Iceland: Winter Skies and Crystal Caves
Join us on an immersive photography adventure to see one of the most incredible landscapes in the world transformed into a winter wonderland.
Iceland boasts some of the world’s most breathtaking scenery during winter including magnificent frozen waterfalls, snow-capped mountains, dramatic volcanic beaches, glistening ice caves and the elusive Northern Lights.
During this 8-Day workshop, we will capture these natural wonders as we explore the Snæfellsnes Peninsula, South Coast, Vatnajökull National Park and Golden Circle.
Aimed at photographers of all skill level – whether you are a beginner, amateur or a professional, you’ll be sure to come away from this workshop with a diverse portfolio of images of Iceland in one of its most beautiful seasons.
- A focus on Landscape, Northern Lights and Golden Hour photography
- Observing the dynamic nature between ice and fire in Iceland, a country forged through the combined forces of glaciers and volcanic activity
- Exploring ice caves hidden within Europe’s largest glacier
- Visiting the unforgettable Diamond Beach
- Capturing the unique geothermal and geological sites of the UNESCO World Heritage Listed Golden Circle
- Going on the chase of a lifetime for the Northern Lights
- Learning new photography skills, such as tips for shooting during golden hour, sunrise/sunset and night
- Learning advanced photography techniques to make the most of lighting and locations such as bracketing, focus stacking and long exposures
- A small workshop so your experience is truly personal, and you get to know your guides and fellow photographers
- 8-day workshop with 7 nights accommodation in double occupancy rooms
- 2 award-winning, professional photographer guides who will provide a combination of instruction, masterclasses, post-processing assistance and in-field guidance
- Transportation during the workshop in comfortable vehicles modified to handle the Icelandic road winter conditions
- Welcome and Farewell dinners on Days 1 and 7
- Breakfasts at the hotels during the workshop
- Masterclasses and Post-processing lectures
- Expert in-field guidance
- Travel expenses to and from Iceland
- Airport transfers
- Single room supplement (available for an additional $750 US)
- Food and beverages (other than breakfasts, Welcome and Farewell dinners)
- Items of a personal nature including (but not limited to) laundry services, clothing, Wi-Fi, email or phone charges
- Gratuities for Photo Guides, local guides and/or drivers
A 3% charge is added using this service. Please contact us if you prefer other payment options.
Day 1 – Arrival
The workshop starts in the capital city of Reykjavik, where we will meet over a welcome dinner to get to know each other and discuss the workshop itinerary together.
You can use your free time before dinner to explore this vibrant capital and its abundance of photo opportunities. Be sure to visit the Sun Voyager with its picturesque views towards Mount Esja, the kaleidoscopic Harpa Concert Hall – a visual wonder from every angle, the incredible street art scattered throughout the city, and the iconic Hallgrímskirkja with its unparalleled 360° views over the colourful capital.
Day 2 – Snæfellsnes Peninsula
Today we will set off early to start our adventure, making our way to the Snæfellsnes Peninsula. This area is fondly known as ‘Iceland in Miniature’, as here you can get a taste of all the natural wonders Iceland has to offer – waterfalls, volcanic craters, lava fields and black sand beaches. It is especially beautiful in winter with the rugged, volcanic landscape draped in a soft blanket of snow and ice, under soft winter light.
We will stop at Hraunfossar, where water from an underground spring seeps through a lava field, emerging as if out of nowhere.
We will visit the coastal village of Arnarstapi, where nature has carved magnificent arches and jagged rock formations from the black lava cliffs.
A highlight today will be Kirkjufell Mountain – one of Iceland’s most famous landmarks. With its distinctive shape like a church steeple, it sits by itself on the edge of the sea, towering above its surroundings. We will spend sunset here, exploring its many composition options. Should the Northern Lights appear, our expert guides will be on hand to help capture images of the aurora dancing over the mountain.
Accommodations: Snæfellsnes Peninsula
Day 3 – Golden Circle to the South Coast
The first is Þingvellir National Park where we can walk along the Almannagjá gorge – the rift valley between the European and North American tectonic plates where Iceland is tearing apart. Flowing into this valley is the stunning Öxarárfoss falls, often covered in dazzling icicles during winter.
The second is Haukadalur, a geothermal area shaped by the forces of earth and fire, with bubbling mud pits, hot springs and steaming fumaroles. We’ll have our cameras at the ready to capture the extraordinary activity of Strokkur, a geyser that spouts jets of scalding water over 20 metres into the air every 10 minutes.
