10 Day Summer Photography Workshop on the Ring Road of Iceland with Vatnajokull & Myvatn
Photograph Iceland in summer from north to south with this 10-day landscape and wildlife photography workshop. Circle the country and practice your skills as a photography lover in the best locations in Iceland which include Reynisfjara black sand beach, Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon, Lake Mývatn, and the Highlands.
You’ll capture Iceland’s natural wonders, from waterfalls to volcanoes, and geysers to glaciers, while being guided by two expert photographers with strong skills in capturing the Arctic nature and landscapes. By day 10, your photographs will have improved beyond measure, and you’ll have captured incredible memories of Iceland under the Midnight Sun.
All you have to worry about is to remember your tripod as all accommodation and transport will be taken care of prior to your arrival. You will also have a complimentary dinner on your first night in the country so you can get to know your guides and the rest of the group.
So, don't wait! Build up your portfolio by visiting some of the most beautiful regions in Iceland on this 10-day photo tour. Check availability by choosing a date.
Day 1 - Arrival in Reykjavik
After your arrival at Keflavík Airport, you’ll make your first journey across Reykjavík’s otherworldly outskirts using the bus ticket provided for you.
Once you reach your hotel in Reykjavík, you’ll have a chance to unwind before meeting with your group and guides for a hearty dinner where you’ll discuss your itinerary for the days to come with the photography professionals who will guide your trip.
At this gathering of experts and aficionados (like yourself), you’ll have an opportunity to grasp the essentials of the sites to which you’ll journey, with days packed full of learning and adventure. You’ll also have a chance to get to know your companions and to ask as many questions as you like about photography in Iceland’s Arctic climate. This is step one of your photography workshop in Iceland.
Day 2 - Seljalandsfoss, Skogafoss, and Reynisfjara Beach
On the second day of your trip, you’ll kick off your photo adventure in Iceland with a trip to the South Coast, a stretch of land lined with some of Iceland’s most astonishing natural wonders, from majestic waterfalls to black sand beaches sparkling with crystal clear ice diamonds. This is where you’ll begin your crash course in landscape and nature photography.
First up on the roster is Seljalandsfoss, a sixty-metre high waterfall that cascades crystalline water over a concave cliff, meaning that you’ll have the opportunity to walk behind the waterfall to capture impressive shots that’ll take your breath away.
Just up the road, you’ll stop off at Skógafoss, another 60-metre high waterfall lined with brilliantly green grasses that’ll imbue your photographs with an idyllic mood. Skógafoss is up to 20 metres across after a heavy rain, and its sheer breadth offers the chance to practice your skills at capturing the rainbows that form in the mist below.
Before you reach your hotel in the village of Vík, you'll stop at Reynisfjara beach, home to the most iconic cliff formation in Iceland, for shots of the midnight sun. At Reynisfjara, with its haunting stretches of black sand, you’ll photograph the waves hitting against the Reynisdrangar sea stacks. These basalt pillars jut out of the sea, and Icelandic folklore has it that they were once night trolls, petrified by the rising sun.
Day 3 - Reynisfjara, Dyrholey, and Vik
After you awake refreshed on your third day of this summer photography workshop, you’ll head back to Reynisfjara, where you’ll shoot these natural marvels in the bright Icelandic morning sun, learning to play with different types of light in your photography expedition.
After you’ve experimented with new photography techniques at Reynisfjara, the tour will move onto Dyrhólaey, a small, volcanic peninsula boasting of an enormous rock arch, cliffs brimming with wildlife (spoiler alert: puffins!), and a century-old lighthouse. This site has enormous diversity and is essential to developing a true repertoire of photography skills.
Dyrhólaey’s cliffs are immense against a backdrop of churning seas and black sands but the minute details captivate the imagination. Tall basalt columns, hexagonal structures jutting out of the cliffs, appear to have been chiselled by hand, giving this site an uncanny earthiness. Basalt columns are found in very few places on earth, and Dyrahóley provides a rare opportunity to photograph them up close.
And the best part? You’ll also get to photograph the puffins that summer on the cliffs in the thousands. They might even you approach them to capture their clumsy charm and sharp colour contrasts on images you’ll keep for a lifetime. Photographing these treasures up close is perfect practice for the aspiring wildlife photographer.
