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Iceland Winter Photography Tour: Aurora, Ice Caves, Glaciers, Scenery

Iceland

Join us for a beautiful winter wonderland photo tour to Iceland during the month of March, the best season for photographing the Aurora Borealis, ice caves, glaciers, and frozen waterfalls.

Experience the Beauty and Charm of Iceland’s Natural Wonders

This Iceland winter photography tour takes place during the best season for winter photography, offering the best balance of daylight hours and historically favorable photo opportunities to capture the Aurora Borealis, incredible ice caves, photogenic glaciers, and frozen waterfalls. The weather during this time will be unpredictable with no guarantees, thus during our two week tour we’re likely to have sunshine, snow, rain, wind, and everything else in between. The dramatic weather in Iceland makes for fantastic photographic opportunities, but intense winter storms can limit what we can do and where we can go, so be ready for anything this adventure may bring our way! This Iceland winter photography tour has a flexible itinerary so we can change plans according to the weather and not be rushed at various locations.

Aurora Hnappad, Iceland - © Jóhann Óli Hilmarsson

About this Iceland Winter Photography Tour

This trip is an extensive exploration mission, coinciding with the best timing to photograph Iceland in the winter. An exploratory trip means there is little to no photographic instruction and only guarantee of reservations and activities as stated in the itinerary (subject to weather). We will be there to take photographs with you and to share the beauty of Iceland, as well as to fine tune our itinerary while actively exploring for subsequent years and checking out some new areas. It also means that the price is kept low enough to make it attractive and with such a small group it makes it an unmatched value. As an added bonus, we’ll be driving one of the coolest, most customized four-wheel drive vehicles one could imagine.

We will have one full intensive ice cave day plus one-half less intensive day. The possibilities in the ice caves are incredible and we have chosen one of the most reputable companies to lead us.

With a strict limit of 6 photographers (4 minimum), this is the photo trip to choose if you want to photograph Iceland in the winter!

Itinerary

Day 1, March 2
Arrival in Iceland

Arrive in Reykjavík and check into the Hilton Natura. No activities are planned for this day other than a meet and greet and review for the coming days. Most passengers arrive in the morning hours and we can request early check-in times. There is plenty to do around town within reasonable walking distance of the hotel and we’d be happy to make suggestions if you wish to venture out this day.

Day 2, March 3
Waterfalls, Sea Stacks, and Black Sand Beach

We leave Reykjavík at dawn and head east at the south coast. On the way we will photograph some astonishing waterfalls (Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss) as well as Dyrhólaey sea stack and Reynisfjara black sand beach. Overnight at Hotel Dyrhólaey.

Seljalandsfoss Waterfall, Iceland - © Jóhann Óli Hilmarsson

Day 3–6, March 4–7
Basalt Formations, Lava Fields, Glaciers, Ice Caves, Aurora Borealis

We wake up early for first light photography at the beach of Reynisfjara, featuring columnar basalt formations and the Reynisdrangar Rocks standing in the sea. We then head east, spending some time photographing the great lava fields from the 1783 Laki eruption and then keep on to the Vatnajökull region. Vatnajökull is the largest glacier or ice cap outside the Polar areas (in Europe). We will stay four nights at Hotel Jökulsárlón. From our base we will 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 Borealis activity.

Reynisdrangar, Iceland - © Jóhann Óli Hilmarsson

Day 7, March 8
Landscapes, Mountains, Villages

We head further eastward and will pass some picturesque landscapes like Mt. Vesturhorn. The east coast boasts of long, narrow fjords with steep sides and jagged mountain peaks as well as picturesque fishing villages. This is the area of the reindeer and we hope to find some on the way. Overnight in the fishing town of Fáskrúðsfjörður.

Vestrahorn, Iceland - © Jóhann Óli Hilmarsson

Day 8–11, March 9–12
Mountains, Geothermal Areas, Landscapes, Waterfalls, Birds

The following day we make our way north to Lake Mývatn, through large wilderness areas where you see nothing but hills and mountains as far as your eye can reach. We will be based at Sel Hotel at the Lake for four nights. From our base at Mývatn we’ll explore geothermal areas and the snow covered volcanic landscape around the lake, with some unique lava formation, craters, and the largest pseudo craters in the world. We’ll also make visits to the major waterfalls up north, such as Goðafoss. If snow conditions allow then we might also visit Aldeyjarfoss and Dettifoss. Parts of the lake and River Laxá are always open and flocks of Barrow’s Goldeneyes, Common Mergansers, Whooper Swans and even a few Harlequin Duck can be photographed. Gyr Falcon, Rock Ptarmigan, and Snow Bunting are all potential species for those looking for birds in the winter.

Myvatn Vetur, Iceland - © Jóhann Óli Hilmarsson

Day 12, March 13
Landmark Basalt Stack Hvítserkur and Horses

After our stay in the northeast we’ll head west along the northern coast through the town of Akureyri and spend a night at country Hotel Gauksmýri in close proximity to the famous landmark Hvítserkur. This area is famous for horse farming so this is a good spot to photograph horses as they are kept outside in the winter.

Hvitserkur, Iceland - © Jóhann Óli Hilmarsson

Day 13, March 14
Mountains, Sea Stacks, Horses, Waterfalls

If weather allows, we will take off early and spend the day in the beautiful area of Snæfellsnes peninsula, photographing the coastal line, beautiful mountains, sea stacks, horses, and whatever we find interesting on both sides of the peninsula. The famous Kirkjufell mountain and the Kirkjufellsfoss waterfall is on this route. We may also visit Hraunfossar and some other sites in the Borgarfjörður area depending on how much time we are left with. Overnight in Reykjavík, Hotel Natura.

Rjupa, Iceland - © Jóhann Óli Hilmarsson

Day 14, March 15
Departure from Iceland

Depart for home. Flight times vary.

Includes

  • All lodging for 13 nights (double occupancy; see above at top right)
  • Transportation and fuel
  • Guide services throughout
  • Breakfast

Does Not Include

  • Flights to and from Iceland
  • Meals other than breakfast
  • Snacks between meals, beverages, and any items purchased
  • Gratuities

If you would like to register for this workshop, please fill out our 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: March 2-15, 2018 (3 openings)
  • Cost: $5,995
  • Deposit: $1,000
  • Participants: 6
Single Supplement: $975
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 »