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Iceland Highlands Tour & Coastal Landscape Photography

Iceland, Europe

On a new Iceland Highlands tour, landscape photography comes alive while visiting epic highlands and the stunning south coast of the Land of Fire and Ice.

Join us for an amazing photographic journey to witness and capture Iceland’s magical topography. While this Iceland Highlands tour is heavily focused on creating landscape photographs, there will be plenty of opportunities to photograph other sights such as birds, Icelandic horses, rushing waterfalls, desert lakes, and even the local Icelandic culture. When you return home you will have a complete portfolio to show your friends that’s packed with images of Iceland’s pristine beauty.

Experienced Leaders on the Iceland Highlands Tour of a Lifetime

In order to achieve the best landscape photos of the Highlands of Iceland and its south coast, two key elements are required. First, you need a leader who knows Iceland’s terrain like the back of their hand and is familiar with the best way to navigate the area. Second, you need to travel with leaders who are photography experts that will help you create images and position you in the best locations at the right time.

On this Iceland Highlands tour you will have both!

Iceland highlands tour © Jóhann Óli Hilmarsson

You’ll be guided by award-winning landscape and wildlife photographer Nikhil Bahl and lifelong Iceland resident, ornithologist, and photographer Jóhann Óli Hilmarsson. We have worked painstakingly to offer this unique and comprehensive adventure to capture beautiful images of the best of this Nordic island. With all of our planning and attention to detail—as well as our top guides Nikhil and Jóhann—no other Iceland photo tour or workshop comes close!

At your disposal you will have all of the expertise that Nikhil and Jóhann have garnered over their years of experience to consistently capture dramatic and out of the box images of Iceland in all its glory. Nikhil’s extensive bird and landscape photography experience, coupled with Jóhann’s lifetime of knowledge and photography of the area, you will be presented with the absolute best opportunities at every turn. You’ll even get to visit some exclusive highland sites that most others don’t even know about.

Itinerary

Day 1, July 24
Arrival in Iceland

On the first day of your Iceland Highlands tour, you will arrive at Keflavík International Airport and transfer to our hotel in Reykjavík. After getting settled in you may opt for a self-guided tour of the city or get some rest. If you wish, vehicle rentals are available or you may take a taxi to the center city if you would like to explore on your own. It’s very safe to walk around at your leisure, with or without a camera and small lens. You can also just relax at the hotel and energize yourself for the tour to come, which is what we recommend for most travelers.

In the early evening we will have a casual meet-and-greet and discussion of the plans for departure the following morning, followed by a group dinner on us.

If you are participating in the Iceland Photography Tour for bird photography, you will have July 22, 23, and 24 to relax or plan other activities.

Overnight at Hotel Hilton Nordica in Reykjavík.

Day 2, July 25
Highlands of Iceland, Háifoss and Granni Waterfalls, Landmannalaugar, Frostastaðaháls

After an early breakfast we’ll check out of our hotel and head for the Highlands of Iceland with cameras at the ready. Along our journey we will make one of our first stops to photograph the picturesque Háifoss waterfall, Iceland’s third highest fall, dropping at 122 meters into a deep river gorge and its neighboring fall, Granni. What a sight to start off our photographic journey of Iceland!

As a group we will continue into the Highlands of Iceland and check-in at the hotel where we will base for the next 4 nights. After gathering our gear and a bite to eat, we will visit the magnificent highland oasis of Landmannalaugar after tourist hours. This area is chock-full of wonders including natural baths, colorful rhyolite mountains, spectacular rock formations, vast lava fields, and so much more. Since this area is one of the most popular and photogenic places in the country, we’ll plan to get there late and stay as long as we like so you’ll have plenty of time to capture the images you want. We can’t stress enough the beauty and indescribable splendor this area holds with its hills awash in a painter’s palette of colors from bright yellow, red, and green.

As we spend the evening photographing this area we’ll be traveling the ridge of Frostastaðaháls for a nice overlook, including Frostastaðavatn lake. We will base the next 4 nights in a comfortable guest house in the area of Sprengisandur.

Overnight at hotel in Hrauneyjar.

Day 3, July 26
Fjallabak Nature Reserve, Crater Lakes Hnausapollur and Ljótipollur, Sigalda Canyon, Bláhnúkur, Rauðufossar Waterfall

This day brings us continued exploration to photograph the beautiful Fjallabak Nature Reserve in all its glory. We will make a point to create unusual images of the crater lakes of Hnausapollur and Ljótipollur, and you will photograph the many beautiful waterfalls of the Sigalda canyon. If time and weather allow, you will even have the option to climb to the top of Bláhnúkur (Blue peak) which gives a marvelous view over the Landamannalaugar area and all its photogenic colors and textures. You will also have a good view of the red mountain Brennisteinsalda, which you may also climb if you wish. The unusual red waterfall, Rauðufossar, among others are also on our list to see and photograph.

