Northern Lights photography holiday in Iceland, coast & ice

“A full-on workshop taking in the southeast and western regions of Iceland for a variety of landscapes - and with 9 nights, you'll increase your chance of aurora sightings.”

Highlights

Snæfellsnes Peninsula | Snæfellsjökull glacier | Kirkjufell Mountain | Fishing Villages | Lava fields | Sea arches and sea stacks | Volcanic craters and lakes | Skógafoss and Seljalandsfoss waterfalls | Vatnajökull glacier | Northern Lights | Ice caves (February and March) | Sunrise and sunset shoots

Description of Northern Lights photography holiday in Iceland, coast & ice

Highlights

• Snæfellsjökull glacier
• Iconic Kirkjufell mountain
• Coastal hotels
• Fishing villages
• Vast lava fields
• Ice Cave (February/March)
• Black sand beaches
• Sea arches and sea stacks
• Volcanic craters and lakes
• Abandoned turf farm
• Icelandic horses
• Skógafoss & Seljalandsfoss
• Vatnajökull Europe’s largest glacier
• Luminous icebergs floating in a surreal turquoise lagoon
• Bizarre glacial landscapes up close
• Country hotel close to the glacier lagoon
• Sunrises and sunsets in dramatic locations
• Sea washed ice on black volcanic sand
• Ephemeral Aurora Borealis (northern lights)

Introduction
Our Northern Lights, Coast and Ice workshop concentrates on three of the very best landscape areas of the South, South East and West Iceland. This itinerary kicks off on Iceland’s stunning Snæfellsnes Peninsula in West Iceland followed by a journey ending up in the glaciated wilderness of South-East Iceland close to the iconic Jökulsárlón. This ten day workshop is ideal for those photographers that want to spend a bit longer getting to know the essence and soul of Iceland. We will enjoy sunrise and sunset opportunities in well chosen spots and of course there will lots of opportunities to capture aurora borealis; the northern lights. The northern lights are a magical experience with or without a camera and Iceland is one of the world’s best locations to photograph the aurora borealis. It also has some of the most accessible wild coastal and ice landscapes in the world. It’s well worth considering that Wild Photography Holidays is run by people who live in Iceland and know their locations intimately.

General Summary
Here is a brief description of the three areas of Iceland that we visit during the workshop. All are very different and allow for great diversity in our participant’s images.

West Iceland
The Snæfellsnes Peninsula in West Iceland is thought by many to be one of the most beautiful places on the island. Considered one of the world’s most powerful energy spots, it is home to many artists, photographers and other creative people. The area is dominated by the remarkable snow-covered volcano Snæfellsjökull where Jules Verne sent his intrepid travellers on their ‘Journey to the Centre of the Earth’. The North Atlantic coast is never far away. Our hotel in Grundarfjörður is situated on the harbour front a stones throw from the impressive and much photographed Kirkjufell Mountain. In Hellnar we overlook the ocean from a cliff top perspective. Sea stacks, arches and black beaches provide unusual and dramatic locations for our photographs. We stay in a seafront hotel well positioned to access both north and south coasts of the peninsula.

South Iceland
Mýrdalur is the southernmost district of Iceland, bordered by the glacial river Jökulsá to the west and the river Blautakvísl to the east. Its northern border is Iceland's fourth largest glacier Mýrdalsjökull, . Approximately 600 metres below its ice lies the rumbling subglacial volcano Katla which last erupted in 1918. The coast around Vík and Dyrhólaey is famed for spectacular black volcanic beaches (or sandurs), wild seas and an atmospheric natural architecture of sea stacks and cliffs. We stay in a comfortable hotel close to Vik and all our locations.

Southeast Iceland
Here we find some of the most spectacular ice and glacial phenomena in Europe. There is dramatic mountain scenery in the Skaftafell National Park, black beaches festooned with sparkling sea washed ice, glacial lagoons including the famous Jökulsárlón, and magnificent views of Iceland’s highest mountain Hvannadalshnjúkur. The surreal arctic environment of the glacier lagoon was the location for films such as James Bond’s Die Another Day, ‘A View to a Kill’ ‘Lara Croft – Tomb Raider’. Other films shot in the area include ‘Game of Thrones’ ‘The Secret Life of Walter Mitty’, Christopher Nolan’s ‘Interstellar’ and ‘Batman Begins’. Our main base is just ten minutes drive from the Jökulsárlón.

