8 Day Northern Lights & Ice Cave Winter Photo Workshop in Iceland

8 Day Northern Lights & Ice Cave Winter Photo Workshop in Iceland
Ice caves in Iceland come in all different shades of blue, and create intricate ice sculptures.
The Northern Lights dance above Vestrahorn Mountain.
Snow covers the iconic mountain, Vestrahorn.
There can be no describing the beauty of Icelandic ice cave.
Vestrahorn mountain is one of the most iconic attractions found in the Eastfjords.
The Northern Lights appear above Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon.
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Join this eight-day winter experience in Iceland hunting for the incredible Northern lights, as well as visiting the country's major regions and attractions.

This is an excellent choice for visitors hoping to capture photographs of how stunning Iceland can be in winter, as well as those looking for a workshop led by award-winning photo guides.

Several locations in Iceland offer fantastic light conditions for Aurora hunting and photography, especially during the winter months when the darkness lingers for longer than usual. When the Northern Lights appear in the clear skies, we will watch and photograph them as they illuminate the Arctic landscapes below.

Aside from the splendour above, Iceland's true natural beauty is found below ground, hence why this Winter Photo Workshop features a trip to the ice caves of Vatnajokull. The ocean-blue ice crystals make for an incredible composition, and the light dancing off these glittering sculptures means this is a once in a lifetime opportunity for photographers.

Open to all skill levels, this winter photography tour, we will make several stops at the glacial lagoon of Jokulsarlon. Deep in Vatnajokull National Park, the lagoon has become a must-visit photography spot thanks to its ethereal ambience and tranquil atmosphere. Not only will we capture the moment that these enormous icebergs break free from the glacier, but we will also photograph their gentle cruise toward the Atlantic Ocean. 

We will also visit Iceland’s very own Diamond Beach, which sits on the bank of the lagoon and is littered with magnificent ice crystals. 

Don't hesitate to book this eight-day tour and you too will experience the magic and majesty of photographing the stunning Northern Lights during your trip to Iceland. 


Quick facts

Tour information:
  • Available: Nov. - Mar.
  • Duration: 8 days
  • Activities: Caving, Sight Seeing, Northern Lights, Photo Tours, Photo Workshop
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Minimum age: 18 years.
  • Languages: English
  • Highlights: Reykjavík, Seljalandsfoss, Skógafoss, Reynisdrangar, Vatnajökull National Park, Jökulsárlón, Diamond Beach, Vík, Skaftafell , Vestrahorn, Þingvellir National Park, Gullfoss, Geysir
Pickup information:
  • Departure time : Flexible.

We will email you the location of your hotel when booking is finished.
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 7

  • Alcohol, snacks and beverages

  • All lunches; Dinners from Day 2 to Day 6

  • 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 in Iceland


Reykjavík is the northernmost capital city in the world.


Day one begins with your arrival at Keflavík International Airport.  You will take a bus or taxi transfer to your hotel in Reykjavík, where you are free to unwind until 7 pm. 

At this point, you will meet your guides and group in the lobby, and head to an esteemed restaurant for a delicious dinner. Over the meal, you’ll get to know the people you’ll be spending the next week with and run through the itinerary of the adventure ahead. 

No doubt full, satisfied, and eager to get on with the photography workshop, you’ll retire to your hotel for the night.


Day 2 - The South Coast's Waterfalls & Black Sand Beaches 


Reynisfjara black sand beach is one of Iceland's most famous features.


On your second day, the adventure truly begins. You’ll gather in a specialised, comfortable bus, and set off on your journey along the South Coast. 

This stretch is one of Iceland’s most popular tourist routes, and just why will become apparent very quickly; the main road is lined with fascinating features, great for sightseeing but even better for photography.

Your first subjects will be two of the country’s most famous attractions, the waterfalls Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss. The former stands at 63 meters tall and falls in a narrow cascade in front of a cavern; if the path is clear, you will be able to walk behind it and photograph the water from a unique angle. 

Skógafoss has no cavern behind it (outside of legend, where there is said to be a trove of hidden treasure), but is much more dramatic than Seljalandsfoss. Though the same height, it is broader and more powerful, thundering to the earth and creating an enormous plume of mist. 

