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Chuck Standley

Chuck Standley

06/02/2022, 20:50
Review of 11 Day Photography Tour | All Around Iceland in Winter

Our trip to Iceland was one of the top ones on our retirement bucket list. I am an amateur photographer and enjoy wildlife and landscape photography. We were considering a self drive tour around Iceland to afford me the opportunity to take pictures whenever the opportunity presented itself. When I thought of the prospect of driving the winter roads in Iceland and the fact that we didn’t have enough information on where to find the best photo spots we opted for a guided tour. Again, guided tours often don’t offer the time it takes to setup and take landscapes so, we opted for a Guided Photography Tour. Guide to Iceland offered a number of choices in terms of length of trip and photo opportunities and we finally settled on an 11 day guided photo safari from Iceland Photo Tours. It included a small group tour via comfortable van, private room lodging, breakfasts and a knowledgeable photographer to inform and guide us around the island. The company also provided rubber boots for some wet photo locations and crampons for walking when it was icy outside, which was quite a bit of the time. Our guide Vincenzo Maaza was originally from Italy but has a many years long residency in Iceland and extensive experience guiding glacier, mountain, and photography tours. His prime concerns were for our group’s happiness with our photography experience in Iceland and our personal comfort. He went the extra mile in many cases to get us to the best and sometimes secret locations for photographs. He helped us in setup and showed us techniques for taking advantage of the unique landscape’s photo opportunities. He knew of many great locations but was also always on the lookout for new ones as weather changes affected the agenda for the day’s shooting. I remember one incident specially where we had been on a long day of shooting over dinner Vincenzo asked each of us, individually, whether we’d like to set up for the Aurora that evening. The weather outside was pretty frightful as it was snowing sideways. Everyone else was ready for a warm relaxing night inside and replied absolutely not. I hesitantly said no and he picked up on my slower answer to the question and repeatedly said he’d be “more than happy” to take just me out for a look. I finally convinced him that I was sincere and that convinced him to stay inside and warm too. We were treated to many excellent locations and afforded plenty of time to get our shots of the beautiful landscape. We had some good weather and some “not quite so good” weather but that is always expected and unavoidable in winter in Iceland. Vincenzo also treated us to some of his post processing knowledge on his computer on couple of evenings, before dinner, after our daily photo shoots. The accommodations were very comfortable and in some cases quaint and historical additionally. Vincenzo’s driving skills were on display a number of times when it was particularly windy and/or snowy and icy. We all felt safe in the company’s modern, comfortable van and when we were out tromping around, fitted with our crampons. We really made to feel as though we were a group of lifelong friends on a road trip together. The trip was as memorable as we had hoped and the photos taken will help us remember the trip the rest of our lives.