Ice Photography in Brief
The Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon and its glacial surroundings are a dream location for photographers due to the sheer diversity of subjects. Large chunks of ice are constantly breaking off the glacier filling the lagoon with an ever changing landscape of unusually shaped floating icebergs of subtle colours. We will have plenty of time for long strolls along the shores of the lagoon allowing careful observation of the subtle changes in the icy landscape. The icebergs slowly make their way through the lagoon and out into the sea. Some of them are washed up onto the nearby black sand beach where they appear as sparkling sea-washed ice – here we can get up really close to the ice. The lagoon is well suited to abstract landscape photography, whilst the ice on the beach offers great potential for both intimate and big-sky landscapes.

Hello. If you'd like to chat about this holiday or need help finding one we're very happy to help. Rosy & team.

01273 823 700

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06 Feb 2018
£ 2950
excluding flights
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16 Feb 2018
£ 2950
excluding flights
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16 Mar 2018
£ 2950
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30 Sep 2018
£ 2950
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26 Oct 2018
£ 2950
excluding flights
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Our top tip:
Be sure your travel insurance covers the value of your camera and lenses for peace of mind when travelling.
Trip type:
Small group tour.
Activity level:
Moderate.
Accomm:
9 nights in comfortable hotels in coastal and rural settings.
Solos:
Solo travellers welcome, no single supplement.
Included:
Accommodation, transfers, transport inc. internal flight, all meals, photography tutor, listed activities.
Vouchers
Accepted

Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Northern Lights photography holiday in Iceland, coast & ice

Environment

We encourage you to travel responsibly and to consider the following guidelines:
- When out in wild places we encourage you to keep erosion to a minimum, keep to footpaths and avoid stepping on or picking native flora, Iceland is especially fragile environmentally and the country is currently embarking of many projects such as tree planting to reduce erosion.
- We encourage you to use water sparingly and to avoid buying plastic bottles of water; use your own metal or heavy-duty plastic bottle such as Nalgene to refill with water from a safe source as recommended. In Iceland water should never be bought from a shop as most water sources are exceptionally pure.
- River water could also be drinking water, do not contaminate water supplies by washing in it. Any washing products should be phosphate free.
- Respect local customs religion and traditions.
- Carry out some research about Iceland and being able to speak a few words of Icelandic is always appreciated.
- Don’t take photographs of local people and places of religious significance without permission.
- Keep promises! Send copies of photos to local people if this is what you have said you will do.
- Read the labels and buy local products such as food and souvenirs so that money directly benefits the community.
- Minimize pollution, and carry out all litter. Iceland has one of the lowest levels of environmental pollution in the world and it is good to keep it this way.

Wherever possible we work electronically, we are totally web based and our paper use is minimal. We work from a home based office reducing car travel to a minimum. Our preferred mode of getting around to locations is by foot thus reducing pollution, environmental noise and damage to what is often an especially delicate ecosystem.

We support the Environment Agency of Iceland through passing on information about its policy and encouraging people to join their volunteer scheme. Our company is currently setting up an itinerary for UK schools expeditions to visit Iceland to participate in the project.

We recommend that you visit our links page where you will find comprehensive information on travel, health, environmental concerns, preparing for your holiday, local cultures and how to support local projects.

Community

Iceland has been hit hard by their bankruptcy/crisis of October 2008. More than ever communities are having to return to their roots and rely on traditional ways of making a living. Tourism, fishing, farming and local crafts such as knitting are seen as a viable and sustainable way of helping to restore economic stability to the country and also giving a sense of dignity to Icelanders.

In particular communities away from the central hub of Reykjavik are relying on visitors to boost their economy. Since way before the current crisis we have been supporting these less visited areas and we are rewarded with a very personal service, quieter locations, fresher home-grown produce and insight into the lives and folklore of local people. Now it is cheaper for us to visit Iceland as we get an excellent exchange rate. We always ensure that participants on our holidays get the opportunity to see and purchase local products.

These local providers appreciate our on going commitment to their livelihoods.

All of our service suppliers are informed of our responsible travel policy which is clearly visible on our website Local food can be obtained easily in Iceland, for example fish, lamb, dairy products, vegetables grown in geo-thermally heated green houses. Each day we buy local produce for our picnic lunches to be eaten on location and our accommodations pride themselves in introducing us to local Icelandic fare for both breakfast and dinner.

