11 Day Northern Lights Photo Workshop around Iceland

11 Day Northern Lights Photo Workshop around Iceland
11 Day Northern Lights Photo Workshop around Iceland
Goðafoss in the wintertime morphs into an icy beast.
11 Day Northern Lights Photo Workshop around Iceland
The nothing like seeing the Northern Lights everywhere you look.
Jagged mountain top and winding roads are very common in the wild and remote Eastfjords.
There are not many better places to see the Northern Lights than at Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon.
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Capture unbelievable natural phenomena such as the Northern Lights and ice caves on this eleven-day Winter in Iceland photography workshop. This tour will take you around the country's Ring Road, exposing you to spectacular landscapes and features, all the while radically improving your shooting skills.

Few wonders will be missed over the eleven days. You will get to see the unbelievable Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon, the diverse Lake Mývatn region, the remote East Fjords, as well as a wealth of glaciers, volcanoes, hot-spring areas and waterfalls.

This tour is conducted by experienced, esteemed photo-guides, who know all of the iconic shooting locations as well as many lesser-known spots where you can capture unique images of the Icelandic nature far from any crowds. They are also experts in locating and shooting the aurora borealis.

Regardless of whether you are an amateur photographer merely seeking to improve your skills, or a professional photographer aspiring to greatness, this tour will be of immeasurable value, both in what you shall learn and in how much your portfolio will expand.

Do not miss your chance to photograph the crystal blue ice caves and dancing northern lights of Iceland, amongst many other sites. Check availability by choosing a date.


Quick facts

Tour information:
  • Available: January
  • Duration: 11 days
  • Activities: Sight Seeing, Northern Lights, Photo Tours, Photo Workshop
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Minimum age: 18 years.
  • Languages: English
  • Attractions: Reykjavík, Seljalandsfoss, Skógafoss, Reynisdrangar, Vatnajökull National Park, Vík, Vestrahorn
Pickup information:
  • Departure time : Flexible.

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.
Included:
  • Professional Photo Guide

  • Transportation in a comfortable vehicle.

  • Accommodation in hotels and guesthouses. Rooms with private bathrooms.

  • All breakfasts; Group dinner on day 1 and day 10.

  • Alcohol, snacks and beverages

  • All Lunches; Dinners from day 2 to 9

  • Flight tickets


What to bring:
  • After you sign up, we'll send you a recommended camera gear and packing list


Why book with us?

- We are a local tour operator and travel agency authorised by the tourism board of Iceland.

- We offer small group tours with a maximum group size of 10-12. This way, you’ll get to know your photography guide and we can take you to shoot in unique places that aren’t suitable for larger groups

- All our guests get a free collection of post-processing videos from our award-winning photographers worth over $1,500

- On our tours we use comfortable vehicles to safely transport you to amazing locations.

- We are using only the best hotels available in Iceland.

- Our photo tours and workshops are guided by award-winning professional landscape photographers.

- We provide crampons and rubber boots for free to all our guests throughout the tour.

- During the tour, we give highly informative and easy-to-follow photography and post-processing lectures.

- Our photo guides will always help you in the field to make sure you will bring home stunning photos of Iceland.



Daily itinerary

Day 1 - Arrival


Harpa Concert Hall in the Reykjavík's city centre is well worth a visit when one comes to Reykjavík.


You will arrive at Keflavík International Airport on day one and take the fly bus or taxi to deliver you to your hotel in Reykjavík. Once here, you may want to relax until the evening, or else drop off your possessions and use the opportunity to explore the quirky, vibrant capital city.

When the evening swings around, however, you will return to your hotel lobby to meet your guides and group, before setting off for dinner. You will get to know each other and your plans for the next eleven days over a delicious meal, before retiring for the night.


Day 2 - Vik i Myrdal


According to legend, the Reynisdrangar seastacks are meant to be greedy trolls petrified by the sunlight.


On day two, you will set out to your first shooting locations, which line the famous South Coast. Many of these you may recognise from images of Iceland you have seen before arrival, as their beauty is known around the world.

First, you will visit Seljalandsfoss waterfall. This narrow, 60-metre tall cascade tumbles from a concave cliff, meaning there is a vast open space behind it, allowing for some unique perspectives. Next up, Skógafoss is much more classic in its shape, but a similar height and much more powerful. If the sun hits this natural attraction you can expect to see a rainbow or two.