The nearby village Vík, where you’ll be staying two nights, is a quaint village that encompasses an enormous variety of natural structures, from endless fields of vibrant lupine to sharp cliffs and sandy beaches. After a photo jaunt around town, you’ll head back to your accommodations for a restful night’s sleep.
Day 4 - Vatnajokull National Park and Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon
The next stop on your journey is twofold: on the eastern side of the South Coast, you’ll pause at Vatnajökull National Park, which is home to the Skaftafell Nature Reserve, and just past the reserve is the famed Jökulsárón glacier lagoon.
Skaftafell is brimming with the landforms that earned Iceland its name as a home to some of the world’s most remarkable natural wonders, and it has much to offer the avid photographer.
Within the confines of the park alone, you’ll find a forest with a complex network of rivers, abutted by glacier tongues and a small glacial lagoon. Waterfalls, backed with basalt columns, offer a terrific entrance point into the world of landscape photography. You’ll find yourself overwhelmed with subjects, one more extravagant than the next.
And don't forget Vatnajökull glacier; photographing this magnificent landform will be excellent practice for Arctic photographers to hone their trade, experimenting with apertures to create endless calibrations of the light on ice.
After spending a considerable part of the day in Skaftafell, you’ll continue onto Jökulsárlón to photograph its massive icebergs. Each iceberg is unique in its opacity, size, and shape, and you’ll learn to adjust to the subtleties of photography.
Something as simple as a single ray of light can change the entire composition of your pictures, and the ice is constantly shifting position. Wildlife photographers will also enjoy this site, where sneaky resident seals often pop up out of the water to say hello.
On the coastline adjacent to the lagoon, you’ll find a stretch of black sand littered with diamond-like chunks of ice. This area is called the Diamond Beach, and it’s where icebergs wash ashore after they’ve reached the ocean. It’s an excellent spot to experiment with contrasts: blue ice, white surf, black sand -- and a bright blue summer sky with rays of light that make the ice glitter like diamonds.
Once you’ve finished the day’s excursions, you’ll head back to your accommodation for the night.
Day 5 - Vatnajokull National Park
You’ll start day 5 back at Jökulsárlón and the Diamond Beach, where you’ll have an opportunity to shoot these natural wonders in a new light. Though you could spend days here experimenting with apertures, it’ll soon be time to move onto Mount Vestrahorn.
Mount Vestrahorn recalls Fantasia’s Night on Bald Mountain, even in daylight. It is an ominous peak, even under the midnight sun. As one of the few gabbro mountains in Iceland (most are basalt), its jagged, grey cliffs create drama to its serene surroundings.
While here, you’ll continue to play with perspective, framing the mountain with black sand beaches, dunes, and epic seascapes. You’ll spend a great deal of the day travelling around the Stokksnes Peninsula, searching for the ideal, idyllic viewpoint.
Before returning to your hotel, you’ll take another quick trip back to Jökulsárlón and the Diamond Beach to take photographs in the eerie evening light of high summer.
Day 6 - Vatnajokull National Park
Day 6 is an opportunity for you and your group to decide which sites in the south-east of Iceland you’d like to see next. You’ll be able to return to places that you’d like to photograph differently or in greater detail.
During the latter part of the day, your photoguides will take you to secret spots in Vatnajökull National Park. These mini expeditions are tailored to the group and will afford the opportunity to capture fresh and interesting images of South Iceland in all its splendour. And who knows? Maybe you’ll even find something completely new that nobody has ever photographed before.
Day 7 - The Eastfjords and the Myvatn Region
Your seventh day is action-packed. You’ll take a northern journey from Skaftafell, passing by the Eastfjords on your way to Lake Mývatn. Early in your travels, you’ll pass by Vestrahorn for another chance to capture its strange beauty.
Your next scheduled stop is in the Eastfjords, where you’ll have ample opportunity to capture stunning seascapes, peaceful villages, and fjords. Nature photographers will love the Eastfjords for its diverse wildlife; puffins nest in these rich grounds and seals are regularly spotted in the fjords themselves. The Eastfjords are also known for their reindeer, which were imported to Iceland by Denmark in the 18th century and have thrived here ever since.
