Ice Cave and Northern Lights Winter Photography Tour

In this Winter Landscape – Photography Tour, you will join us and seek some of the best light and impressive landscape that Iceland has to offer. A special focus will be put on photographing ice and northern lights.

During the workshops, we will concentrate on

Aurora Hunting

The blazing northern lights, a.k.a. the Aurora Borealis that grace the Arctic sky are a natural phenomenon caused by solar activity. The lights formed as atoms and energetically shaped particles collide, as the earth‘s magnetic field directs the solar wind into the atmosphere. There are several factors which determine whether you will witness the aurora and which strengthen the chances of getting the best experience. These include dark skies, a favorable season, good weather conditions, taking your time and finding a good location.The Northern Lights are some of the most attractive sights you‘ll find in nature and thus we‘ll keep a keen eye out for them during the workshop, as we want to offer you the chance of top quality aurora photography.

Ice Caves

These stunning ice caves made entirely out of ice, which have opened within a glacier. They are formed by an interaction of ice, snow and air. Water may thus originate from the surface of the glacier, run through icy tunnels or on the ground beneath the glacier and the transfer of heat may be sufficient to create a cavity filled with air. Air can in turn affect the size and shape through melting in summer and sublimation in winter. The result of this interplay in nature is a vast variety of differently shaped patterns of glistening blue ice, offering amazing chances in photography. Some of the greatest caves may be found at Vatnajokull, and it is indeed there where all my own ice cave photos where shot. The most extreme of these caves measures as much as 2.8 kilometres (1.7 mi) in length with a vertical range of 525 metres (1,722 ft). To stand within such a cave and photograph the icy patterns is awe-inspiring, to say the least.

Please bear in mind that the caves are not permanent and differ in solidness, as the glacier keeps moving. There should therefore always be entered with utmost caution, accompanied by a professional glacier guide. When you do, you will certainly be rewarded by the experience.

Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon and the Famous Ice Beach

Several times during the workshop you will visit the beautiful Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon, belonging to the vast Vatnajokull National Park. The lagoon is filled with more than 300 massive icebergs of different shapes and sizes that break away yearly from Breidamerkurjokull glacier and drift towards the sea. More icebergs can then be found at the sandy beach, shaped further by the sea. The interplay of light, the dark sands, glistening ice, possible snow in wintertime and reflections in the ice and the water make this a wonderful opportunity for stunning winter photography. Already a photographer‘s dream come true, the scene may be crowned even further by a brilliant display of aurora, should conditions be favourable.

The glistening ice world of Jokuslarlon has inspired filmmakers as well as photographers, as evidenced by the James Bond films Live and Let Die and A View to a Kill. Fans of the Game of Thrones TV series might also note that all the scenes by The Wall in the first series were filmed in the Vatnajokull area and at lake Myvatn, further north.

Bear in mind that the itinerary of the Winter Photo Workshops is always kept flexible, due to possible changes in weather.

Day 1, Arrival

On your first day in Iceland, you will arrive at Keflavik International Airport and from there take the flybus, which will take you quickly and directly to your hotel in the central Reykjavik. We will meet at 7 pm in the lobby and then go out to enjoy a delicious meal at a nearby restaurant. There we will get to know each other and review the itinerary of the journey awaiting us. You will then spend the night at your hotel in Reykjavik.

Day 2

Seljalandsfoss , Skogafoss , Dyrholaey , Reynisfjara
You will be picked up by bus from your hotel early in the morning, travelling east via the black sands of the south coast of Iceland. On your way you will shoot two of Iceland‘s most picturesque and popular waterfalls, Seljalandsfoss and Skogafoss.

Seljalandsfoss is a narrow and tall fall with a drop of 63 meters and offers the added chance of actually walking behind it for a unique angle. At a drop of 60 meters and with a width of 25 meters Skogafoss is one of Iceland‘s highest and most scenic falls which can also be shot from above, as there is a pathway to the top and further upstream, where further spectacular falls can be found. During sunny days the spray Skogarfoss may even produce a double rainbow.

You will then travel towards Reynisfjara beach near the charming village of Vik, at the southernmost part of the mainland. This beach, with its dramatic scenery, may be the most beautiful in Iceland and certainly one of the best places for nature photography to be found. It is riddled with black pebbles and by the shore you‘ll see an impressive basalt columnar pyramid called Gardar. Further out the rugged basalt sea stacks Reynisdrangar rise mightily to the sky. The waves there are further some of the strongest you‘ll find at any shore in Iceland. After a great day of shooting this fantastic scenery, you will spend the night in Vik.