With these waterfalls shot from every available angle, you will head to the black sand beach, Reynisfjara for your sunset shoot, and hopefully your first opportunity to photograph the Northern Lights.

Reynisfjara is a haunting, beautiful place of dramatic contrasts; the dark sands make the crashing, violent waves of the North Atlantic gleam, and the colours of the sunset rarely disappoint. Your main subjects in the area, however, are sites of geological interest. Standing tall from the waters, you will be able to shoot the Reynisdrangar sea stacks, ominous structures said to be trolls petrified in the light of the rising sun.

Nearby, you will find the Dyrhólaey rock-arch and cliffs, the scale of which is mesmerising. Up close, you will find no shortage of subjects, as there are features such as hexagonal basalt columns waiting to be photographed.

After enjoying and capturing these sites, hopefully beneath the Northern Lights, you will retire for the night in the scenic village of Vík.


Day 3 - Vatnajokull National Park


Hundreds of icebergs litter Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon.


On your third day, you will cross the rest of the South Coast to reach three incredible shooting destinations in the country’s beautiful south-east.

The first of these is Skaftafell Nature Reserve, considered so beautiful and important to the country’s heritage that it was once its own National Park before the greater Vatnajökull National Park enveloped it. Here, you can find a concentration of the features that make Iceland so internationally famous: glacier tongues and lagoons, mountains and volcanoes, lava-fields and forests, waterfalls and river systems. For several hours, you will work on capturing them all.

Following that, you will continue to the Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon. This spectacular lake is filled with great icebergs, some taller than houses, which slowly swirl through the waters before reaching the ocean. They will not be your only subjects, however; wildlife photographers will rejoice at how many seals call the lagoon home.

For your sunset shoot, you will reach the adjacent Diamond Beach, where the icebergs wash up on the shore. The contrasts between the blue ice, black sands, and white surf make for some great compositions, particularly beneath a colourful sunset or dancing aurora borealis.

You will spend the night in the Jökulsárlón area.


Day 4 - Ice Cave


A visit to a mesmerising blue ice cave is something that will stay with you for a lifetime


On day four, you will visit a site that will no doubt stay with you for life: a crystal blue ice cave. These caves, under Vatnajökull glacier, are safely accessible for just a few months of the year, and even then only under special circumstances, so the opportunity to enter one is extraordinary. To enter one with a professional, helpful photoguide, however, makes the experience truly once in a lifetime.

After capturing the colouration, scale, and textures within the ice cave, you will continue shooting the sites of the south-east. Which you head to will depend on the conditions, but you will have all day in the area tomorrow to catch those you missed.

You may, for example, head to one of Iceland’s few gabbro mountains, Vestrahorn, sometimes nicknamed ‘the Batman Mountain’ in honour of its two, jagged peaks. This feature is barren, dark and haunting, particularly when captured with the churning surrounding ocean and ominous black sands.

You may also head to a lesser-known glacier lagoon, Fjallsárlón, where you can more easily see the glacier tongue feeding into it, and are less likely to have many tourists blocking your shots.

You are likely to finish your day, however, back at Jökulsárlón and the Diamond Beach, in the hope of capturing the Northern Lights dancing above them.


Day 5 - Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon & Vestrahorn Mountain


Mount Vestrahorn stands tall over the Stokksnes peninsula and it is particularly charming when covered in snow.


Your fifth day will be spent better photographing any areas in the south-east that you may have neglected over the past few days, or that will be looking different under different lighting or weather conditions. These included Skaftafell, Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon, Fjallsárlón lagoon, the Diamond Beach and Mount Vestrahorn.

Your photoguides will also use the opportunities this day to take you to lesser-known spots around Vatnajökull National Park, where you can take excellent panoramas of the south-east wrapped in its winter colours, and of Vatnajökull itself, Europe’s largest glacier.

You will spend a final night in the south-east, but not before hunting for the auroras once more.


Day 6 - Eastfjords


If you're lucky, you might spot some wild reindeer during your time in the Eastfjords.


On your sixth day, you will head through the little-travelled Eastfjords. This region is remote even in summer, yet in winter, you are unlikely to encounter even a single crowd at your shooting destinations.