If the sun is shining, rainbows arch throughout the mist, allowing you to practice working with unusual lighting phenomena; this will come in handy for your northern lights photography throughout the tour. 

After capturing these waterfalls, you will continue along the South Coast to the black-sand-beach Reynisfjara for your sunset shoot. This magical stretch of coastline was once voted amongst the most beautiful non-tropical beaches in the world, and your photographs will tell the story as to why.

The main subjects from Reynisfjara beach are the Reynisdrangar sea-stacks. These two basalt columns rise from the tumultuous ocean, 66 meters tall at the highest point, and are, according to folklore, the petrified remains of two trolls caught in the morning sun trying to pull a ship into shore. 

You will spend your second night at accommodation in the nearby, charming village of Vík.


Day 3 - Vatnajokull National Park & Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon 


There can be no beating the dazzling ambience of a glacier lagoon in Iceland.


On day three, you will continue along the South Coast until you reach Vatnajökull National Park, a vast area that contains many of Iceland’s greatest subjects for photography. You’ll spend several days in this diverse region.

You can expect a range of subjects throughout the first part of this day, including lava landscapes, glacier tongues, waterfalls and desert-like stretches of black sands. The second part of the day will be focused on one location in particular, however: the mesmerising Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon.

Jökulsárlón is often spoken of as ‘the crown jewel of Iceland’s nature’, due to its unreal beauty. Here, vividly blue icebergs break from the retreating glacier tongue Breiðamerkurjökull, some towering high above the water, and slowly cruise across the lake towards the ocean. Each one is unique and makes for a fascinating subject.

Other than capturing the icebergs and surrounding landscapes, you can use your time at Jökulsárlón to practice wildlife photography. Many seals call the lagoon home, and can be captured either swimming in the azure water or else hauling out on the ice.

Adjacent to Jökulsárlón is Diamond Beach, named as such for the fact the icebergs, when they finally free themselves from the lagoon, tend to wash up on the black sands here. Photographing the contrasts between the ice, sands, and surf will result in some beautiful images.

You will retire for the night in the Jökulsárlón area, but will hopefully be able to enjoy a northern lights photography session over the lagoon or beach, conditions allowing. If not, do not worry, as there will be more opportunities to do so over the next two days.


Day 4 - Sunrise at Jokulsarlon & Ice Cave Photography 


Diamond Beach is a fantastic place to photograph ice bergs.


Your sunrise shoot on day four will be conducted back at Jökulsárlón; this beautiful area changes under different lighting conditions, so you’ll be able to capture some unique images while working on your landscape photography. You will also head back to the Diamond Beach for another shoot here.

Your main focus for the day, however, will be ice cave photography. Ice caves are only accessible from very few places in the world, and even then only at certain times of the year under specific conditions. The chance to explore one is an incredible, rare opportunity, and the chance to shoot within one with expert photo guides even more so.

The ice cave you will explore is found beneath Europe’s largest ice cap, Vatnajökull glacier. The otherworldly blues, deep tunnels and unusual formations within the cave will help make for some awe-inspiring photographs, no doubt which tell the story of the wonders to be found here.

You’ll spend another night in the Jökulsárlón area, with the hopes that you will get a chance to practice your northern lights photography.


Day 5 - Vestrahorn Mountain 


Vestrahorn, undoubtedly one of the most dramatic mountains in Iceland.


On day five of this winter photography expedition, you’ll have a sunrise shoot at the Diamond Beach. Following that, you will head even further east along Iceland’s South Coast, out of Vatnajökull National Park, to Vestrahorn mountain on the Stokksnes Peninsula.

This feature is often called ‘the Batman mountain’ due to its ‘horned’ twin peaks, and it is a favourite subject amongst landscape photographers.

The dramatic, imposing mountain is surrounded by dark black sands, allowing you to take pictures that reveal the stark, barren and often haunting nature of Iceland’s landscapes. There are several angles you can picture it from which may also include the churning Atlantic Ocean.

