11 Day Autumn in Iceland Photography Workshop with Waterfalls & Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon
Prepare for 11 days of adventure with this fantastic photography workshop capturing Iceland’s stunning natural environments under autumnal light. This is an amazing opportunity for both aspiring and professional photographers looking to heighten their skills behind the lens, as well as photography hobbyists looking to experience as many of Iceland’s impressive landscapes as possible.
Iceland is a photographers paradise, a land of fiery volcanoes, glittering glaciers, cascading waterfalls and staggering mountainscapes. This gorgeous ambience is only heightened during autumn when the sun’s soft golden glow paints the country in a warm, ethereal light. You, as a participant on this 11-day workshop, will visit some of the country’s most beloved locations, including the Snæfellsnes Peninsula, the picturesque South Coast and even Vatnajökull National Park, capturing its many staggering sights as you do so.
Under the tutelage of award-winning photography guides, you will learn a host of new skills and approaches to photography, making some essential contributions to your personal portfolio. You will learn techniques in timelapse, how to captures waves, sun rays and rainbows, practising your newfound skills at each site. One of the major benefits of partaking in a tour such as this is the incredible breadth of experience that you as a guest can draw from your guide.
Fix on your lens and ready yourself for this fantastic 11-day photography workshop taking place in Iceland this autumn. Check availability by choosing a date.
Day 1 - Arrival to Iceland
It’s your first day in Iceland, so best be ready for the trip of a lifetime! You’ll be arriving at Iceland’s only international airport, Keflavík, from where you will take a bus transfer to the capital, Reykjavík.
Throughout your journey, you will be immediately captivated by the rough, volcanic landscapes of the Reykjanes Peninsula, providing your first insight into just why Iceland is so beloved by photographers worldwide.
You will arrive in Reykjavík, check into your hotel and spend some time settling into the new abode. Then, as early evening draws in, you will meet your guides and group for the first time. Together, you will enjoy a meal in one of the city’s most acclaimed restaurants and discuss the adventures to come.
After some fine tasting Icelandic cuisine and a few drinks, you will head back to your hotel accommodation for a night’s of well-deserved rest. Best conserve your energy; tomorrow is a whole other day.
Day 2 - Snaefellsnes Peninsula I
Today is your first real day of the workshop. You will be picked up from your hotel early in a comfortable and spacious bus, then driven westward to the Snaefellsnes Peninsula, often referred to as “Iceland in Miniature” due to its wide variety of natural attractions. These attractions include such sights as snow-blanketed stratovolcanoes, rugged coastlines, charming fishing villages and rolling farmlands.
On the south side of the peninsula, you will spend some time photographing the region’s rugged coastlines, ancient sea cliffs and peculiar rock formations. The photos you take here will provide your viewer’s with a true insight into the ferocity of the elements in Iceland, showing in great detail how the wind and waves continue to sculpt Iceland’s outer edges.
You will also be paying a visit to the coastal village of Arnstapi, as well as the iconic black church of Búðir where, hopefully, the Northern Lights will make an appearance.
On the evening of your second day, you will be staying at accommodation in the Snaefellsnes Peninsula.
Day 3 - Snaefellsnes Peninsula II
Your third day will see you continuing your exploration of the Snaefellsnes Peninsula, making sure to hit the major sites that were skipped over the previous day, including charming coastal villages and, of course, the domineering Snæfellsjökull glacier. As aforementioned, one of the greatest charms of the peninsula is its sheer range of attractions, meaning guests will always find something worthy of pulling out the camera for.
You will also be paying a visit to the most photographed mountain in Iceland, Kirkjufell, known most famously as the “mountain like an arrowhead” from HBO’s fantasy show, ‘Game of Thrones’.
Whilst at the site, you will be able to photograph the picturesque waterfall, Kirkjufellsfoss, in the foreground, as well Grundarfjörður Bay in the distance. With any luck, this visit will happily coincide with the appearance of the Northern Lights above, allowing for some truly fantastical shots.
Day 4 - Hraunfossar Waterfall & The Golden Circle
Your first stop of the day will be at the waterfall, Hraunfossar. In fact, it is perhaps more acute to describe Hraunfossar as a series of waterfalls, travelling a total distance of 900 metres from Hallmundarhraun lava field. This is why the waterfall’s name translates directly to “Lava Falls”, meaning photographers here will have an incredible time figuring out the best ways of photographing the feature’s peculiar rock formations and striking colour contrasts.