Day 3

Vatnajokull National park
The vast Vatnajokull National Park offers some of the most diverse and spectacular scenery you’ll find in Iceland, with Vatnajokull, Europe’s largest glacier at its center. This park really has everything. As we focus on the southern and eastern part of the park, you will ill get to see beautiful waterfalls such as Svartifoss, with its dark basalt columns, and Hundafoss by Skaftafell (formerly a natural park of its own, later included in the larger one), mighty glaciers and glacier tongues, dark beache,s magnificent mountains, icy glacier lagoons such as Jokulsarlon and much more.

As if this scenery wasn’t already enough, we will as always keep an eye out for the aurora. Shooting the Northern Lights in this otherworldly and adventurous setting is a true adventure for a nature photographer. At the time of our Winter Aurora Photo Workshop lights are extraordinary and soft, resulting in prime photos. At this time of year you are also likely to enjoy the benefits of the snow, adding yet another great touch to your photography.

Day 4

Vatnajokull National Park
On this day you will have plenty of time to explore the icy wonders of the beautiful Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon on the east of Vatnajokull, photographing the multitude of glistening icebergs floating towards the ocean and the ice crystals which are scattered on the black sands. You may well spot seals in the area, as they frequent the beaches in winter. We will start our photography excursion before sunrise and as the best photographs can be captures as the first and last rays of the sun illuminate the glistening ice, offering a fantastic display of light. Other lagoons can be found in the area, which are well worth exploring and photographing in their own right, as well as many breathtaking glacier outlets. The highlight of the day, however, will surely be when we enter the subglacial ice caves, uniquely shaped natural sculptures, cavities of crystal blue ice, located under the vast Vatnajokull glacier. This is a moment where time quite literally seems to freeze and you will feel small and in awe against nature´s creation. Be prepared with your wide-angle lens because this is a moment you’ll want to capture well and one that will result in unique pictures.

Day 5

Vatnajokull National Park
On the fifth day of the Winter Aurora Photo Workshop you will head further east of Vatnajokull and explore the majestic Vestrahorn mountain, rising produly at 454 meters above the black lava beach of the Stokksnes peninsula. This steep mountain is interesting geologically, as it consists of unstratified plutonic rock, mostly gabbro, but with some granophyre as well. The mountain has a very interesting shape, consisting of several steep peaks, and one particularly oddly shaped outcrop called Brunnhorn, located eastwards, which stretches all the way out to the sea. All this results in a great photographic scenery, coupled with the mighty waves of the North Atlantic Ocean bashing the shore. As our journey progresses we will constantly be following and seeking the best possible light. Sunrise and sunset are particularly recommended for photographing Vestrahorn and its surroundings, as they offer an amazing display of light over this epic mountain.

Day 6

Skaftafell, Vik
On this day you will spend your time photographing the wonderful landscape of the Skaftafell preservation area, at the southwestern part of Vatnajokull National Park. There is fine vegetation in the area but the largest attraction is probably Svartifoss waterfall. It is indeed one of my favorite falls to shoot, where the whiteness of the fall contrasts dramatically with dark hexagonal basalt columns and the sharp rocks at the base which bave broken from the columns. This scenery served as an inspiration for the columnar structure of Hallgrimskirkja church in Reykjavik, as well as the ceiling of the National Theater. Sculptor Richard Serra also drew upon the columns for his sculpture piece Milestones, situated in Videy, off the shores of Reykjavik. Another highly picturesque fall is then close by, the beautiful Hundafoss. The volcanic peaks of Kristinartindar form an impressive backdrop to the scenery and more glacier lagoons can be found in the area, as well as the iconic glacier outlet Svinafellsjokull, increasingly popular with glacier hikers.

Later you will get to shoot the fantastic scenery of the volcanic Reynisfjara beach as the sun is setting. This dramatic scenery, with Reynisdrangar protruding to the sky, the strong waves of the North Atlantic Ocean, its black sands and basalt column pyramid of Gardar, and its rich birdlife takes on an extra splendour with the last rays of the setting sun. Some of your most scenic photographs during the workshop are therefore likely to be shot at this very spot. You will then spend the night in the charming little village of Vik, the southernmost village of the Icelandic mainland.

Day 7

Geysir, Gullfoss, Thingvellir national park, Reykjavik
Your last proper day of travel before leaving Iceland, can be considered somewhat of a culmination. On this day you will get to experience three of Iceland‘s most popular attractions, which together comprise the famous Golden Circle. These consist of Thingvellir National Park, Gullfoss waterfall and the Geysir geothermal area in South Iceland.