You will stay here throughout the sunset when Vestrahorn becomes shadowy and even more atmospheric. As night falls, you can hope once more to capture the northern lights, this time with the mountain as your foreground.

After a day of shooting at Vestrahorn, you’ll return to your accommodation. If the auroras are dancing when you return, you’ll visit Jökulsárlón to capture them.


Day 6 - Skaftafell Nature Reserve and Vik Village


The Northern Lights over Reynisfjara black sand beach.


On your sixth day, you will visit the spectacular Skaftafell Nature Reserve. This area is so beautiful that it was once a National Park in its own right... that is before the newly formed Vatnajökull National Park absorbed it.

You will spend the majority of the day shooting its many sites, continuing to practice your landscape photography; by this time in the tour, you will no doubt notice a marked improvement in your skills. Your subjects will include glacier tongues and lagoons, mountains, ice caps, forests, river systems and waterfalls.

After capturing the magic of this beautiful reserve, you will head back to the South Coast, returning to Reynisfjara beach for another sunset shoot. If the Northern Lights did not show the first time you were here, you could hope they will tonight. You’ll retire at accommodation in Vík.


Day 7 - The Golden Circle & Back To Reykjavik


Haukadalur Valley can be found along the Golden Circle sightseeing route.


Day seven is your final full day of photography, and you will spend it shooting three of Iceland’s most famous sites: Þingvellir National Park, the Geysir Geothermal Area, and Gullfoss waterfall, all found the on Golden Circle Route.

Þingvellir is the only UNESCO World Heritage Site on the Icelandic mainland and is where the early residents formed their first parliament in 930 AD. While the history of this place is inspiring, it is the landscapes that you are likely to find most captivating.

Located in a valley between the tectonic plates, you can shoot the walls that mark the edges of the continents, the lava fields that fill the area from eruptions in centuries past, and the many ravines filled with crystal clear spring water, opened by earthquakes in the area. Iceland’s largest natural lake, Þingvallavatn, also makes for a beautiful subject with its surrounding mountains.

The Geysir geothermal area is the best location on this workshop to photograph Iceland’s seething geothermal activity. The area is dotted with many fumaroles, hot springs and mud-pots, the earth is vividly colored by the elements rising from the crust, and there are mighty geysers on site. You will have plenty of chances to shoot Strokkur, which erupts every five to ten minutes to heights which exceed twenty meters.

Your final subject will be one of Iceland’s most recognisable and renowned sites: Gullfoss waterfall. This incredible feature, the name of which translates to the ‘Golden Waterfall’, is immensely powerful, thundering in two tiers into a dramatic, ancient canyon. There are several platforms from which you can capture it.

In winter, the rocks around Gullfoss are caked in ice, and snow covers the surrounding landscapes. In cloudy weather, therefore, your photographs will tell the story of the waterfall’s ominous strength. When the sun is shining, and rainbows are cutting through the waterfall's spray, they will depict how much of a winter wonderland Iceland can be. 

With any luck, you will finish your shoot with the northern lights overhead. You will then return to Reykjavík for your final night.


Day 8 - Transfer to Keflavik Airport


The aurora dance over Gullfoss waterfall.


Sadly, the tour ends on day eight. By this time, however, your album should be packed with fantastic new contributions. 

When it is time to return to the airport, the bittersweet feeling of departing will hopefully be outweighed by the pride taken in your developed skills, as well as a gratefulness for the chance to participate in northern lights and ice cave photography. 

Until next time, we hope you've had a brilliant time in the land of ice and fire. 


Dates and Guides

1-8 Nov 2019 - Guided by Mads Iversen and Oli
10-17 Nov 2019 - Guided by Mads Iversen and Oli
19-26 Nov 2019 - Guided by Mads Iversen and Oli
7-14 Dec 2019 - Guided by Raymond Hoffmann and Oli
16-23 Dec 2019 - Guided by Siggi The Viking and Oli
14-21 Jan 2020 - Guided by Brynjar Ágústsson and Oli
1-8 Feb 2020 - Guided by Siggi The Viking and Oli
8-15 Feb 2020 - Guided by Siggi The Viking and Oli
28 Feb - 6 Mar 2020 - Guided by Raymond Hoffmann and Oli
9-16 Mar 2020 - Guided by Raymond Hoffmann and Oli


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.