On this South coast trip we always take time to visit and support the Skógar Folk Museum. The museum was founded in 1949 on the initiative of Þórður Tómasson born in 1921 at Vallnatún under the Vestur-Eyjafjöll mountains in south Iceland at an early age Þórður developed an interest in Icelandic culture and particularly its conservation, he still works daily in the museum. Now covering a large site the museum offers a rare insight into the cultural, architectural, agricultural and geographical development of Iceland. In the small shop attached to the museum participants are invited to purchase locally made handicrafts, jewellery, outdoor-clothing, woollen goods and books.
Both of our hotels in Snæfellsness are small and family run. In the Grundarfjörður hotel there is a very special emphasis upon involving the community in our activities. We often eat at a small fish soup 'shack' down on the beach in preference to the rather more up-market restaurant that is available: we know that the fish will be freshly caught that day by local fishermen.
Our main base in South East Iceland is still a working farm but has now been developed to include good standard accommodation and a restaurant whose mene includes mainly farm products such as lamb, yogurts, jams, fish and homemade bread.

12 Reviews of Northern Lights photography holiday in Iceland, coast & ice

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Reviewed on 15 Nov 2017 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


It was one of the best holidays that I've ever experienced. The itinerary was well structured and organised. The tutor and tour leader were humorous which added so much fun in the entire trip. Cubby was very accomodating and paid close attention to my photography needs well beyond my expectations. He even went online to search the manual of my camera to help me achieve better shots. Fran was very considerate and made everyone comfortable during the trip. Since all the meals were included, all of us get to sit together everyday and share many topics other than photography. At the end, we all become good friends. Dinner was excellent. All meals were coordinated well in time. The locations were timed properly with the weather to achieve the best results. Accomodations were clean and comfortable to stay.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Bring waterproof clothing and shoes. Expect long hours in lights rain and wind. Although I had brought couple of down jackets that supposed to be waterproof, but it turned out not waterproofing after couple of hours in the rain. I got cold with a wet down jacket. Snowshoes turned out not waterproofing on the beach, although it worked well with light snow. Thermal innerlayer is a must.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


yes

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


excellent, fantastic, amazing, will definately book with them again. This is my second trip booked through Responsible Travel. They are both excellent companies. I look forward to finding other adventures with equivalent quality to my previous experiences in Responsible Travel. In fact, I've already booked a 2nd trip with the tour operator to Norway next year.

Reviewed on 28 Oct 2017 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Seeing the Aurora Borealis and getting up close to a glacier!

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Be very flexible, as the weather and other conditions (tourists flooding a spot) can change the tour somewhat, but we always ended up in a great place for viewing and taking photos. Also, be sure to be prepared for all weather conditions - especially wind and rain!

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


We frequented only local restaurants and stores, and definitely were mindful to pack out what we brought in.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


The vacation was amazing. We learned so much about Iceland and got great tips for taking beautiful photos. We enjoyed the local culture and had beautiful accommodations without exception. The tour operators were wonderful people, and took great care of us. We wish the weather would have cooperated a bit better, but we were prepared for it, so it didn't prevent us from seeing anything. We would highly recommend the tour.

Reviewed on 03 Oct 2017 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


As it was a photographic holiday, the valuable tuition and the amazing places we were taken more than met expectations. The care taken by the leaders was very impressive.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


As we had lots of wind and rain, take appropriate gear.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Yes!

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Fantastic!

Reviewed on 30 Oct 2016 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


We saw endless landscapes with glaciers, icebergs, lagoons, waterfalls, black beaches, and mossy lava fields, The most exciting part is auroras.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


It rains a lot. If you don't like the weather, just wait for 5 mins. The most important thing is to bring your rain jacket, rain trousers and rain boots to keep you dry.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Yes

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


It was terrific. From start to end, Iceland Northern Lights, Coast and Ice workshop was impeccably researched, planned and executed with a rich, full and unique itinerary. Thanks to Paul and Dave .

Reviewed on 28 Oct 2016 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Early mornings...prowling black Icelandic beaches for ice chunks, glimmering like diamonds...following huge blue-hued icebergs in the lagoon as they shifted in the running waters...and an evening filled with floating, ghostly swirls of light, ethereal, the Northern Lights, Auroras slipping through the dark sky with tints of green or orange, and then revealing themselves in timed photos radiating green orange painted skies!