After your time at the waterfall is over, you will head to the first stop of the famous Golden Circle sightseeing tour, Þingvellir National Park. This is a UNESCO World Heritage site due to a number of reasons; first, it is one of the only places on the planet where it is possible to see both the Eurasian and North American tectonic plate standing exposed from earth. Second, it is the original site of the Alþingi, the world’s oldest elected parliament.
Your second stop of the day will be at Haukadalur geothermal valley. This area is beloved for its steaming fumaroles, bubbling mud cauldrons and, of course, the famous geysers, Geysir and Strokkur. Geyser now lays dormant (though it can take solace in knowing that its name was lent to geysers across the world), whilst Strokkur is known to erupt every five to ten minutes, shooting a huge plume of water over twenty metres in the air.
Your third and final stop of the famed Golden Circle tour is Gullfoss waterfall, otherwise known as “The Golden Falls”. This mighty natural feature sees glacial water cascade over two rocky tiers, dropping a total of 32 metres into a dark, dramatic gorge below. Thankfully, Gullfoss has a number of observation points from where you snap your photographs.
On the evening of Day 4, you will spend the night in accommodation within the Geysir area.
Day 5 - The South Coast
Having already visited Iceland’s most popular sights, you will now discover some of the natural attractions only accessible to those with a solid period of time in the country. You will awake early, heading along Iceland’s picturesque South Coast towards your first stop of the day, Seljalandsfoss.
Seljalandsfoss, boasting a drop of 60 metres, sees a narrow channel of water cascading over the lip of the region’s ancient sea cliffs, creating a truly photogenic scene. Seljalandsfoss, unlike most waterfalls in Iceland, also a boast a shallow cave behind the falling water itself, allowing for some truly unique perspectives.
A little further along the coast, you will also make a stop at Skógafoss, a much wider waterfall (though the same height) that creates enormous plumes at its base, resulting in stunning rainbows to compliment your photographs. Guests can either choose to snapshot this magnificent feature from its base or ascend the waterfall’s adjacent staircase to capture it alongside a stunning vista of the South Coast.
To focus on some real panoramic landscapes shot, however, you will pay a visit to the small peninsula, Dyrhólaey, where you will be met with stunning views of black sand beaches, jagged sea cliffs and distant glaciers and mountainscapes. This will also provide you with the opportunity to photograph the peninsula’s iconic rock arch.
Your final stop of the day will be at the black sand beach, Reynisfjara, known to be one of the most beautiful non-tropical beaches in the world. Upon your first time visiting, you will be immediately be taken with the stark contrasts created between the volcanic sand and the frothing white waves, as well as the distinctive basalt rock columns that line the beach cliffs.
That evening, you will be staying in accommodation in the coastal village of Vík, located just beside Reynisfjara black sand beach.
Day 6 - Vatnajokull National Park I
Continuing along the South Coast, you will pass an eclectic range of landscapes, from black sand deserts to rolling farmlands, until you reach the borders of Vatnajökull National Park, named after the glacier that dominates this area.
One of the major highlights of the day will be the glacial lagoon, Jökulsárlón, known by its nickname, “The Crown Jewel of Iceland” due to its sheer aesthetic quality. This lagoon sees icebergs break away from the glacial tongue, Breiðamerkurjökull—itself extending down from the much larger ice cap, Vatnajökull—before falling onto the lagoon’s flat surface.
Once there, icebergs of all different shapes and sizes float peacefully, sometimes bumping into one another with a low grumble. Keen observers may also have the opportunity to photograph one of the resident seals who call Jökulsárlón home, (and that’s not evening mentioning the wild, often dive bombing Skua birds).
You will also check out the lagoon’s exit point, the Diamond Beach, where the icebergs escape out into the wide Atlantic Ocean or, alternatively, wash ashore onto the jet black pebbles, thus providing this stretch of shoreline its name.
You will also be heading a short way into Skaftafell Nature Reserve in order to photograph waterfalls such as Svartifoss, one of the most beautiful features in the area.
Svartifoss drops 20 metres (80ft) in a thin cascade but is most recognised for the black, basalt columns that frame the water itself. These peculiar formations have served as the inspiration for the architecture of Hallgrímskirkja Church and the National Theatre, both of which can be found in the capital.
