Photography Workshops & Photo Tours: Iceland 2012 Photography Workshop & Tour (July 23-August 5)

Iceland 2012 Photography Workshop and Photo Tour

12+ days, July 23-August 5, 2012
$4290 USD or € or ISK equivalents, all inclusive.
5 of 5 spaces fully booked! Contact me to be notified about upcoming 2013 Iceland trips!

Led by pro photographer and workshop leader Johnathan Esper of Wildernesscapes Photography LLC, USA, with award-winning Icelandic special guest photographer Örvar Þorgeirsson for 2 days!

This incredible 12+ days photography tour and workshop around Iceland, the legendary land of fire and ice, is meant for passionate outdoor photographers who desire to see and photograph Iceland in depth. The intensive itinerary is designed to help you photograph all of Iceland’s diverse geographic areas and all the popular natural attractions that are considered must-sees, as well as hidden treasures most Icelanders have never even visited, by driving in a large counter-clockwise loop, that completely circumnavigates the island, beginning and ending at Reykjavik. We will also explore some of Iceland’s most photogenic Highlands regions for 4 days, that are inaccessible to most tourists, including 4x4 trips into the highland areas of Landmannalauger, Askja crater lake, Mt Snæfel and the vast glacial floodplanes of the northern Vatnajökull icecap, and the geothermal wonders of the famous Kjölur Highlands Route. We’ll enjoy Iceland’s long summer daylight hours as we photograph highlights including erupting geysers and geothermal areas, nuzzle with Icelandic horses in idyllic green pastures, peer over sea cliffs alive with hundreds of thousands of birds including puffins, swim in warm volcanic springs, feel Europe’s most powerful waterfall, hike up mountains for panoramic vistas of Iceland’s green mountains, explore some of Iceland’s stark highland regions, and photograph and walk on Iceland’s glaciers.

Photography Instruction: A maximum group size of 4-5 photographers ensures you will receive ample personal photographic coaching in the field from a full time working pro, maximize the group’s flexibility and ability to shoot more places, more spontaneously based on light and weather, and provide an intimate small group adventure experience. This photo tour is all about in-the-field field photography and situational instruction working alongside your leader, and there will be no classroom workshops or presentations. Photographic topics that will covered while shooting include classic landscape photography composition and technique, HDR (High Dynamic Range) imagery, panoramic photography, adventure and travel photography, tilt/shift focusing, and slow shutter -speed effects. We will also be going on some shorter hikes (1-3 hrs) to truly experience Iceland, which was listed as one of the top 10 travel destinations in 2010 by leading guide books. Group participants may wander on their own occasionally if they wish to pursue individual photographic objectives, enabling each participant to get the most out this once-in-a-lifetime trip.

Pro Leader: Johnathan Esper of Wildernesscapes Photography LLC in the USA will be leading the trip. Johnathan has a unique background and an intimate knowledge of the land from living out of a car, exploring and photographing Iceland intensively for months at a time, and he specializes in wide panoramic landscapes and adventure photography. Johnathan is also very experienced in leading workshops, having led 2 very successful sold-out photography workshops around Iceland in 2011, with 18 clients and Icelandic co-leader and photographer Örvar Þorgeirsson. A Clients Quotes page is available. Award-winning Icelandic special guest photographer Örvar Þorgeirsson will also join us for 2 days on the Snæfellsness Peninsula, for added instructional and cultural diversity.

Trip Details: The cost of this tour is $4295 USD (or Euro equivalent), all inclusive, and includes all photographic opportunites and professional iinstruction, all ground and 4x4 transportation, all accommodation for 13 nights including a night in Reykjavik before the trip starts (accomodation will be comfortable, clean, yet simple, and will and will vary including authentic Icelandic farmstays and guesthouses, and an occasional hostel private room (often rooms are with shared bathroom facilites)(based on double occupancy (rarely triple) for singles, single supplement add $500); all meals and food (breakfasts provided by our guesthouses, picnic-style lunches and snacks including Icelandic smoked salmon, locally grown fruits, sandwiches, etc.), and hot dinners at our places of accomodation and/or restaurants) and all entry fees and activity fees listed in this itinerary. A $1000 deposit is due at the time of registration, and the remaining balance of $3400 is due by April 30th. Refund details are available on request, with a mix of cash refund and future trip credit, depending on cancellation date. This tour is open to photographers of all film and digital formats, although your leader shoots exclusively digitally. There is a maximum group size of 4-5, and a minimum of 2. Our long 12+ day itinerary that completely circumnavigates Iceland, explores some of Iceland’s remote and inaccessible Highlands region, and gives more time, will enable you to photograph twice as much, with professional in-the-field instruction, at a much cheaper cost than [non]comparable tours. We'll be so immersed in the Icelandic countryside for our entire time as a group, that we have left no time to enjoy the sights of Reykjavik, so we encourage you to stay in Reykjavik for a couple days on your own, either before or after the tour. If you have additional questions, the trip leader will be happy to answer them over the phone or email.


