Photo Tour Summary:
Join us on a two week photography adventure through the the best of Iceland’s majestic landscapes. Look skywards to capture the northern lights, photograph glaciers from a stone’s throw away, gaze through ethereal waterfalls, and marvel at some of the finest coastlines you’ll ever come across. This is a workshop like no other, set in autumn in arguably the world’s most photogenic country, with two expert guides well versed in both the local culture and the art of photography.
'Around Iceland in September’ is as comprehensive a photo tour of Iceland as you could wish for. The group will cover almost all epic locations around the island, travel aboard a comfortable and spacious bus and our modified jeep, learning new techniques as together we take your photography skills to the next level.
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.
Timelapse of Northern Lights captured at Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon during March 2016 Iceland photo tour
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: Sep 3 – 16, 2018
Cost: US$7,399 (Former williamyuphotoworkshop attendee discount and group discount available, email email@example.com to inquire)
Group size: 12 maximum
Category: Photography Tour
Tour Leader: William Yu
Workshop URL: www.williamyuphotoworkshops.com/iceland2018.html
The comfy customized red bus of our group.
Photo Tour Itinerary:
Day 1: Sep 3 - Arrival
On your first day in Iceland, you will land at Keflavik International Airport and then take the flybus towards your hotel in central Reykjavik. We‘ll meet up at 7:00pm in the lobby and then go to a nearby restaurant and get to know each other.There you will also get know more about the adventures awaiting you. You will spend the night at your Reykjavik hotel.
Day 2: Sep 4 - Snæfellsnes Peninsula
We will collect you from your hotel at 8 in the morning, before beginning the journey north to the start of the tour in the Snæfellsnes Peninsula, west Iceland. We will spend two nights there in total, taking our time capturing the jagged rock formations along the coast near Arnarstapi in the autumn light. Arnarstapi is a quaint fishing village, where the rolling waves of the Atlantic produce a lovely interplay between the ocean haze and the light. Further along the coast, the famous black church of Budir will provide another picture-perfect scene, helped by its stunning backdrop: the icy Snæfellsjökull Glacier.
To top of the day, we will take in the otherworldly sight of Mt. Kirkjufell, easily one of Iceland´s most beautiful mountains. It’s well known for its almost perfect cone-shaped form, and the surrounding waterfall, rivers and hills make the area a photographer’s paradise. The mountain also provides the perfect foreground for Aurora Borealis, so we’ll cross our fingers that the lights come out to play while we’re there. The result will take pride of place in your portfolio.
Day 3: Sep 5 - Snæfellsnes Peninsula
On the third day we will continue our exploration of the Snæfellsnes peninsula, known affectionately as the "miniature Iceland", purely because of the incredible variety to be found in its natural landscapes. The entire coastline is dotted with photogenic, charming little small villages, and the colours of the fall will be all around for the group to enjoy. Mighty mountains and fjords will surround us throughout our time in the area, so prepare to capture plenty of iconic images, including the huge basalt stones of Londrangar. Your night will then again be spent at Snæfellsnes.
Day 4: Sep 6 - Hvitserkur
On the fourth day we will leave Snæfellsnes and head north to another peninsula, Vatnsnes. The area is known for having a wild side, and offers a great chance to see, among other things, some magical Icelandic horses in their natural habitat. Some more of Iceland’s fantastic nature, the local seals, might also come into focus as we venture to the eastern side of the peninsula, along the coastal region of Strandir in the Westfjords.
For photography, our main focus will be on Hvitserkur, a 15m high basalt carving that emerges from the sea in the most spectacular way imaginable. It’s said that the stone resembles a dragon taking a drink, or in another viewpoint, one of the local trolls. According to legend around these parts, the stone is a troll who couldn’t escape the rising sun in time, and was turned to stone! Whatever your thoughts on the origination of Hvitserkur, the mysterious rock is tremendously photogenic, and we will make sure to spend plenty of time in the area to capture it from several angles and in different lights.
Day 5: Sep 7 - Lake Myvatn
After an early breakfast in Akureyri, the group will set out for Godafoss, the ‘fall of the gods’, for a sunrise shoot. As the name suggests, this is one of Iceland’s most epic waterfalls, and during the autumn there will be plenty of subtle colours around to balance out the sheer power of the falls. Godafoss is perfect for a sunrise shoot, and its semicircular shape means there are plenty of angles to play with in the emerging light.
With the sun up, we will head east toward lake Myvatn, one of Iceland’s breathtaking bodies of water, formed by a volcanic eruption which has certainly left its mark. Eerie rock formations and craters remain scattered through the area, and the lava pillars are a photographer’s dream. If we have time, we will also explore the unique sculptures and rock formations of Dimmuborgir, to the east of the great lake. The area looks a lot like another planet, which probably explains why several scenes from the epic TV series Game of Thrones were shot there.
Overnight at Myvatn.
Day 6: Sep 8 - Lake Myvatn
On day six we will take our super jeep out into the Icelandic highlands to see two more beautiful waterfalls on the Skjálfandafljót river, Aldeyjarfoss and Hrafnabjargafoss. At the first falls we will capture the contrast between the dark basalt columns of Aldeyjarfoss and the clear water of the autumn plunging below. Next up is Hrafnabjargafoss, again embedded into volcanic rock, but with a pristine blue pool at its feet that will provide every photo with a hint of magic.
