Iceland is one of the world’s top photography destinations. With surreal landscapes, vibrant culture, and friendly people, it’s no wonder that’s the case. Photographers that want have otherworldly experiences (and the photos to prove it) can’t help but spend a few days there, capturing the beauty that surrounds them with their cameras.
The problem - and it’s a good one to have - is deciding which aspects of Iceland to spend one’s time experiencing and photographing. There’s just so much to choose from! But for those of you who seek adventure in a place that looks like it’s on another planet, we’ve put together our three favorite things photographers love about this incredible island nation.
It’s fair to say that Iceland is a land of fire and ice. Shaped by volcanic activity yet home to features like ice caves and glaciers, Iceland gives landscape photographers opportunities to capture features that aren’t every person’s typical daily view.
Snæfellsnes is one such place. Home to stunning waterfalls, and volcanic remains, photographers have no shortage of beauty to capture with their cameras. This area is home to Kirkjufell, a mountain said to have mystical powers. Surrounded by waterfalls, the mountain looks like something straight out of Lord of the Rings!
But that’s not all. Snæfellsnes is also home to pink and black sand beaches, towering 300m cliffs and thousands of nesting puffins. Fjords abound as well, as do quaint fishing villages that provide an interesting juxtaposition between the Icelandic people and their stunning environment. Hraunfossar - where a long row of waterfalls emerges from volcanic rock - is in this area too, and represents a must-see location for photographers.
The Golden Circle
If mountains and waterfalls aren’t enough, Iceland’s Golden Circle offers yet more surreal landscapes for visiting photographers. The Golden Circle includes dormant volcanoes surrounded by rock emulsion as well as rock pinnacles that look like something from the set of Star Wars. Photographers also love to document Geysir, the first geyser known to modern Europeans, which shoots water 230 feet in the air still to this day.
Perhaps the most iconic of the Golden Circle’s sights is Gullfoss, an enormous waterfall that finds its way to the Atlantic over a series of massive steps. Interestingly, as one approaches the falls, it’s termination point is obscured by the cliff’s edge, making it appear as though the water simply disappears into the earth. There are certainly many photo opportunities for the discerning photographer in the Golden Circle.
Vík í Mýrdal
One cannot go to Iceland on a photographic journey without visiting the southernmost village in Iceland, Vík í Mýrdal. Here, you will find an idyllic townscape, with Scandinavian village buildings set against the backdrop of the sea, enormous cliffs, and black sand beaches. In fact, the beach at Vík í Mýrdal is known worldwide as being one of the most breathtaking on the planet. The basalt sand, in combination with the crashing waves of the Atlantic and the stern presence of cliffs make for ideal photography opportunities.
Better still, if you’re a nature and wildlife photographer, the cliffs here are home to thousands of puffins. These gorgeous birds burrow into the soft soils here during nesting season to raise their young. From the same cliffs, you can see the remnants of a long-gone cliff line that has been whittled away by the sea. These basalt columns are just another landscape feature that looks alien in nature, and presents photographers with more fodder for their adventures.
Make the Most of Your Iceland Adventure
As noted in the introduction, the hardest part of traveling to Iceland is simply knowing which areas to include on your trip. Since one could easily spend months, if not years, touring the island for photographic pleasure, the simplest and most effective way to see the island is to do so as part of a photography tour.
There are plenty of companies offering tours of this incredible place, but at the top of our list is Discovery Photo Tours. Over the course of nine days, Discovery Photo Tours will lead you from one jaw-dropping area to the next, including each of the areas discussed above. Additionally, you’ll have time to explore Reykjavik, Iceland’s beautiful capital city, the icebergs and black sand beaches of Jökulsárlón, Vatnajökull National Park in Skaftafell, and so much more. And, perhaps the best part, these tours aren’t just about being tourists - you’ll be actively engaged in photographing these breathtaking areas with internationally acclaimed photographers right alongside you to offer tips and advice to help you improve your photos. The incredibly talented Ken Kaminesky and Patrick Di Fruscia will be leading their next tour this coming March, a combination of this talent is not to be missed..
The beauty of the Discovery Photo Tour of Iceland is that it’s designed to be an intimate experience. No enormous groups here - you’ll be traveling with a small group of photography enthusiasts who share your passion for capturing the beauty of the country. And, all levels of experience are welcome! Whether you just bought your first DSLR or mirrorless camera or you’ve spent your entire life photographing the world around you, this all-inclusive Iceland expedition is for you.
The tour will take place March 5-13, 2017. Registration is open as of this writing, visit Discovery Photo Tours to learn more and reserve your spot on this incredible tour, learn more and reserve your spot on this incredible tour.