Iconic Iceland in Winter Workshop
Feb 20 – 27, 2022
Photo Tour Summary:
Join us on this 8 day Winter workshop to capture the iconic locations of Iceland – from stunning waterfalls to majestic mountains, black sand beaches, epic canyons, glacier lagoons, volcanic coastlines and the elusive Northern Lights!
During this photography adventure we hope to capture the Northern Lights while photographing the quintessential landscapes under an ethereal palette of golden colors.
Aimed at photographers of all skill level – beginner, amateur or a professional – you’ll be sure to come away from this workshop with a diverse portfolio of images of Iceland.
The highlights of this photography tour
Northern Lights Photography
Iceland is one of the best places to capture the amazing coloured patterns of lights dancing across the dark Arctic sky. Aurora, often called northern lights, is driven by the energy coming from the sun as it often produces mass ejections of charged particles that get trapped by the Earth's magnetic field. Guided by the magnetic field, the particles then flow toward the Earth's poles where they collide with nitrogen and oxygen in the upper atmosphere producing the green, blue and red lights on the sky. However, witnessing this magical phenomenon is not guaranteed because there are other factors which can have an impact on the visibility of Aurora such as dark, clear skies and pleasant weather conditions. And since the weather can be varied from different locations, we will keep a keen eye out for chasing the Northern Lights during our tour as we offer you the chance to photograph this wonderful phenomenon.
Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon and the famous Ice Beach
As we will be staying close to the magnificent Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon, the large glacial lake on the edge of Vatnajökull National Park, we will have a great deal of chances to photograph the massive icebergs on the lagoon and the chunks of ice that break away and drift towards the ice beach. The reflection of the icebergs on the water makes this a wonderful opportunity for stunning photography. And with luck, this scene will be more intensified by a brilliant display of the Northern Lights. Meanwhile, the scene from the famous ice beach includes the interplay of light, dark sands, glistening ice and movements of the waves which make this location a photographer’s playground, making every shot magical and monumental.
Snæfellsnes peninsula is one of the best places in Iceland to view and photograph the Northern Lights. This area is a wonderland, stretching as a vast mountain ridge with active volcanoes. The mountains themselves are furthermore incredibly diverse. At the end of the peninsula is the legendary Snaefellsjokull glacier, around which is a national park. There are beautiful beaches in the area, incredible lava and rock formations, multiple caves of various kinds, as well as craters and stunning lava fields. The area also features prominently in the sagas. All this, coupled with the Northern Lights, is a photographer‘s dream. Visiting the towns and villages, and farmsteads of the peninsula, such as Bjarnarhofn, Stykkisholmur, Rif, Hellissandur, Olafsvik and Grundarfjordur is pleasant in itself. Above Grundarfjordur rises my favorite mountain to shoot in Iceland, the beautiful Kirkjufell. From the right angle it resembles a nature-made pyramid and always always seems to offer something new and interesting.
When: Feb 20-27, 2022
Cost: US$4,190 based on double occupancy ($1000 more for single occupancy)
Group size: 12 maximum
Category: Photography Workshop
Tour Leader: William Yu
Workshop URL: www.williamyuphotoworkshops.com/iconic-iceland
The cost of this Workshop includes:
8 day workshop with 7 nights accommodation (double occupancy)
Award-winning, professional Photo Guides who will provide a combination of instruction, masterclasses, and in-field guidance
Transportation during the workshop in a comfortable vehicle with ample room for you and your photography gear
Welcome lunch on Day 1
Breakfasts at the hotels during the workshop
Post-processing sessions with Photo Guides
Complimentary use of boots for the Diamond Beach
Access to exclusive discounts on gear from our partners
The cost does NOT include:
Travel to and from Iceland
Single room supplement
Food and beverages (other than breakfasts and Welcome lunch)
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
Physical demand: Easy
The entire trip is relatively easy physically, no long or tedious hikes/climbs. Most shooting spots are quite accessible from the road or parking lot.
Food in Iceland:
The hidden jewels of this tour are the delicious Icelandic meals, you will taste variety of best food Iceland offers: mushroom soup, lambs, arctic char, beef meatball, fresh vegetables, pizzas, reindeer hamburger, fantastic desserts, Icelandic skyr, local Kaffi... It's a wonderful culinary experience.
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 seep 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.
