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The full itinerary for the trip is included below.
Iceland is one of the truly amazing countries for a photographer to visit. Sitting on the edge of the Eurasian and American tectonic plates it is an opportunity to see the development of the earth happening before your eyes. Glacial lagoons, lava fields and the erosion of the rocks caused by the waves travelling across the Atlantic Ocean produce a stunning vista for the landscape photographer. Its northerly position also provides the ideal conditions to see and photograph the Aurora Borealis over some of the most stunning locations in the world.
As well being immensely beautiful, Iceland is also one of the windiest countries in the world so whilst we have an outline itinerary we may need to make changes based on the weather forecast.
11 October 2015 – Accommodation at City Center Hotel, Austurstræti 6, Reykjavik (Tel: +3545711400)
We will assemble in Reykjavik where, depending on flight arrival times there will be an opportunity to explore the port area of the Iceland’s capital city.
12 – 14 October 2015 – Accommodation at Hotel Framnes, Nesvegur 8, Grundafjordur (Tel: +3544386893)
Leaving early in the morning on the 12th we will head toward the Snæfellsnes Peninsula which is on the West Coast of Iceland. On the way we will plan to stop at a couple of locations just off the road to photograph some lower level waterfalls as well as the historic town of Borgarnes and the lighthouses at Akranes.
We will be staying in Grundafjörður and using this as base to travel to a variety of locations in the peninsula such as the Black Church at Búðir; Saxholbjarg Lighthouse; and the coastline around Hellnar.
If the aurora is visible on the nights we are in the peninsula we will aim to photograph them over the famous mountain at Kirkjufell which towers over the north coast of Snæfellsnes as well as one or two other locations that have great views as the lights appear up above.
14 – 16 October 2015 – Accommodation at Welcome Hotel in Vik, Vikurbraut 24a-26, Vik (Tel: +3544871212)
Another early start as we head toward the south coast of Iceland toward the small town of Vik. On the way we will pass two of the most famous waterfalls in Iceland, Seljalansdsfoss and Skogarfoss that are both easily accessible from the road.
We will be staying in the town of Vik where we will be in reach of some stunning locations for seascapes with the cliffs of Dyrhólaey looking over the black beach and the sea stacks Kirkjufjara Beach. However, as well as seascapes we will have the opportunity to drive up to the abandoned DC3 plane, as well as some other locations in the town of Vik itself.
16 – 17 October 2015 – Accommodation at Gerdi Guesthouse, Gerdi, Hali (Tel: +3544781905)
Our penultimate stopping point of the tour is to head over to the famous Glacier Lagoon at Jökulsárlón. As well as exploring the lagoon we will also have an opportunity to capture the small icebergs washed up on to the black beach although be prepared to get your feet wet for the best images.
As well as the lagoon, though, there are also some quieter glaciers that we will explore at Fjallsárlón and Svinafell which have less people visiting and are therefore ideal for the serious photographer looking to get some different images. We’ll also be stopping at the Grass Church at Hof which provides a calm and pleasant end to the travelling experience before heading back to Reykjavik.
17-18 October 2015 – Accommodation at City Center Hotel, Austurstræti 6, Reykjavik (Tel: +3545711400)
Our final night of the tour will be spent back in the capital city of Iceland where can say our goodbyes as well as take a final opportunity to explore the city. Depending on flight times on the 18th it may also be possible to take a trip to the imposing Hallgrimskirkja Cathedral that looks over the city.
To make the most of the trip you will need to have an SLR camera with at least a wide-angle lens (around 16-35mm or 24-70mm) and a long lens (70-200mm). You will also need a sturdy tripod, particularly a the Glacier Lagoon where it is very likely that waves will be coming over the base of your tripod. I would also recommend the use of ND and ND Graduated filters to make the most of the skies and water that we will be photographing.
In terms of clothing, you should really be ready for a variety of conditions. Contrary to its name, Iceland doesn’t get particularly cold, -3C is as low as I have seen, but it can feel much colder due to the wind. It would be usual in October for the temperatures to be around 1C to 4C so it is best to wear layers with a merino wool base layer.
Most of the time we will be walking on good ground but I would recommend always wearing a sturdy pair of walking boats and have a good supply of warm socks. If your luggage allows, it may be advisable to bring some waterproof wellingtons for the Glacier Lagoon or at the very least have a spare set of socks in case you do get your feet wet.
I would also recommend having some warm gloves and a hat as well as a waterproof coat to protect you from both wind and rain, particularly when we are photographing the aurora.
The tour is an intense photography experience, particularly if we are blessed with clear skies and an active aurora. However, from experience, it isn’t sustainable to be photographing constantly for all seven days so where possible I also try to include a couple of classroom style sessions to allow us to discuss different aspects of the workshop including editing of images and hints and tips on how to best photograph the northern lights.