These destinations will be as diverse as the fjords themselves. There are beautiful seascapes to be captured; enormous, dramatic mountains; views of Vatnajökull glacier; and sleepy, idyllic fishing villages that are steeped in hundreds of years of history. Wildlife photographers should keep their eyes both on the coast and inland, as seals and reindeer are both common sights in this region at this time of year.

You will make many stops as you wind up and down the fjords, travelling north. Eventually, you will reach your destination for the day, the largest settlement in East Iceland, Egilsstaðir.

If the aurora forecast seems promising, you will head out to try and shoot them, over the lake Lagarfljót or from Iceland’s largest forest, Hallormsstaðaskógur. If you stop at the former, keep your eyes on the surface of the water; sightings of the Lagarfljót wyrm, a legendary serpent records of which date back to the 13th Century, are not unheard of.


Day 7 - Dettifoss Waterfall


Europe's most powerful waterfall, Dettifoss, in the winter.


You will head to Iceland’s North on day seven, to the great Lake Mývatn area. En route, however, there are many spectacular sites to stop at and photograph. One of these is Dettifoss, Europe’s most powerful waterfall, where you can attempt to capture the sheer force of the furious waters.

Nearby to Dettifoss, you can find two other waterfalls within the same canyon and river, which if not as large, are similarly impressive: Selfoss and Hafragilsfoss.

You will reach Mývatn in time for your sunset shoot. There is a wealth of places to visit and capture while you are here, but thankfully, you will have the next two days to seek them out. For now, you will simply find the area that looks best in the evening conditions, where you will have the best shot of capturing the aurora.


Day 8 - Myvatn Region


Goðafoss waterfall takes on the appearance a gnarled frozen monster in the wintertime.


Day eight will be better spent exploring and shooting the Lake Mývatn region. The lake itself warrants some time, due to its serenity and bizarre geology; basalt stacks rise tall from the water, and it is one of the few places in the world you can find the unusual moss-balls. It is but one feature in the area, however.

Game of Thrones fans will find delight at photographing many of their favourite shooting locations. Mance Rayder’s Wildling Camp, for example, is shot at the ‘lava fortress’ of Dimmuborgir, a place where the rock formations are so large they look like they were built as a defensive fort.

In the Lake Mývatn area, you will also be able to photograph the seething geothermal areas at Mount Námaskarð, and see more examples of Iceland’s volcanism across many of the lava landscapes, pseudocraters and dormant peaks.

Mývatn is an incredible place to witness Iceland in winter for its sheer diversity. Being far north, with longer nights than the rest of the country, it is also an ideal place for shooting the northern lights.


Day 9 - Godafoss Waterfall


Adleyarfoss waterfall is not far from Goðafoss waterfall and it is known for its fascinating geology.


On your ninth day, you will better explore other regions of North Iceland. The northern fjords are incredible, the towns and villages incredibly picturesque. The mountains of the Tröllskagi Peninsula are some of the most beautiful and dramatic in the country, while the waters of Eyjafjörður are wide and scenic.

On this day, you will also get to visit the rest of the waterfalls on the Diamond Circle route, namely Goðafoss and Aldeyjarfoss.

The former is as fascinating historically as it is scenically beautiful; it was here that Iceland marked its departure from the old Norse religion for Christianity when the Lawspeaker of the time tossed his idols of the old gods into the raging waters. The latter is surrounded by fascinating geology, and by far at its most beautiful when surrounded by snow and caked in ice.

You will retire to Mývatn for a sunset shoot.


Day 10 - Back to Reykjavík


The rock formation Hvítserkur makes for an interesting and dynamic photo subject.


Sadly, day ten is your final full day of this winter in Iceland photography workshop. Still, however, you will have a wealth of new sites to photograph.

The day will mainly consist of driving, completing the full circle of the ring-road as you make your way back to Reykjavík, but your stops will be numerous. You will, for example, locate the bizarre rock formation of Hvítserkur, which stands tall from shallow waters off the coast, and looks like an elephant, troll or dinosaur, depending on the angle from which you capture it.

You will also drive through plenty of farmland and be able to get some shots of the beautiful Icelandic horse; these photogenic creatures are very friendly, often approaching those who come to see them, and their playfulness and curiosity can be captured as they interact with one another. Icelandic horses are also particularly sturdy animals and are unbothered by the winter weather.