Overnight at hotel in Hrauneyjar.

Langisjor, Iceland © Jóhann Óli Hilmarsson

Day 4, July 27
Lake Area of Veiðivötn and Hraunvötn, Bird Photography

Today you will visit and photograph the unique lake area of Veiðivötn and Hraunvötn. This unusual area is an entanglement of small desert lakes in a volcanic basin, which is a continuation of the same fissure that produced Laugahraun in the Fjallabak Nature Reserve. It is so unique that it is difficult to describe in words, but you will be able to capture and interpret it through your camera lens!

The crater formations here are extraterrestrial in character making up an environment that is one of its kind. The contrast between black sand and waters as clear as gin is very striking and photogenic. Many travelers find this to be the highlight of their visit to Iceland. As a landscape photographer you will absolutely love this area and can get lost in the many compositions that you can create.

This part of the country is also among the youngest (circa 1477) and contains some of the wildest and untouched areas of the central Highlands of Iceland. It comprises about 50 lakes of different sizes, most of which are crater lakes. The area is about 20 kilometers long and 5 kilometers wide with a southwest/northeast direction.

Bird life here is also special featuring common loon, pink-footed goose, long-tailed duck, purple sandpiper, and snow bunting among the breeders that we hope to photograph.

Overnight at hotel in Hrauneyjar.

Day 5, July 28
Fjallabak syðra, Hrafntinnusker, and Jökulgil

It’s our last whole day in the interior and we will improvise and base on our experience the previous days. We will explore some hidden treasures and all of the places we have not visited yet or want to see again. Some marvelous sites within reach are Fjallabak syðra, Hrafntinnusker and Jö

Overnight at hotel in Hrauneyjar.

Day 6, July 29
Fjallabaksleið Nyrðri Mountain Road, Eldgjá, Ófærufoss Waterfall, Lake Langisjór, Mountains Tungnárfjöll and Fögrufjöll

Today we will drive the Fjallabaksleið Nyrðri Mountain Road, stopping along the way to photograph its interesting landscape. This area is renown for its “moonscape” topography with green mountains rising out of black sand, golden rhyolite peaks, mountain lakes, and a thousand shades of green as far as the eye can see. In your photography, you will focus on being different and not photographing the obvious, but trying to capture something more compelling. On our way the eruptive fissure Eldgjá can be found as well as Ófærufoss, which is an extremely beautiful and photogenic waterfall in the river Nyrðri-Ófæra. It falls into the Eldgjá volcanic chasm in two cascades. There used to be a stone arch across the lower one up until 1993 when it fell into the river during the spring thaw. From northern Fjallabaksleið it is possible to drive into Eldgjá and walk from there to the Ófærufoss. If time and weather allow, you will visit and photograph around lake Langisjór which is 20 kilometers long and 2 kilometers wide in some places. The lake is to the southwest of Vatnajökull icecap between the mountains Tungnárfjöll and Fögrufjöll, situated in a picturesque and very photogenic landscape waiting for you to photograph.

Afterwards, our group will drive down to the lowlands and settle into our hotel in time for a late dinner.

Overnight at hotel in the lowlands.

Day 7, July 30
Skaftafell National Park, Svartifoss Waterfall, Jökulsárlón Glacial Lagoon, Black Sand Beach

Today we head for the easternmost destination point, at the foot of the biggest icecap in Europe and one of the most active volcanos on earth, Vatnajökull, where we stay for two nights. On the way you will visit Skaftafell National Park, which includes the basalt lined waterfall Svartifoss among other gems.

After dinner you will visit the unique and famous Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon and famous black sand beach to capture ice that has calved off the glacier, washed out to sea, and then deposited itself back on the beach at low tide. We will enjoy spending the evening here to avoid most of the other tourists.

Overnight at hotel in Öræfi.

Day 8, July 31
Jökulsárlón Glacial Lagoon, Svínafellsjökull Glacial Tongue

In the morning we will visit the Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon again and then head for the Svínafellsjökull glacial tongue and some other interesting places to keep our creative photographic juices going. After dinner you will explore the Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon one more time to capture the last photographs of this amazing area.

Overnight at hotel in Öræfi.

Day 9, August 1
Fjallsárlón, Vík, Dyrhólaey, and Reynishverfi

If conditions permit, we will visit the very scenic Fjallsárlón for an early morning shoot at this most beautiful spot. We will then begin to work our way slowly back toward Reykjavík. We’ll spend one night in the town of Vík where you can expect to photograph iconic sea stacks and basalt formations, along with the beautiful coastal landscape area of Dyrhólaey and Reynishverfi.