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Weather can be inclement...be flexible because with different kinds of weather you will see Iceland in different ways. Pack to stay dry. Bring your patience because individual photographers have their own way of taking photos; some remain planted to tripods, some roam. Each person will see the experience differently, so a willingness to go with the flow will make your trip more pleasant. Food will be exceptional...but will also involve the option to eat puffin, whale, and horse meat: I didn't. Fish rule.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


A tricky question because I believe that our group presence always attempted to be thoughtful about conservation and we supported preserving the gorgeous environment. For example, we did not walk on the moss-covered volcanic rock. We bought locally when we were on the road. What we observed, however, suggested that Iceland somehow needs to work on its tourism policy (now that I've come and gone) because it does not have the infrastructure to support the hundreds of thousands/millions of people now visiting this small blissful island.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Superb...it opened up a place to me that I only had an inkling about and revealed raw, spectacular other-worldly beauty. Humbling that such beauty still exists in the world...

Reviewed on 09 Mar 2016 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Where do I start - glaciers, ice caves, ice beach, lava fields and of course the aurora. All fantastic - Iceland is an amazing country with such raw beauty.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Take note of the very good and comprehensive list of clothing. You will need it all - its very cold and there are times when you are standing around with your tripod composing that perfect shot!

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Yes in that we stayed at local farms which had converted some parts to accommodation. Where ever possible the food was local.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Fantastic - the tutors were excellent, patient, helpful and very professional. I learnt a lot but realise that I still have a lot to learn

Reviewed on 11 Nov 2016 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Lots of memories from the holiday it is difficult to pick one out in particular same great destinations.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Quite a busy and enjoyable agenda, I would suggest you confirm what software you should have for editing pictures which was not clear from the information received!

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Yes we certainly stop at local hotels which were great.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Really good holiday which was throughly enjoyable.

Reviewed on 28 Apr 2014 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Everything!

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


If you are from tropical area and going to the upper heminsphere like Iceland, Scotland or Alaska, please be warned to prepare the real winter clothes to protect yourself not only just the cold weather but also the wind. I thought that I brought enough, but I forgot about the wind. Next time I will bring more windproof jackets and pants.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


It commercially benefits local people, but I am not sure about it on environmental aspect and conservation. I tried my best not to ruin any nature, but, as you know, every step human beings make, there will always more or less thing get destroyed.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Excellent!

Reviewed on 03 Apr 2014 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Hard to name just one thing. Photographing ice at the beach and on the lagoon was unbelievable, it was really beautiful. Then the excitement of 'getting' the Northern Lights was really great. The way we were guided by Martin and Geraldine made the whole experience possible. They packed as much as possible into the time we had and they made our holiday a truly unforgettable experience.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Stay a few days extra at the ThingHolt CenterHotel. In Reykjavic, It is very central, very comfortable but modern with fabulous bedrooms, a good breakfast with some hot food for those who prefer it. They have just opened the restaurant in the evenings and give residents 20 o/o discount.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Yes. The main Farm/Hotel that we stayed at only used local food, mostly off the farm. Fresh trout which they farmed themselves.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Fabulous, never to be forgotten.

Reviewed on 28 Sep 2013 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


this was a real blur of a trip, the whole experience was excellent.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


This is quite an intensive trip and whilst the organisers are brilliant, the
Iceland landscape needs a bit of care and suitable gear is essential- and the
weather changes a lot.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


the bulk of accomodation was local and good use was made of local facilities.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


I think everyone who went on this trip would return in the future given the
chance. I will certainly be back next year. Overall a great holiday and learning
experience.

Reviewed on 26 Sep 2013 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


There are too many highlights to mention on this extended trip. From chasing the Northern Lights to sunrise or sunset in stunning locations to the sheer scale of the glacier lagoons.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Make sure you get enough sleep before coming - the opportunity to capture fantastic landscapes will keep you busy!

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


The holiday made use of local family run businesses and respect was certainly paid to the local people and environment.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


The holiday exceeded my expectations by a country mile. Martin and Geraldine are two of the loveliest people I have ever met and their knowledge and genuine passion for photography really left an impression. As it was my first photography workshop I was concerned it might not be for me; now my concern is how anyone else will be able to live up to what this operator has to offer, after a truly amazing 10 days.

Reviewed on 08 Oct 2013 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Flying from south eastern Iceland back to Reykjavik - what a throw back 40 years, wish Martin would do a photo blog of this experience.
The different geology of Iceland and all the photo opportunities. The ice beaches were phenomenal.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Most of the walking is not flat or easy (rock piles, sand, pebbles, very deep moss, up/down) I am not complaining it was great.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


I really do not care, I went to photograph not get into this idiocy of impact -I bet whoever asked this is sucking water out of a plastic bottle which will not disintegrate for 1,00 years - yeah there is a benefit!

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


My first photography holiday so I cannot compare but as a trip it was great with the added benefit of learning so much and seeing so much and enjoying the entire experience.

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