In terms of nature, history and cultural heritage, Thingvellir is one of Iceland‘s most important sites. It is designated as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and was site of the old national assembly Althingi, founded in the 10th century, to which Iceland’s present parliament in Reykjavik, still bearing the same name, traces its roots. Thingvellir is a rift valley, where the North Atlantic and Eurasian tectonic plates meet, as evidenced by the impressive Almannagja gorge, where we also recommend shooting the beautiful waterfall Oxararfoss that falls into the gorge. Thimgvellir is indeed one of the most photogenic sites in all of Iceland and further recommended sights include the mountain ring surrounding the area and Thingvallavatn, Iceland‘s largest lake, and its islets. Underwater photography has also been popular in the area, as the clear water fissure Silfra opens into the lake, where photographers are literally swimming between continents.

The geothermal area of the spouting hot spring Geysir gives its name to spouting hot springs, or geysers, all over the world. While Geysir itself is hardly eruptive anymore, its powerful neighbour Strokkur certainly is, spouting water to a height of 15-20 meters every 5 minutes. Other notable geysers (with a small ‘g’) are Smidur and Litli-Strokkur. Northwards you’ll find of fumaroles (hot springs that emanate steam and gas) and may note bright yellow stains of native sulphur that have chrystalized in the steam. Southwards you’ll find a range of mudpots (fumaroles that boil through the groundwater/surface water). During dry spells these may steam, but otherwise they boil. Not far off is an old natural pool, which can be entered but visitors need to mind that it is delicate. There is also forestry in the area and a tree museum, well worth a visit. Finally, you might want to check out the charming old wooden church. This colourful area offers incredible diversity and a great opportunity for stunning photos.

Last, but not least, the thunderous waterfall Gullfoss is widely considered to be the most beautiful of its kind in all Iceland, and its name indeed translates to “The Golden Waterfall”. It is located in the Hvita glacier river in South Iceland and has a drop of 32 meters into a narrow river gorge. This waterfall is a dream come true for any serious nature photographer. You may even be close enough to feel its spray on your face.

After experiencing the “big three” of Icelandic natural attractions, you will again overnight at your hotel in Reykjavik.

Day 8

Transfer to Keflavik
On this, your very last day, you will join the FlyBus from your hotel towards Keflavik International Airport for the return flight to your country of stay, taking with you memories and photographs from an unforgettable adventure.
Workshop Outline
  • Concepts of Landscape Photography.
  • Visual Design and Composition.
  • Understanding and Working with Light
  • Long Exposure Methodology.
  • Working with Filters.
  • Star Trails + Scenic Astrophotography.
  • Basics of Timelapse.
  • Post Processing for Web and Prints.
  • and more...
  • March 1 – 8, 2016 Sold Out
  • March 18 – 25, 2016 Sold Out
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Total Price : 4200 US $ per person double occupancy .
Single room supplement: 650$
Registration deposit: 1000$
Maximum Number of Participants: 12
Payment in Full: 60 days prior to the workshop starting date.

After you signup, we’ll send you a recommended camera gear and packing list. Please pay special attention to things that we say are absolutely required.
  • Two Professional photo guides.
  • Transportation in a spacious, comfortable bus offering ample room for you and your photography gear.
  • Accommodation in hotels and guesthouses. Rooms with private bathrooms.
  • Full board during workshop, from dinner on day 1 til breakfast on day 8.
  • FlyBus tickets for transfer from and to Airport.
Not included
  • International flights
  • Alcohol, snacks and beverages

Cancellation and Refund Policy

If you cancel and the Workshop is otherwise filled, we will refund you the full amount you have paid towards the tuition, minus a $150 service charge. If you cancel and the Workshop does not fill, then you will be refunded according to the following schedule, based on the full fee of the Workshop:

Greater than 60 days from the start date of the Workshop: full refund minus $150 fee.
45 days: 75% refund
30 days: 50% refund
Less than 30 days: no refund

Refunds will be paid by the same method that the original payment was made.
Refunds will be initiated within 72 hours of the time that the request is approved.


The tour is always dependent on weather, as the Icelandic weather can indeed be highly unpredictable. Likewise, visits to ice caves are dependent on favorable conditions, and indeed the ice caves themselves are not permanent. When it comes to the Northern Lights, while they are most likely to be seen between September and April, there is no guarantee that they will appear on a given day. There is however always plenty to see and do if conditions do not favor any part of our original plan.

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