Video


Photo Guides

Raymond Hoffmann

Raymond is an award-winning photographer with a worldwide reputation. Known for his magnificent landscape photos, his career took off in 2011, when he was voted as ‘Best Nature Photographer’ by one of Europe’s largest online photo...

Mads Peter Iversen

A teacher of education with a master degree in educational philosophy. Mads is specializing in fine art landscape photography and video editing but works with other genres of photography too. He started out as a photographer in 2011 and...

Brynjar Ágústsson

Being out in nature with a camera and a tripod can be like a form of meditation – a soothing, peaceful experience that has the potential to lift you out of this world. For Brynjar Ágústsson, a native Icelandic professional landscape...

Óli Haukur

Oli is a native Icelander, family man, professional photographer and a guide. Born in 1972, Oli grew up in Reykjavik and his enthusiasm for photography was obvious early on. Oli took a keen interest in computer technology and laid the...

Siggi the Viking

Siggi was born in Iceland and has spent most of his photography career in this paradise.During his time as a photographer, he early on found that his passion lies with photographing the beautiful landscapes and nightscapes of Iceland....


Firsthand reviews

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In February, I experienced Iceland through my camera lens while on a photography excursion with Iceland Photo Tours. In eight days, I learned bold, new photography techniques such as wave painting, long exposure and the use of graduated neutral density filters while immersing myself in Icelandic culture and the natural wonder of the country’s winterscapes, volcanic beaches, icebergs, glaciers, and northern lights. Our amazing instructors took care of every detail including transportation, accommodations, meals, plus they constantly monitored the weather and adjusted our schedule accordingly. They were knowledgeable and passionate about photography, photography equipment and about Iceland and provided guidance and suggestions that helped me capture some of the most stunning photographs in my portfolio. I returned with a wealth of information and ideas that I can use every day to photograph the world around me. If you are looking for ordinary hop-on-the-bus-and-stop-to-photograph-a statue instruction, then this workshop is not for you. But if you want to expand your worldview and your understanding of light, composition, visualization, creativity, and overall photography technique, then I highly recommend it. I cannot wait to travel with Iceland Photo Tours again.
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My wife and I just got back from the most incredible photo tour ever. Our guides spent seven days showing us the best spots in Iceland for winter photography. They were knowledgeable and helpful, and were patient with photographers of all skill levels. They know all the best spots for great landscape images, and got us there at the best time of the day for each shot. The itinerary was flexible to make the most of conditions. That is one of the advantages of small group size. Our group of 10 got along great and pushed each other to make inventive and original images. We all shared tips and enthusiasm. What a great way to do photography! Iceland Photo Tours is the best company for adventure photo travel in Iceland. They use great accommodations and meals, and even though we were in Iceland in deep winter, we were comfortable and well-taken-care of. Folks at home just won’t quit talking about the world-class images we brought home. We wouldn’t hesitate to plan another adventure photo tour with this company.
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I run a photography business in London and in April we took a group of 10 photographers to Iceland with Iceland Photo Tours. Having very little knowledge of Iceland, we were looking for an experienced photographer with local knowledge that would get us to the best locations. We also wanted someone on hand to help our group with the technical aspects of photography. Our guides delivered on all aspects and also proved to be an excellent tour host. His local knowledge meant that he got us to the locations when the light was best for shooting. We came away with the most amazing photos. Our guides dealt with all the hotel and restaurant bookings which meant we could relax and enjoy our time in Iceland and leave all the hard work to someone we knew we could trust. We rode in a very comfortable bus with plenty of room for us and all our somewhat extensive photography kit. Our guides knowledge of Iceland, photography and light made our experience there unforgettable. Thanks Iceland Photo Tours, I can’t tell you how special you helped to make our time there. I highly recommend anyone wanting an unbeatable experience to take a journey with Iceland Photo Tours.
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I absolutely loved the tour – the accommodations were excellent and as close as possible to the attractions, the sites included a fantastic mix of iconic locations like the Jokulsarlon lagoon and off the beaten path ones like Vestrahorn and the schedule was flexible to allow us to make the best of the challenging Icelandic weather and the unexpected historic aurora display on March 17. Additionally, the lectures and field advice I got from the guides in those few days helped my photography skills more than months of learning on my own could have done. I’ll definitely be stalking Iceland Photo Tours for photography adventures!