We will visit Gullfoss next, the Golden Waterfall. Here the water cascades over two tiers before dropping dramatically into a narrow, deep canyon. We will spend the afternoon and sunset exploring the viewpoints above the falls, where it can appear as if the river is disappearing into the earth!
The group will continue farther south where we will hope to catch the sunset at Seljalandsfoss.
Day 4 – Vatnajökull National Park
The day will be spent travelling through the south coast along the foothills of the Vatnajökull glacier, past majestic mountain ranges and incredible glacial tongues that stretch down from the ice cap towards the sea.
There are countless places we can stop to stretch our legs and capture the incredible vistas. One of these is Fjaðrárgljúfur, a magnificent canyon with deep, unusually shaped walls that twist and turn. It is especially epic viewed from above, where it resembles a zipper ripping along the earth.
Our final destination will be Jökulsárlón. At this beautiful lagoon, icebergs in an array of shapes and sizes calve from the nearby glacial tongue and slowly drift towards the sea. It is a magical experience to see them float by in their palette of colours – turquoise, frosted white, deep blue and even black. We will stay here to capture the sun setting over the lagoon and will hopefully have an opportunity to shoot it beneath the Northern Lights.
Accommodations: Vatnajökull National Park
Day 5 – Vatnajökull National Park
Today is sure to be one of the highlights of our photo adventure. We will wake up early for a sunrise shoot on the Diamond beach. That is an amazing experience in itself but we have more in store! We will travel on a modified super-jeep to venture deeper into Europe’s largest glacier. We will explore the frozen world of the crystal ice caves hidden within. Prepare to be amazed by their detailed texture and stunning, intense colors!
We will continue on to epic views of Vestrahorn where we will hope to catch the sunset and northern lights before returning to our accommodation for another masterclass.
Accommodations: Vatnajökull National Park
Day 6 – Vatnajökull National Park
We will rise early to capture another sunrise on the Diamond Beach before we start our journey back to Vik to photograph the beautiful basalt columns of Reynisfjara as well as the impressive cliffs at Dyrholaey. We will visit some hidden gems along the south coast before retiring at our hotel in Vik for a post-processing session and/or a Northern Lights chase.
Day 7 – South Coast
We will then slowly head back towards Reykjavik, exploring some little-known gems along the way.
Once we reach Reykjavik, we will share one last dinner together. This will be a special night, where we will fondly reminisce about our adventure, sharing stories and talking about our favorite places.
Day 8 – Departure
After breakfast you will make your way to the airport to fly home, with memories to last a lifetime, new friends, and an impressive portfolio full of amazing images of Iceland as a winter wonderland.
We are not fond of goodbyes so we hope that we can be a part of your future photo adventures!
We will be staying in clean, comfortable hotels throughout this workshop.
Hotel accommodations will include breakfast and pricing is based on double room occupancy.
For an additional cost you may request a single room - please note this is subject to room availability, and at the discretion of Viking International Phototours based on workshop attendees.
We will check daily for Northern Lights activity and weather forecast and plan our day based on these predictions. If conditions are not favorable for Northern Lights photography, we will use the time for post-processing sessions.
Iceland is absolutely stunning from the ground, and just as amazing with a birds-eye-view of the landscape. There are drone-friendly places, so if you own a drone, you are welcome to bring it along to the workshop.
Please note that you are solely responsible for your equipment, and are expected to adhere to all rules and regulations as specified by the Icelandic Transport Authority (which can be accessed here). Viking International Phototours and our Photo Guides will not be liable for any injury or damage caused to equipment, environment or people caused by you operating your drone during our workshop.
Please also note that the wind and weather in Iceland can be sudden and hazardous, so use your judgement and be mindful of conditions.
Iceland is extremely rugged and harsh. Strong winds, rain, mud and the terrain are real dangers when photographing on location. You will be expected to follow instructions to ensure you are kept safe and out of harm’s way.
You must also advise Viking International Phototours in writing of any illness, injury or pre-existing medical conditions that might reasonably be expected to affect your attendance and participation during the workshop.
The itinerary for our workshop is subject to change at the discretion of our Photo Guides depending on the Icelandic weather, which can be highly unpredictable. We will check the weather forecasts and road conditions and plan our day to optimize shooting conditions. We cannot guarantee that we will be able to visit all the locations on the itinerary.
As this workshop focuses on landscape and Northern Lights photography, we will aim to shoot in the best light to get the best possible photos for your portfolio. This means on some days we may be shooting between sunset and sunrise, and sleep during the day.