Western and Southern Iceland in Winter
February 10–19, 2017 – 1 place available
with Daniel Bergmann and Peter Cox
Northern Lights above Heinabergsjökull glacier
Iceland is a photographer’s paradise with some of the world’s most extraordinary landscapes and it is as exciting in winter as it is in summer. In the beginning of February the darkness of the sub-Arctic winter is starting to lift and the days are becoming longer. The sun is low in the sky during this time of year, potentially providing wonderful golden light throughout the day. We’ll have up to 8 hours of daylight in early February and, with luck, the Northern Lights will increase our photographic opportunities far into the night.
We are going to concentrate on the western and southern parts of Iceland on these 10-day workshops. The main focus of the tour will be ice caves in the Vatnajökull region, outlet glaciers and glacial lagoons, icebergs on a black beach, frozen waterfalls, rugged mountains, coastal features and the Northern Lights (Aurora borealis). The itinerary will be kept as flexible as possible to ensure that we’ll have clear skies to be able to photograph the Northern Lights. The winter conditions can be stunningly beautiful: the glacial lagoons freeze, some of the waterfalls are partially frozen, the glaciers appear more blue with fresh snow on top and, with fewer visitors than in summer the black sand beaches of the south are more pristine.
We will be using a specially modified and comfortable 4×4 vehicle on large tires that will get us anywhere we want and need to go, even through areas with deep snow.
Photographing inside Vatnajökull glacier
The winter workshops are about improving your photography as well as experiencing unique and exciting locations. The leaders will be out photographing with you every day, helping you to realize the images you’re after and encourage you to explore and see the landscape in new ways. We are as passionate about photography as you are and participating in an intense photographic journey, with a group of like minded individuals, is a good way to grow as a photographer. As leaders and instructors we’re always at hand to assist with specific techniques, such as Aurora photography at night, and we welcome the opportunity to discuss the philosophical aspect of our art.
As always, as a native Icelander, I am there to make the tours as successful as possible by using my local knowledge and experience to get us to the best locations in good light. It is my intention to give you an exciting and unforgettable journey through Iceland’s dramatic winter landscapes. And also to give you an opportunity to grow and expand your photographic vision. Peter Cox will be my co-leader on the workshop. Me and Peter have co-lead a number of trips in Iceland and beyond.
Ice cave in Vatnajökull glacier
Accommodation and food
We will be staying in single en suite rooms at six different hotels. If you are traveling with a partner or a friend and want to share accommodation the cost will be $750 less (per person) than a single room. Your comfort is taken seriously so all the hotels will offer a good standard of comfort and excellent food. Internet access will be available at all locations. All meals are included. If you have a special dietary requirement you will be accommodated – just be sure and let me know when you make your booking. Lunches will be taken on the road, either at service centers or cafés or as packed lunches.
Looking through ice at the "Iceberg graveyard"
As always in Iceland, the weather will be unpredictable and variable and we’ll have sunshine, snow, rain and wind and probably a bit of everything else. But the dramatic weather is just what makes for fantastic photographic opportunities. Still, intense winter storms, can limit what we can do and where we can go. Therefore there will flexibility within the itinerary so that I can change plans according to the weather.
The first days of the trip, February 10th, is set aside as the arrival day and you will overnight in Reykjavik city. The hotel there is included and transfer will be arranged from the airport if you are arriving on that days. We then plan to meet for dinner in the evening.
The following mornings we’ll head out of the city and drive north to the Snaefellsnes peninsula where we’ll stay for two nights. We’ll be exploring fantastic coastal scenery at the southern edge of the peninsula at locations such as Budir, Hellnar, Arnarstapi and Malarif and we’ll also be photographing at iconic locations at the northern part of the peninsula, such as Mt. Kirkjufell. On our fourth day we’ll travel down to the south coast. There are a number of possible routes that we can take, depending on weather, but we’ll most likely be making a detour to Hraunfossar waterfall and drive through the Thingvellir national park. We’ll overnight in a town on the south coast and continue our eastward journey the following morning.
Our next base, where we’ll be staying for three nights, is in the Vatnajökull region. Our accommodation will be within short driving distance of the famous Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon. We’ll explore the numerous glaciers in the area, make visits to the iceberg graveyard, where ice from the gacial lagoon gets thrown up on the black beach by the waves, and venture into the dreamlike world of ice caves. This area is all about ice and hopefully we’ll have clear nights and Aurora activity.
After our stay by Vatnajökull glacier we’ll travel back west and spend a night in the town of Vik on the south cost. The beaches of Reynisfjara and waterfalls of the Eyjafjoll region will be our photography subjects, along with landscape features on the way from the east, such as the vast Eldhraun lava field. On our last day we’ll then continue west to the Reykjanes peninsula, which has a number of rewarding locations, some with geothermal activity. Our last night will be spent in a hotel in Keflavik, which is near to the international airport, and participants can depart Iceland anytime on February 19th.
Northern Lights at Reykjanes Peninsula
I am a native Icelander, a professional nature photographer and have been leading photography tours and workshops in Iceland since 2003. You can read more about me here.
Peter Cox is Ireland’s most renowned landscape photographer. He runs a photographic gallery in Killarney and has made two books with images of the Irish landscape. You can read more about Peter on his website.
Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon in winter
Date: February 10–19, 2017
Duration: 10 days/9 nights
Cost: $5,950 USD for shared accommodation / $6,700 for single (required for a solo traveler)
Includes: Transportation in a modified 4×4 vehicle, accommodation, all food and drink (except alcohol), guidance, tuition and ice cave tour with a local guide
Excludes: International flights, insurance, alcoholic beverages
Group size: 12
Leaders: Daniel Bergmann and Peter Cox
Please contact me for further information and booking.
Ice at the beach near Jökulsárlón