sand beach of Jokulsarlon beach in south iceland
Blue Ice on Black Sand

This one's the oldest photo in this post, and I took it near home, on a cold morning when I was out looking for deer. Needless to say the deer hadn't read the script, but there were a few long strands of grass which had collected hoar frost like this, and I set my attention to capturing a close-up of that.

Hoar frost on a peice of grass, in Bedfordshire, UK.
Frosted Sail

Ice Caves

From the oldest to the newest. I took these photos last year. The attraction of visiting this popular ice cave in Breiðamerkurjökull, Iceland, is the combination of abstract shapes and changing light. Every visit is different, and indeed the ice cave itself collapses every summer and reforms every winter, so it's entirely unique each year. I just love the play of light on these surfaces.

Ice abstract, from Vatnajökull National Park, Iceland
Ice Cave Wall

Here, the sun shines through the wall of the cave, illuminating the sculpted surface and the varied thickness as the ice.

sunlight penetrates the wall of a ice cave, in Vatnajökull national park, iceland
Sunlight Through Ice

This one looks like the sea, to me.

Ceiling of an ice cave, in Breiðamerkurjökull, Iceland
Frozen Ocean

The last one is a rare people-photo, and features my wife gallantly posing like a boss at the opening of the cave, as a curtain of meltwater falls behind. This wasn't one of those photo tour set-up shots, where someone poses for five minutes in a predefined spot, and everyone takes the same photo. We had literally seconds to take this, unplanned, after the rest of our guide group had moved on, so I'm really thrilled to have got all the settings and timings right.

an adventurous hiker standing at the entrace of the Breiðamerkurjökull ice cave
Ice Cave Entrance

Price Freeze

Speaking of ice, the good news here is there's currently a price freeze on all wall prints from my website. I tend to revaluate my print prices at the end of each year, as I plan for the next. This year, despite ridiculous inflation and rising printing/shipping costs, I'm keeping prices the same as last year. They're not cheap, by any measure, but it's important to me to keep my prints affordable, so I'm going to absorb those cost increases for the time being. If there's a photo in this post, or my main image galleries that you'd like on your wall, you can buy online or get in touch for more info.

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