Day 7 - Vatnajokull National Park II
It is your second day in Vatnajökull National Park, meaning that you’ll be focusing your attention on photographing Jökulsárlón and the nearby Diamond Beach. One of the most beautiful aspects of this area is just how different it looks under different lighting conditions, making for vital differentiations in your ever-growing photography portfolio.
Heading back down to Diamond Beach, your guides will likely explain the best techniques for capturing the shoreline’s frothing white waves. This may be how best to pull out the striking contrasts between the surf, sand and volcanic pebbles, or how to utilise time-lapse photography around the icebergs. Your time at Diamond Beach will provide you with some of the most recognisable shots during your time in Iceland.
You will hang around the area until the early evening, snapping the glacier lagoon under all different types of light condition. You will stay until the sky is pitch black, whereupon you can photograph the lagoon under a blanket of starlight or, hopefully, under the shimmering waves of the Aurora Borealis.
If you are one of the lucky ones, this time has the opportunity to produce some truly award-winning photographs, capturing two staggering natural phenomena within a single frame.
Day 8 - Vatnajokull National Park III
Today, you will be heading further east, finally arriving upon the scenic Stokksnes Beach. Here, there is only one mountain worthy of a mention; the staggeringly dramatic Vestrahorn. This mountain is known as “Batman Mountain” to Icelanders due to its sharp, pointed peaks and long, drawn-out slopes.
You will chill out in this area for a little while, taking in your incredible surroundings and paying close attention as your guide teaches you the correct techniques to best maximise your snapshots. As night draws in, you may have the opportunity to capture Vestrahorn under the dancing green, yellow and red waves of the Northern Lights.
After you time on Stokknes Beach is over, you will head back to your accommodation in the Vatnajökull area, ready for an early trip back along the South Coast to Vík í Mýrdal.
Day 9 - Vik Village & Reynisfjara Beach
On Day 9, you will start the morning by heading back along the scenic South Coast, making a number of stops as you do, based your guide’s discretion and the weather.
You will, once again, be finishing the day in the village Vík í Mýrdal. Now that you have a little more time in the area, you will be able to focus more closely on photographing the area’s natural delights, as well as the quintessential streets and buildings of the town.
Heading back down to Reynisfjara beach, you will, again, make the most out of your opportunity to practise your newfound skills under different conditions. This also allows for another chance to capture the iconic rocks, Reynisdrangar, known to be on the most recognisable sights of the South Coast.
Day 10 - Heading Back To The Capital
Today, you will be leaving Vík í Mýrdal, heading back along the South Coast toward the capital city, Reykjavík.
You will, however, be paying a final visit to Reynisfjara black sand beach where, once again, you are advised to capture as many different perspectives of the area as possible. This will be an early start, allowing you to photograph a glorious sunrise over the region.
This will further enlarge the size of your photography portfolio which, alongside the memories you have made in Iceland, will be one of the greatest rewards of your trip here.
After your time at the beach is over, you will make the return journey back to Reykjavík, Iceland’s capital. Sitting back in the passenger seat of your comfortable and spacious mini-bus, you will relish this final opportunity to see firsthand the many exciting attractions South Iceland holds as they pass by your window.
Depending on time and conditions, your guide may also make other stops on this return journey where you can further practise your newfound photography skill set.
You will be spending the evening back at your hotel accommodation in Reykjavík.
Day 11 - Departure Day
It is the final day of your trip to Iceland, and you can take solace in the photography skills that have you have learnt here, as well as the by-now bulging portfolio in your possession, complete with a whole new array of contributions that best showcase your prowess as a landscape photographer.
If you have some time left in Reykjavík before your flight, it is advised that you make the most of the city, checking out its charming restaurants, bars and cafes or, alternatively, discovering some of its most iconic attractions, such as Perlan Museum, the Sun Voyager sculpture or the Lutheran Church, Hallgrímskirkja.
Finally, when the time is up, you will board a bus transfer across the haunting Reykjanes Peninsula, taking a final opportunity to absorb this country’s enchanting landscapes.
Until next time!
What to bring
Good to know
This tour is led by award-winning instructors:
2-12 Oct 2021
2-12 Oct 2022
Please note that the tour is always dependent on weather, as the Icelandic weather can indeed be highly unpredictable.
When it comes to the Northern Lights, while they are most likely to be seen between September and April, there is no guarantee that they will appear on a given day.