Photography Workshops & Photo Tours: Iceland Winter Classics 2015: Aurora, Icecaves, Icebergs

Iceland Winter Classics Photography Workshop and tour, featuring Aurora Borealis, Ice Caves, Icebergs of the southeast coast, and Myvatn region of Northern Iceland!

  • *  Price:   $3550 USD (11 days, 11 nights, all inclusive including domestic airfare to Akureyri)
  • *  Dates: 04-16 February 2015

This classic itinerary is a favorite for Icelandic photographers, with winter-season-only photography opportunities of the south-east glacial coastal region. Our group will see and photograph Iceland's beauty in winter, including glacier and ocean landscapes, the Aurora Borealis, crystal ice caves, and icebergs.  During daylight hours, we utilize the low-angle sun to capture magic light even midday, and photograph a plethora of scenic and rural distinations including glaciers, country churches, waterfalls, horses, and iceberg lagoons. Ice caves unique to Iceland are extraordindary to explore and photograph inside, which have stunning transluscent blue colors, which we'll do with a local ice guide for 1-2 days!  Then, in the dark hours of each day, with epic glacial backgrounds and in dark places away from any artifical lights, we'll search the skies and wait to photograph the Aurora Borealis - always with an emphasis on strong foregrounds and phenomenal landscape backdrops and reflection potential. We will be based out of cozy rural guesthouses along the south coast and in the spectacular and remote East Fjords, allowing a comfortable schedule yet filling our days and nights with rewarding photography opportunities all around the region. 

Photography Instruction:  You'll receive ample personal photographic coaching in the field from a full time working pro, and provide an intimate small group adventure experience. This photo workshop is all about in-the-field field photography and situational instruction working alongside your leader, although we can also do image critiquing on client's laptops in the guesthouse in the evenings. Each day the group will photograph diverse landscapes and natural wonders of Iceland, in the quiet and peaceful setting of the Icelandic wintertime. Then, each evening and night the group will enjoy home-cooked meals and a cozy guesthouse, while always being prepared to go out and photograph the Aurora Borealis should it occur. The chances of us photographing this phenomenon are very high, given that we're out for seven nights, and way away from the city of Reykjavik and the southern coast of Iceland. Photographic topics that will covered while shooting include nighttime and austral photography, Aurora Borealis photography, 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. Our full 11 days and 12 nights of photography potential, allow us to see a variety of well-known Icelandic natural wonders along the Golden Circle, South Coast and East Fjords, ice caves of the Vatnajokull glacier region, along with more subtle icy details, and combined with austral wonderment, 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 is a full time photographer and international photo trip leader, and has a unique background and an intimate knowledge of Iceland 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 in Iceland and the Adirondack region in the USA. Johnathan is also very experienced in leading workshops, having led 20+ very successful photography workshops around Iceland since 2011 which are often sold-out, and also sometimes works with the very best native Icelandic photographer, Örvar Þorgeirsson. Örvar will join us as a special guest photographer on one of the evenings, which will be a good learning opportunity for everyone. . 

Trip Details: The cost of this tour is $ 3550 USD (or Euro equivalent), all inclusive, and includes all photographic opportunites and professional instruction, guiding, all ground and 4x4 transportation in a luxury spacious van, all meals and food (breakfast served in our guesthouse, lunches sourced from local cafes or bagged lunches, and hot dinners at our places of accomodation and/or restaurants), and accommodation for 11 nights (in rural authentic Icelandic guesthouses and country hotels; accommodation is based on double occupancy, and will be comfortable, clean, cozy, with private bathrooms;  single supplement may be requested for an additional fee).
A $500 deposit is due at the time of registration, and the remaining balance is due by the trip start. Refunds are allowed at the discretion of the trip leader (see details below), with a mix of cash refund and future trip credit, depending on cancellation date. This tour is open to all digital photographers of all abilities.  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.