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We loved our Northern Lights and Ice Cave Photo Workshop in Iceland. We expected an adventure and we got that and more. In spite of the weather we managed to visit some incredible sites, on the Island, and photograph them.The Ice Cave was awesome, unbelievable beautiful.The Geyser shot up five stories high in seconds. It came so quick it was a challenge to photograph it, but worth the effort.The Ice Glaziers were remarkable. We have never seen one before and seeing them floating and photographing them up close was worth the trip. They were on the beach with the black volcanic sand and made unique and awesome photos. The incoming waves also made gorgeous photos as the waves receded against the black volcanic sand. The Aurora Borealis managed only a two minute showing and disappeared before we could get set up. Having two professionals educate us on the fine points of photography was very helpful. They both knew the setups and features for every type of camera we had. The training classes and critiques of our photos was very helpful.The food was great. The accommodations were good. The bus was outstanding. It had lots of room, two seats per person one to sit in the other for your equipment.
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I just completed the winter photo workshop in Iceland with Iceland Photo Tours. What a fantastic experience! Even though the weather did not always cooperate, our guides took every opportunity to maximize the workshop as a learning experience by including extremely valuable classroom sessions that featured many tips and tricks for creating and processing spectacular photographs. When our group with shooting, our guides were not; instead, they were working with all student participants on a one-on-one basis teaching us to optimize camera angles, composition and exposure, as well as how to overcome challenging light and weather conditions. The accommodations and the food were first rate, and I learned as much about Icelandic culture as I did the rugged beauty of its scenic landscape. Thank you!
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I have known for many years that I wanted to visit Iceland but it was your images and the opportunity to travel and learn with your tour and group that moved me to sign up and I could not be happier that I did. There were several factors that guided me to commit to your trip including access to some of the most beautiful places; ability to meet and share the experience with the other folks from around the world who joined us; opportunity to learn from you and the team on the trip photographically and from an adventure travel stand point. We experienced more than our share of good luck with the extraordinary Northern Lights display in Hali and good conditions in many other spots given the forecasts. The organization and accommodations were great and the camaraderie with the group made it an even better experience. I would recommend this tour to anyone who is photographically serious about experiencing the beauty of this “off the charts” beautiful place.
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Joining this winter tour of Iceland has allowed me to improve my landscape photographic skills in a stunning and challenging environment. The tour was managed in a very professional manner. I would highly recommend this tour to anyone who is looking for an adventure and want to take their photography landscape skills to the next level. Highlight of the tour was the ice cave and the ice beach.
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We went on 2 photo tours with Iceland Photo Tours at the beginning of December and had a magical time. They knew exactly where to take us. We had a great guide and amazing photographer too. We went to places we would never have found without them and with their super car, we felt very safe driving along the snowy roads and they were more than happy to explain what all the random buildings and things were that we were pointing out as well as telling us about life in Iceland and the customs and history. Iceland photo tours were very good at advising us of the best places to visit and were super friendly, they helped me so much along the way by responding to my emails of endless questions really quickly. I would highly recommend them and will be looking forward to my next trip to Iceland and adventures with them.
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I just wanted to let you know that we had a fabulous time on your Photo Workshop in Iceland! You gave us such amazing opportunities to see the spectacular landscape of Iceland, and even better – you taught us so much in order to compose and take a multitude of remarkable photos of our experience. We learned photo skills that have improved our photography by leaps and bounds! Your tour was well paced – we were busy the entire time and really felt that you maximized the time to see and photograph so many varied locations. With your co-guide Jonathan, we got excellent instruction and received the benefit of two different styles to further broaden our experience. The charming accommodations and entertaining bus driver Siggy were icing on the cake! Overall, I would say your Photo Workshop was AMAZING!! Thank you!
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