Day 3: Golden Circle
We will return to Kirkjufell to capture the mountain at sunrise before we say goodbye to the peninsula and head to the Golden Circle, the route known for its three famous, natural attractions.
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.
The last is Gullfoss, 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!
Day 4: Vatnajökull National Park
Throughout the day under changing light, the landscapes of Iceland can appear dramatically different. To ensure our portfolios are varied, we will return to Strokkur to capture the shooting water at sunrise.
The rest of 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
We will begin the day early with sunrise at one of the most extraordinary locations in Iceland, Diamond Beach – the final resting place for the icebergs that have calved from the nearby glacier and made their way out to sea. The icebergs are pounded by the waves and smashed into smaller chunks of ice that then wash up onto the black sand where they lay, glistening like diamonds. We will have plenty of time to photograph this spectacular beach – the memories of watching the ice glow in the Golden Hour light will last a lifetime.
We will then continue along the Ring Road to Vestrahorn, the strikingly photogenic mountain that sits alone on the shore of the wild Atlantic Ocean. This vista is even more spectacular in its winter coat, surrounded by ice shards that have formed over the shallow pools at low tide, and the undulating black sand dunes capped with snow.
We will spend the afternoon exploring the many composition options, staying to photograph the jagged peaks against the backdrop of a winter sunset. We will also keep an eye on the Northern Lights forecast so we are ready to capture the reflection of the aurora blazing above the mountain.
Accommodations: Vatnajökull National Park
Day 6: Vatnajökull National Park to South Coast
Diamond Beach has endless photo opportunities, so we will head back for another sunrise and practice our long exposure skills.
We will then start our journey back along the south coast to Vík, where we will spend the afternoon and sunset capturing Reynisfjara Beach with its tall basalt columns, dramatic black volcanic sand, and impressive sea stacks.
This will be our last opportunity to chase the Northern Lights, and there are many amazing locations nearby we can go to photograph them, should they appear.
Day 7: South Coast
Today will be our final day of shooting, and we will spend it exploring the wonders of the South Coast and a stop at the highlights of the Golden Circle.
We will rise early to capture the sea stacks from a different vantage point and in sunrise light before visiting the promontory of Dyrhólaey with its massive arch, historic lighthouse and spectacular views over the coastline.
Our last stops will be at two of Iceland‘s most picturesque waterfalls: Seljalandsfoss – with its path that leads behind the veil of falling water, and Skógafoss – a waterfall so mighty you will feel the mist before you reach it. Snow and glittering icicles will add an extra touch of wonder, and if the lighting is right, we will be able to capture rainbows in their spray!
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 favourite 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 memory cards full of amazing images of Iceland as a winter wonderland.
We will not say goodbye, but “see you later”, because it is very likely we will cross paths again.
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 late August and April, there is no guarantee that they will appear on a given day. There is however always plenty to see and do if conditions do not favor any part of our original plan. Bear in mind that the itinerary of tour is always kept flexible, due to possible changes in weather.
Frequently Asked Questions:
What to bring for this trip?
Your camera, tripod, lenses covering the range of wide angle through telephoto(15mm through 300mm), filters including polarizer, graduated neutral density, neutral density.
Winter clothing for the chilly morning and night, sometimes windy weather. We will be shooting at early morning and late evening, even at night.
How do I sign up and pay for this tour?
A deposit of $300 is required for this workshop to hold your spot, you can pay by Visa, Mastercard or PayPal via PayPal.com or send a check (U.S. residents only). The balance is due on Dec 1, 2021. All participants must sign William Yu Photography Workshops/Tours Liability Waiver Form and show the proof of travel insurance before the tour starts.
How many participants do you allow?
Workshop size is limited to 10 attendees, which ensures that every attendee will get full attention. We need minimum of 8 attendees to make the trip.
What photographic skill level is required to benefit from this tour?
Any people who has a basic understanding of exposure all the way to the advanced amateur and professional who is in search of a fresh perspective!
What is your refund or cancellation policy?
No refunds will be given for delays or cancellations due to inclement weather, (which interestingly, can result in some of the most some amazing shots!), either before or during the tour. If the tour is cancelled by the organizer, we will notify you immediately and you will be issued full refund. We are not responsible for any additional costs you may incur due to any delays or cancellations.
No Refunds for USD300 deposit if cancelled.
50% refund of full payment Dec 1 – Dec 31 2021.
No refund after Dec 31, 2021.
I have some questions, how do I learn more?
Please send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.