As you reach West Iceland, if there is still enough light, you will see sites such as the neighbouring waterfalls Hraunfossar, serene, wide and gentle, and Barnafoss, raging and violent. Nearby is the highest-flowing hot spring in Europe, Deildartunguhver, and the historic towns of Reykholt and Borgarnes.

You’ll reach Reykjavík at night, and have a final meal with your guides and group. No doubt, by this point, you will all be good friends with a wealth of new skills learnt together, and can reveal to each other your brand new portfolios.


Day 11 - Departure


In the wintertime, the pond, Tjörninn freezes over completely and some locals like to go skating on it.


Day eleven is your departure day where  you can either take the fly bus or taxi to Keflavík airport for your journey home. If you have some time before you go, however, you can use your newly developed skills to get some urban landscape shots of Reykjavík, completing your new and extensive portfolio of Iceland in winter.


Dates and Guides

12-22 Jan 2020 - Guided by Mads Iversen And Siggi The Viking


Disclaimer

We highly recommend that you get a travel and medical insurance. Your own domestic medical insurance and private health scheme will not cover you whilst you are overseas.

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.


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 $300 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 $300 fee.
45 days or more: 75% refund
30 days or more: 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.


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Firsthand reviews

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Naturally, I had high expectations thanks to the surreal pictures on their website of “photos taken during our aurora and photography tours”. I was skeptical but now … thanks to our guides… I have the photos to prove it! Serious nature photography was never my strong suit – a combination of too much heavy equipment to lug and lack of patience from my fellow travelers were probably to blame. So our guides did a great job – not only herding us all from one place to the next (patiently explaining all that “tech stuff”), but also dealing with our repeat questions and multiple demands; all whilst negotiating unpredictable weather and the illusive aurora. Anyway, despite the fact that this was the “n-th” time they had seen these sights, their enthusiasm for photography and nature shone through. It doesn’t matter if you are not a professional photographer or don’t have all the equipment on the list – I didn’t. The tour was fun and interesting plus I learned a lot. Perhaps most importantly, our guides kept us on point – making sure that we were not so involved in taking the perfect photo that we missed the big picture. Go, it’s worth it!
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I had the pleasure of traveling to Iceland in January for a photo tour with eleven like-minded photographers. We had selected Iceland Photo Tours as our guide and mentor, since others in our group had seen their work during another photo tour. They managed the details of the trip to perfection. Lodging and meals were great! Finding locations with the right timing and right lenses can be challenging during an Iceland winter…we dealt with high winds, sleet, snow and mostly cloudy days. There were always subjects for us to work with hints on how to improve shots, even in such conditions. Plenty of good humor also helped us forget the conditions. On our sunny day, we were rewarded with ice cave photos that even our guides posted in their portfolios. Our guides worked closely with many of our group and provided very educational evening talks and demonstrations on composition and post-processing skills. We all benefited greatly from his personable presence. You will be rewarded on workshops with Iceland Photo Tours.
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We are happy to have joined Iceland Photo Tours for our first visit to Iceland. The weather in Iceland can be challenging at times with high winds, rain or snow. Despite the conditions, we were able to capture South Iceland’s raw beauty – amazing ice cave, mystical aurora, dramatic black sand beaches, ice covered waterfalls, expansive glaciers, beautiful sunrise and sunsets, gentle Icelandic horses and of course many stunning landscapes. Our guide satisfied our appetite to photograph by getting us to the right places at the right times. While doing that he kept us safe, comfortable and well fed, and took care of our special needs. We are eager for our next trip when our guide can show us more and different locations.
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Our guides provided me with a lifetime of fantastic memories during the recent winter photo workshop I attended in Iceland. Furthermore, the expert photography technique guidance, post processing secret hints and tips were simply outstanding, both in the field and in the lectures we received. On a personal level, our guides both are professional but yet very personable, funny, polite, kind and were extremely helpful on countless occasions. Our group dynamic was amazing, given the many different backgrounds, photography skill levels and cultures. Our guides managed every aspect of this trip with great skill and with our success for great images as the driving factor. Our driver and bus were excellent, navigating bad weather with skill and even cleaning all of the bus windows during one fuel stop. Although I have no prior experience with photo workshops, I cannot imagine that I could “top” this one, and will without hesitation attend another workshop with Iceland Photo Tours in the future.