Itinerary:  (always subject to change based on weather and other factors)

day # date itinerary accomodation location
0 04 Feb. 2015 Optional Arrival to Iceland, day in Reykjavik on your own. Optinal aurora night shooting if present.  Reykjavik (not included)
1 05 Feb. 2015 Alt. arrival day, early AM from N. America. Included domestic mid-morning flight from Reykjavik to Akureryi.   Myvatn lake and craters, Dimmuborgir and other lava formations,  Myvatn nature baths spa (included), possible nighttime or aurora photography over Myvatn formations Myvatn
2 06 Feb. 2015 Myvatn, Krafla, and other geothermal areas.  Godafoss waterfall.  Optional (not included) super-jeep 4x4 adventure to Aldeyjarfoss waterfall.  Possible aurora over Godafoss.  Akureyri
3 07 Feb. 2015 Longer drive from Akureyri to Snaefellsness Peninsula, with some photo stops. Snaefellsness Peninsula volcanic and ocean sights including Arnastapi, Budir. Possible Aurora over Kirkjufellsfoss Grundarfjordur, Snaefellsness Peninsula
4 08 Feb. 2015 Snaefellsness Peninsula volcanic and ocean sights including Arnastapi, Budir church, and Kirkjufellsfoss. Possible night shoot with special Icelandic guest photographer Orvar Thorgeirsson Reykjavik 4-star hotel
5 09 Feb. 2015 Golden Circle sights of Gullfoss, Geysir, and Bruarfoss  Vik
6 10 Feb. 2015 Longer drive to Skaftafell glacier region, with plenty of photo stops at farms, waterfalls, Eyjafjallajokull, and country rural sights. Possible aurora over Svinafellsjokull glacier Skaftafell
7 11 Feb. 2015 Ice caves full day exploration with a local guide Jokulsarlon
8 12 Feb. 2015 Full day at Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon and iceberg beach areas, and other nearby glacial lagoons Jokulsarlon
9 13 Feb. 2015 Eastfjords exploration around Hofn, Heinabergsjokull, and Vestrahorn. Possible Aurora over Stokkness. Hofn
10 14 Feb. 2015 last sunrise photo op at Jokulsarlon. Skaftafell glacier vistas. Vik seastacks and Dyroleay headland area for sunset and possible aurora locations. Skaftafell
11 15 Feb. 2015 Vik seastacks and Dyroleay headland area for sunrise. Skogafoss and Seljalandsfoss waterfalls, and additional farm scenics. Alt. Night shoot with Icelandic special guest photographer Orvar Thorgeirsson Reykjavik 4-star hotel
12 16 Feb 2015 Departure (included airport dropoff) n/a

  • *  To book your space on this trip, please pay a deposit payment of $500 USD per person. Until payment is sent, your place is not guaranteed.  You may conveniently pay your deposit on our sister website, securely with your credit which will be processed by Paypal payment processor.  The deposit portion may also be paid via personal or bank check for USA and Canadian clients; contact me for further instructions.  
  • *  Cancellation policy:  In the unfortunate case if you need to cancel, cancellation policy is: Deposit payments are refundable as 100% future scheduled trip credit up to 120 days before trip start, 50% future scheduled trip credit if cancellation is 120-60 days before trip start, and non-refundable less than 60 days before start. Final payments for the full trip balance are 100% refundable as cash until the trip start, and non-refundable after the trip start. If I am able to fill your empty spot on the trip, half of what you'd lose will additionally be returned to you, for all the above situations.   If I cancel the trip for some major reason, such as overwhelming volcanic activity, trip leader health crisis, etc, then I fully refund everything in cash or Paypal, or a pro-rated amount if the trip must end early for the same reasons.   I am not responsible for reimbursing you for travel or other ancillary expenses you incur in prep for the trip.  
  • *  Final Payment. The final payment for the balance due on the trip (after your paid deposit), is due one week prior to the trip start. Payment options include bank transfer to my Icelandic bank account (details on request), cash in person at the trip start (with prior permissin), personal or bank checks (preferred for USA and Canada clients), and credit cards (a 2% credit card fee will be added for final payments with card).    
Johnathan A. Esper
Wildernesscapes Photography LLC
PO Box 326, Long Lake, NY
United States
phone: 001 518 624 6675

Special guest native Icelandic photographer:
Örvar Þorgeirsson