This location is pretty straight forward with very limited compositions to shoot. However, there are no signposts to get here, and Google maps will send you to the middle of nowhere. It seems the locals don’t want you to find this place, and as a result they wasted several hours of my precious time in Iceland.
Special Photographic Features or Notes
The grotto or geothermal pool is the only location I will talk about here, there isn’t really anything else to shoot in the immediate vicinity. Although there are many other photo opportunities around Mývatn.
There are two entrances to the cave at either end. I find the cave entrance to the right (when facing the cave from the outside) offers the better angle. Entering the cave is a little precarious, you will need to climb down a couple of rocks. It’s nothing hard, but it’s worth mentioning (don’t take your granny).
The cave doesn’t extend much past the cave entrances and it’s somewhat safe to explore. Note the water is very hot, you certainly wouldn’t want to fall into it, or swim in it for that matter. Well that is unless it is winter, I believe it is tolerable in only the colder months. I visited in October and it was too hot, I tried putting my feet in but didn’t last so long.
You can certainly shoot here at night, although it is a cave…so you would need to light it up with torches.
Best Time to Shoot
It’s probably best photographed on an overcast day, much like photographing waterfalls in woodlands. You want a soft natural light streaming in from the entrances and above to light up the pool. Harsh light on a cloudless day might not work so well here. Regardless I suggest bracketing your exposures to capture all the dynamic range.
Now for the bit you’ve been waiting for, or like most I’m sure you just jumped straight to this section.
Grjótagjá is located on Grjótagjárvegur (860 road), just off the main 1 ring road, on the outskirts of Reykjahlíð. I suggest approaching from the North however you can just as easily come from the South, the 860 road is very short. The majority of the road is unsealed but is in good condition. If you approach from the North you shouldn’t actually hit the unsealed part, the road to the cave is fully sealed. If you hit the unsealed road coming from the North you have gone too far.
Take the first right (not sign posted) when coming from the North along a short road, and you will soon see the cave. It’s very simple when you know how.
Take the Grjótagjárvegur (860) from the North, off the 1 ring road near Reykjahlíð.
Take the first right and bobs your uncle.