After an afternoon in the Eastfjords, you’ll continue your trip to Iceland’s strange northern quarter. The Mývatn region, your final destination on day 7, lies on the border of a volcanic zone and presents a strange collection of natural sites that contrast with one another.
Lake Mývatn, for example, is the richest breeding ground for birds in the entire country, while nearby Krafla volcano has caused mischief in the past few decades.
Steam bursts out of the earth in the lake’s surrounding lava fields, while the river Laxá is bursting with wild salmon, from which it takes its name. But you won’t be able to see everything in a single evening; so, instead, after a short tour, you’ll settle into bed to prepare for a full day of nature and wildlife photography in the morning.
Day 8 - Myvatn Region
You’ll wake up feeling refreshed on day 8, which you’ll spend exploring the Mývatn region, which consists of lakes, islands, lava fields, Krafla volcano, and wetlands. Mývatn and nearby river Laxá jointly form the Mývatn-Laxá Nature Conservation Area because of their flora and fauna.
Nature photographers will find no shortage of animal life. There are more species of duck in Lake Mývatn than anywhere else in Europe, 15 in total. Some of the birds you can expect to see on your photo tour of the area are Harlequin Duck, Long-Tail Duck, Red-throated loon, Horned Grebe, Arctic Tern, Redshank, Golden Plover, Gyrfalcon, various passerines and much more.
The subject matter for a landscape photographer is incomparable; tall basalt pillars rise out of Lake Mývatn, and the surrounding landscape is dotted with calderas and other volcanic landforms, including Dimmuborgir “fortress”, which earned its name because of its volcanic caves and rock formation, reminiscent of a collapsed fortress.
Dimmuborgir fortress was one of the filming sites for Game of Thrones, as was the stunning lava cave Grjótagjá, which is almost cathedral-like in form and contains an underground hot spring within its walls.
Not far from the lake, you’ll find Námaskarð Pass, a geothermal area with hot sulphuric mud springs, steam springs, and dramatic fumaroles whose streams of steam dance in the changing Icelandic wind.
Day 9 - Highlands
On your penultimate day, you’ll wrap up your visit to Mývatn with an early shoot before moving onto a region that few have time to during their visit to Iceland: the Highlands. These are the interior of the island; they are expansive and dramatic, an uninhabitable volcanic desert. The images you’ll capture here will make incomparable additions to your portfolio.
The Martian landscape along the Kjölur Highland Road, which you’ll take to get to your final destination, is hauntingly lovely. You’ll be able to photograph its barren fields as you make your way to your main subjects: the 10,000-year-old Kerlingarfjöll mountains.
Kerlingarfjöll's peaks are composed of luminescent rhyolite, and the ground fluoresces in yellows, greens, blues, oranges and blacks. The green of the moss, combined with the rust red mountains, and the blue rivers makes for an incredible colour palette. A true paradise for mastering your technique.
The landscape is interspersed with rivers and hot springs, and it is host to the third largest geothermal area in the interior of Iceland. That means you’ll also spot some geysers, and with the triumphant mountain chain in your camera lens, you’ll take incredible images that truly reflect the beauty of this small volcanic island in the north.
After a day spent in the Icelandic Highlands, you’ll slowly make your way back to your hotel in Reykjavík, a drive that will take you past the most extraordinary sites that Iceland has to offer from north to south.
Day 10 - Departure
Day 10 is your final day in Iceland. If your morning is free, you may be interested in practising your new landscape photography skills in urban Reykjavík, testing out one last way of looking at the world.
Downtown Reykjavik is packed with coffee shops, boutiques, restaurants. Its buildings were largely built at the turn of the century, and its residential houses are colourful reds, yellows, blues. You might also head to the jetty, the lighthouse Grótta, or Reykjavík harbour to take a few final shots.
When it’s time to head to the airport, you'll hop aboard the bus, having had the once in a lifetime opportunity to capture the natural wonders that make Iceland famous worldwide.
What to bring
Good to know
This tour is led by award-winning instructors:
5-14 Jun 2022
3-12 Jul 2022
Please note that the tour is always dependent on weather, as the Icelandic weather can indeed be highly unpredictable.