Day 0 (July 23): Arrive and be picked up at Keflavik Int'l Airport and brought to your included hotel accommodation. Pre-trip evening meeting; otherwise the rest of the day/night is free.
Day 1: We start very early, and first photograph the mossy lava fields of the Reykjanes Peninsula, and the must-see popular Golden Circle sights of Geysir (after which all other geysers are named), Gullfoss (Iceland’s most famous waterfall), and Þingvellir National Park (the world’s oldest parliament’s meeting place and rift zone between the North American and European tectonic plates). We’ll also find the locals’ secret of Brúarfoss, a delightful miniature version of Africa’s Victoria Falls.
Day 2: We’ll take a 4x4 over the rough, famous Kjölur Highlands Route through Iceland’s stark, barren Highlands, arriving at very colorful and little-known geothermal area of the Kerlingarfjöll Mountains. We'll walk and photograph literally among steaming vents and bubbling pools that would be roped off elsewhere, allowing some great close-up photography. The Langjökull glacier and the barren, bleak, yet beautiful expances of Iceland’s western Highlands are more photographic highlights on this route.
Day 3: A full day spent hiking and photographing the colorful ryolite hills of Landmannalauger geothermal area and soak in a natural hot spring in the Icelandic Highlands (many Icelanders’ favorite place in their country).
Day 4: We’ll take a walk right behind Seljalandsfoss waterfall (hope you brought along a weather-sealed camera body!), and photograph Skógafoss. Next we’ll spend our evening around the small town of Vík y Mýrdal (which has a beautiful country church surrounded by fields of lupine wildflowers), and photograph the Dyrhólaey sea arches, sea stacks, and puffin colony.
Day 5: We drive past the smallest grass-roofed church in Iceland at Núpsstaður on our way to Skaftafell National Park, where we’ll photograph more glaciers, Hvannadalshnúkur (the highest mountain in Iceland) and the smooth Svartifoss waterfall among unique basalt columns). The iceberg-filled glacial lagoon Jökulsárlón is another classic postcard scene, and we’ll have a unique Icelandic farm-stay experience that night.
Day 6: The picturesque east fjords are calling us, and we’ll stop in ample locations to photograph the winding roads and cascading streams down the steep terraced mountains, before staying for a night in the Seyðisfjörður region, which is perhaps Icelands most beautiful fjord. There’s many hiking opportunities here that will give marvelous views of the fjords.
Day 7: Mt Snæfell and overlooking vast glacial floodplanes of the northern Vatnajökull icecap are highlights on this excursion into the northern Highlands region. We'll also photograph the red-layered Hengifoss and visit a brand new museam on the newly created Vatnajökull National Park, after driving along the scenic Lagarfljót lake. We take the road less traveled, cutting across the Highlands on 4x4 tracks westward toward one of Iceland's most remote farms, Möðrudalur, where we'll stay for the night.
Day 8: The iconic Highland destination of Askja volcanic crater lake awaits us after a several hour 4x4 drive into the heart of Iceland's Highlands region, and there we'll also swim the Icelandic way in the Viti explosion crater that's still warm. We'll also photograph and drink the fresh spring water gushing from beneath Mt. Herðubreið, Iceland's most beautiful mountain according to many Icelanders.
Day 9: Now in the north of Iceland, we’ll feel the plummeting power of Europes’s largest waterfall by volume, Dettifoss, from it’s better yet less-visited side, and take some shorter hikes in the river canyon of Jökulsárgljufur National Park to see rock stacks dividing a the powerful Jökulsá á Fjöllum. In Mývatn we’ll photograph geothermal steam vents, bizarre volcanic formations, and fields of craters that will make you feel like you are on the moon, then check out or swim in warm, silica-rich water with an amazing blue-colour, from a nearby geothermal power plant.
Day 10: After finishing exploring the Mývatn lake region that's filled with craters and bizarre lava formations, we’ll drive west, photographing Goðafoss waterfall, and the remote Aldeyjarfoss in the northern Highlands with it's photogenic basalt clolumns framing the falls, before eating at the best bakery in Iceland, in Akureyri.
Day 11: We head to the Snæfellsness Peninsula, and on our way we photograph the troll-turned-to-stone Hvítserkur rock and nearby seal colonies on the Vatnsnes Peninsula. Friendly Icelandic horses will come up to us and nuzzle, and pose for our cameras in the Svínavatn horse breeding area. Kirkjufell (an idyllic stratified cone mountain rising from the ocean) and nearby waterfalls will be our next photographic subjects, and we’ll stay for a night in Grundarförður, a picturesque little fishing village on the Snæfellsness Peninsula. From the top of the tall Snæfellsjökull, one can view the midnight sun never dip below the horizon, which would be an incredible photographic challenge and opportunity, so depending on weather we might take a snowcat up to the top to capture this!
Day 12: Then it’s on to photograph the sea arches and basalt columnar formations and idyllic harbour of Arnastapi, and the bird cliffs of Lóndrangar. Finally, as our adventure in Iceland draws to a close, we stop to say goodbye to more friendly Icelandic horses around Reykholt, and photograph Hraunfossar springs and Barnafoss waterfall. We’ll surely be photographing late into the evening on our last day, making good use of the midnight sun, and will stay our last night at another Icelandic farmstay in the Reykholt horse breeding area.
Day 13 (August 5): We'll drive into Reykjavik early in the morning, and now you may either be shuttled to Keflavik International Airport to catch your flight home, or stay on your own longer in Reykjavik which we highly recommend, since we've been so busy exploring the rest of Iceland that we left no time for this unique European city!

Please note this itinerary is somewhat flexible, and we may have to make adjustments on what we see during the day, based on weather patterns and our time limits.

CONTACT INFORMATION (for making a booking or requesting information)

Johnathan A. Esper
Wildernesscapes Photography LLC
PO Box 326, Long Lake, NY
United States
[email protected]
phone: 001 518 624 6675