AROUND ICELAND IN AUTUMN 2024
With Daníel Bergmann
Clockwise circumnavigation of Iceland
September 28th to 7th of October
$6,550 - Shared room
$7,450 - Single room
The autumn is a spectacular time for photography in Iceland. There is a pristine quality to the air and the ever changing weather produces wonderful opportunities for photography. There is a high potential for southerly storms in September and October, which bring with them dramatic clouds. And at this time of the year the low growing sub-Arctic vegetation (mainly birch and willow) has turned red and yellow, giving colour to the glacial moraine landscape in the Vatnajökull region and the woodlands in the north.
Another aspect of a photography tour at this time of the year is the potential for Northern Lights (Aurora). In early October sunrise is around 7:30 a.m. and sunset just before 7 p.m. So the working hours of the landscape photographer have become more civilized than in the height of summer. And the hours of darkness during the night make it possible to see the Northern Lights if there is activity and clear skies.
The itinerary of this tour is as classical as it can get – a clockwise circumnavigation of the island on Highway 1 (the so called Ring Road). This itinerary includes some of the best coastal, glacial, geothermal and waterfall photography in Iceland. We will be visiting many of the iconic photography locations plus many lesser known ones that still have fairly easy access. The autumn is a very good time to travel in Iceland as general tourism has decreased from its peak in the summer months.
The group size will be limited to just 6 participants, which ensures that everyone will get personal attention from the tour leader and we can work on the aspects of your photography that you feel needs improving.
I’m an Icelandic nature photographer and have been working in photography for over 25 years and guiding landscape photographers in Iceland since 2004. As a local Icelander I have intimate knowledge of the locations I visit on my tours, sometimes from decades of exploring this landscape. I am therefore not there to make my own images but to ensure that you get to stunning locations in the best available conditions and light. I will take care of ensuring your safety and I’m also at all time available for photography assistance or discussion about what wee are experiencing and how to interpret and resolve the landscape before us.
WHAT TO EXPECT
Some of the areas that we’ll be visiting will require walking over uneven and rough terrain so a decent level of fitness is required. It can be cold and windy in the autumn and we will most likely experience some rain. The daily schedule will depend on the weather and other conditions.
The daily schedule will depend very much on the weather and light. If we have an overcast day we’ll likely stick to a regular daily routine where we depart our accommodation after breakfast, take packed lunch in the field and return for a dinner. But whatever the conditions will be, we’ll make the most of what we’ll be given and adjust accordingly. Flexibility is important and with a small group of participants (max. 6) it’s much easier being flexible than with a larger group.
A lot of our photography will be done by or near the coastline. This merging of land and sea produces an ever changing landscape with infinite possibilities. We will spend three days in the Vatnajökull glacial region, which gives us opportunities to revisit some locations, such as the famous iceberg beach near Jökulsárlón (Fellsfjara). Photographing at a location and then returning again is a fantastic opportunity to contemplate on the work that was produces and build upon it during a second visit.
This photography tour is about improving your photography as well as experiencing unique and exciting locations. I 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. I am 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 a leader and instructor I’m always at hand to assist with specific techniques and welcome the opportunity to discuss the philosophical aspect of our art. If we’ll be confined to the indoors, in the case of a storm passing through, then we’ll do an image review session where I’ll look at some of the photographs that you have made during the tour, offering both aesthetic and post-processing tips. I will also do an introduction to Northern Lights photography before we venture out to photograph the lights, where we’ll go over camera settings and night photography technique.
The first night, of September 28th, will be at a hotel in downtown Reykjavik. This first day is scheduled just as an arrival day to make sure that everyone gets to Iceland and with their luggage. We’ll meet in the lobby of the hotel in the evening and go out together for dinner.
The following morning, September 29th, we’ll head out of the city and start our circumnavigation. The first stop will be at Hraunfossar waterfalls, which have a surrounding of woodland, that makes the scene very colourful at this time of year. We’ll then continue north to the Vatnsnes Peninsula, where we aim to photograph Hvítserkur sea stack at sunset. We’ll then overnight at a nearby hotel.
The next day we’ll travel to Lake Mývatn in the north. The lake itself is a natural wonder and it’s surroundings have some of the most photogenic geothermal areas in the country. Some of the major waterfalls are also up north, such as Goðafoss and Aldeyjarfoss in the Skjálfandafljót river and Dettifoss and Selfoss in Jökulsá river. We’ll be visiting all those waterfalls at different times of the day and will stay in a hotel by the lake for 2 nights.
The next part of the journey finds us further east and navigating the eastern fjords. We’ll stay for two nights at the small town of Breiðdalsvík, which has fantastic seascape locations nearby and is also favorably located for Northern Lights photography.
Once we depart the east fjords we are heading west and will be in the Vatnajökull region for 3 nights. The area offers endless opportunities for photographing ice and glaciers. We’ll not only be spending time at the iconic Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon and its nearby iceberg beach, but will also be visiting many smaller lagoons. We’ll also visit the Stokksnes Peninsula to photograph one of the most spectacular mountain range in Iceland – Vestrahorn.
The last leg of the tour will be near the town of Vík in the south, where we’ll spend our last night. There we’ll focus on the black sand beaches and many sea stacks to be found just off shore.
October 9th is the last day and we plan to be at the Keflavik airport in the early afternoon for flights out of Iceland.
All of the hotels are of good standard – modern and comfortable. Wi-fi is available everywhere. We will be eating at the hotels but we might take food with us into the field a couple of times during the tour.