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The Winter Photography Workshop was awesome. Our guide really knows all the great spots and what we are looking for. He is always careful with safety and weather conditions. The hotel and guesthouses were all great, well located, comfortable, excellent food. It was my first trip to Iceland and I chose winter time because there were chances to see the Aurora Borealis. And we did see the Aurora Borealis several times during our workshop.
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I had the pleasure of attending the winter workshop with Iceland Photo Tours. The workshop was excellent, exceeded my initial expectations and it was definitely a week that will never be forgotten. Our guide was very professional and a modest person and I admire his relentless pursuit of the group satisfaction. Even after being able to successfully see the auroras he kept on trying to go out to see them again on the next days (when meteorological conditions allowed) and we saw them, not once, not twice but in three different nights. He’s also very concerned about people safety and would not sacrifice it for the sake of a nice or funny shot. I felt prepared, even in the most adverse conditions on the field, thanks to the information provided by our guide prior to departure regarding clothing and equipment. I enjoyed Siggi, the bus driver, which is actually more like a co-guide with all his knowledge on history, architecture, culture and his unique humour. The editing session was adequate both for beginner and advanced users and I learned techniques that I developed right away. This is definitely a photo workshop, not a photo tour, and sometimes you even feel you’re in a unique expedition. I would do it all over again, and I’m pretty sure I will come back for another workshop with Iceland Photo Tours.
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Researching my first trip to Iceland, one name kept coming up, and for good reason. Iceland Photo Tours' stunning photos speaks volumes for both their passion and technical expertise, but it is their calm and generous nature that makes them such an asset as photographic teachers, mentors, and guides. Having learnt so much on my first trip I promptly booked a second. Instantly I was rewarded on my second day as I captured images of a lifetime flying over a newly erupted volcano (thanks you!), however, my other memory of the day is witnessing our guides as excited as a child at Christmas, as they captured images that were shared by news agencies around the world. Having an instructor that still has their fire and passion is paramount.
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I would just like to extend my appreciation to Iceland Photo Tours and of course the tour group for the great time in Iceland. Even if the weather did not cooperate in some locations, the guides made it the most out of the situation. They monitored everything possible to see how to best maximize the shoot. On top of that, transportation and lodging were very comfortable, the food was fantastic, and the company was great!
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While I don’t consider a photo safari as a leisure vacation, there’s still a minimum level of comfort that I’d like to have in terms of accommodation, food and transportation. And on all three aspects, I rate this photo safari very satisfactory. Accommodations were all more than adequate providing very nice, quiet, clean, cozy, warm respite from the frigid outdoors. And I especially like the fact that these accommodations were all located within short driving distance from locations that we were going to photograph at sunrise &/or sunset /night. Food was nice! We had an interesting variety of food from deluxe burgers & fries to fancy grilled fish dishes – my favorite Arctic Char! Our transportation was a van that had ample room for luggage as well as passengers. I liked that it wasn't cramped. It’s a big plus to have two very experienced landscape photographers leading a photo safari such as this. Their itinerary is tailored to get you to great locations at the best possible light and their schedules are flexible enough to allow for changes in Iceland’s famously unpredictable weather. Although this was not a workshop, both our guides were very helpful in making sure we came out of each location with good photos. They gave us tips and reminders during our actual shoots. One guide reviewed our shots and walked us through post processing some of our own photos. All in all a very satisfying learning experience so I highly recommend these photo safaris &/or workshops!
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I have worked with hundreds of guide and photographers over the years. Iceland Photo Tours sits at the top of the heap, for sure. As guides, they take pride in knowing exactly where to put your tripod, and at what time, to get the best shot of the amazing landscape. They are meticulous in their handling of details ahead of time, with hotels, food, transportation, all logistics – so that the photo tour or workshop you are on runs as smoothly as possible. I’ve had the pleasure of partnering with them over the past few years for our workshops in Iceland, and having been completely thrilled with everything in the past, I’m looking forward to many more photo workshops with Iceland Photo Tours in the future. Oh and let’s not forget that the guides are incredibly talented photographers, making imagery that is visually stunning on a daily basis.
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