Overnight at hotel in the Eyjafjöll area, close to the Skógafoss waterfall.

Glacier formation waves © Nikhil Bahl

Day 10, August 2
Skógafoss and Seljalandsfoss Waterfalls; Back to Reykjavík

This morning we will start early photographing the great Skógafoss waterfall before the tourists gather there. This impressive waterfall comes directly from two glaciers, Eyjafjallajökull and Mýrdalsjökull. On the way to the top of Skógafoss, approximately 370 steps, photographers can capture different vantage points and awe-inspiring views of the southern coastline.

Then we’ll embark on our journey back to Reykjavík, stopping along the way to top off our memory cards with some last landscape shots and a few more images of Icelandic horses. One of the highlights is Seljalandsfoss waterfall. With a drop of almost 200 feet and a small cave behind it, photographers can walk behind the falls for a unique perspective.

To close the evening, we will host a farewell dinner on us at the hotel or a local restaurant and then spend the night in Reykjavík before flying home the following day.

Overnight at Hotel Hilton Nordica in Reykjavík.

Day 11, August 3
Departure from Iceland

This morning you will enjoy breakfast at our hotel prior to transferring to the airport for your flight home. If you wish, you can also stay longer for additional days on your own.

Extend Your Experience! Save $500 when you also attend the Iceland Photography Tour, mainly focused on bird photography including 3 days at Grímsey Island in the Arctic Circle.

Includes

  • Lodging throughout (double occupancy)
  • All transfers to and from airport and hotels
  • Professional driver/photo/nature guide
  • Private transportation in a spacious tour bus throughout
  • Entrance fees for all described activities
  • Taxes on all services listed above
  • Breakfast (where included with hotels), meet-and-greet dinner the first evening, and farewell dinner the last evening

Does Not Include

  • Airfare to/from Keflavík International Airport (KEF)
  • Airport departure tax or fees (if applicable)
  • Meals and drinks unless specified
  • Gratuities

Traveling to Iceland

Arrival

Participants should plan to arrive at Keflavík International Airport (KEF) on or before July 24 and plan to depart on or after August 3. Most flights to Iceland arrive early in the morning. Since arrival times will vary we have no activities planned until the evening of July 24.

Departure

We will arrange your transfer back to Keflavík International Airport (KEF) on your departure day based on the time of your scheduled departure flight.

Airport

Keflavík International Airport (KEF)
Keflavíkurflugvöllur
Keflavík 235

Website: www.kefairport.is
Telephone: +354 425 6000

Extend Your Experience! Save $500 when you also attend the Iceland Photography Tour, mainly focused on bird photography including 3 days at Grímsey Island in the Arctic Circle.

Why We Don’t List Specific Hotels


By selecting NatureScapes.net as your photo tour company, you can trust that our leaders have personally chosen each location for specific reasons and that we have secured lodge bookings far in advance for your group. With more than 15 years of experience traveling the world and arranging photo workshops and tours, we know exactly what accommodations photographers expect for the perfect photo tour experience.

We do not list the hotels by name because locations are sensitive, and we’ve worked hard to keep them exclusive for our photography tours. For that reason we do not disclose specific hotels until we receive your tour registration form and deposit.


If you would like to register for this workshop, please fill out the registration form. A non-refundable deposit (listed above) is required to reserve your spot. Please refer to our workshop information section for our cancellation and refund policies.

Workshop Information
  • Dates: July 24 - Aug. 3, 2018 (6 openings)
  • Cost: $6,995
  • Deposit: $1,000
  • Participants: 8

Extend your experience! Save $500 when you also attend the Iceland Photography Tour, focused on Arctic bird photography including 3 days in the Arctic Circle.

Single Supplement: $950
The single supplement fee reflects our actual cost and is subject to availability. If you are a single traveler and we are unable to place you with a roommate, you will be placed in a single room and charged the single supplement fee.
Leaders

Nikhil Bahl

Nikhil Bahl

Nikhil Bahl is a full time professional photographer, author, educator, workshop instructor and environmentalist residing in the Washington D.C. area. Drawing inspiration from nature, Nikhil adopts novel approaches and seeks meaningful interpretations: to create photographs that transcend the commonplace, reflect deeper insights, and convey an enchantment of the subject's beauty.

An offshoot of Nikhil’s fine art photography and love of nature is his documentation of wildlife behaviors and habitats. Continue reading »

Jóhann Óli Hilmarsson

Jóhann Óli Hilmarsson

Jóhann Óli Hilmarsson, is a leading authority on the birds of Iceland and one of the country’s most experienced bird photographers. He has written numerous articles on birds in books, magazines and papers and is the author of the bestselling book Icelandic Bird Guide, a photographic guide which has been sold in almost 40,000 copies. Continue reading »