Day 7: Sep 9 - Lake Myvatn
On day seven of our photography adventure, we will carry on our exploration of the area around lake Myvatn. To the east is the colorful geothermal area of Namaskard, where the mixture of orange sands, bubbling vents and geothermal activity provides plenty of opportunities to capture Iceland’s wild side.
As well as the active geothermal area, we’ll visit a place that owes its existence to Iceland’s volcanic history, Hverfell. Hverfell is one of the world‘s largest explosion craters, with a diameter of around 1km. After all of that, the group will take a collective sigh of comfort in the Myvatn Nature Baths, in many ways the Blue Lagoon of the north.
We will once again stay overnight in Myvatn.
Day 8: Sep 10 - East Iceland-Djúpivogur
The journey through the Autumnal Icelandic landscape continues as the group heads east on day eight. The destination: Jokulsargljufur National Park. On the way there, we will take some time to capture the mighty Dettifoss, Europe’s most powerful waterfall, in all its glory. 100 meters wide and 45 meters high; this is one waterfall you’re not going to forget in a hurry. Armed with your camera and plenty of new photography skills, there will be the opportunity to collect some epic memories during this particular stop.
Afterward we’ve had the proverbial cobwebs blown away by the power of Dettifoss, the group will traverse a highland desert and a mountain pass to reach the timeless Eastfjords. We will also be entering the vicinity of the Vatnajokull Glacier, Europe’s largest glacier and a national park. Photography-wise, the area is packed with textures, from mountainous fjords to barren volcanic desert and ice-capped glacier. We will spend the night in the quaint fishing village of Djupivogur, and appreciate the harbour’s spectacular, mountainous backdrop.
Whilst in the area we will also have the chance to photograph the Rjukandi Falls - a layered waterfall that makes its way down a nearby mountainside with both grace and formidable force. It’ll make for a superb photography session, surrounded by the reds and yellows of the Icelandic fall.
Day 9: Sep 11 - Jökulsárlón
Day nine sees the photography tour begin to understand what makes Iceland such a magnificent place to visit. We will head to the famous Vatnajökull National Park, home to a number of natural spectacles that, simply put, can only be witnessed here in Iceland. We will spend three days near the world famous Jökulsárlón lagoon - the prime location for photographers seeking to capture nature in action, as huge blocks of ice break of the glacier and float effortlessly on the lagoon and out to sea. Huge blocks of ice sounds almost clumsy, but these are some of the most serene, artistic scenes to be found in the natural world. So picture that, but with the added embellishment of an Icelandic sunset or sunrise. If we’re lucky, we may even witness some of the local seals swimming in the lagoon.
Day 10: Sep 12- Jökulsárlón
On the tenth day of the tour we will continue exploring the icy serenity of Jökulsárlón. As a group we will take our time photographing the glistening icebergs, and also capture some great shots of ice crystals washed up and scattered across the black sand beaches. We’ll start early with a sunrise shoot from the beach, and aim to capture the sun’s first rays illuminating the lagoon. Later on we will explore some of the area’s other breathtaking glacial sights.
Day 11: Sep 13- Jökulsárlón
On the eleventh day of this incredible Icelandic photography workshop, we will drive to the east of Vatnajökull National Park. There the group will enjoy the views from the black sand beach of Stokksnes, across to the imperious peaks of the 454 meter-high Vestrahorn mountain. The epic Vestrahorn is a photographer’s dream, is made up of several steep peaks, all stretching endlessly, impossibly out to sea. Against a backdrop of the sun’s morning or dying light, these peaks offer as enticing an image as you can imagine. Add that to the rolling tide below and the possibility of northern lights, and you’ve got yourself a recipe for plenty of photographic fun. We will spend plenty of time chasing the perfect light as we shoot this mountain and its surroundings.
Day 12: Sep 14- Vik
On the 12th day of our tour, we will reluctantly leave behind the majestic Vatnajökull National Park. The group will head south to explore some of Iceland’s finest sights across the southern coast. In autumn, the region boasts spectacular natural attractions, from volcanoes to lava fields, lakes, black beaches, waterfalls and glaciers - all accompanied by the subtle colours of the fall. On day twelve, our focus will be on the coastal village of Vik, and its enchanting black sand beach, complete with an impressive basalt sea stack that juts out of the sea, named Reynisdrangar.
Another of Iceland’s famous black beaches, Reynisfjara, is nearby. There we will enjoy what is considered to be the most beautiful non-tropical beach in the world. An alternative view of the towering sea stacks, alongside the eerie black sand and thunderous waves, all add up to create an epic photography session.
Day 13: Sep 15 - Heading back
It’s the last full day of the tour, and we’re going out with a bang. After a hearty breakfast the group will stop at several scenic highlights on the way back to the capital. The first will be the Dyrholaey peninsula. As well as getting yet another perspective of Reynisdrangar, we will also observe the enormous stone archway standing in the sea nearby.
Then, we will pass two active volcanoes. The first is Hekla, a 1490m high snow-topped mountain, infamous throughout Iceland’s history and known as, a little disturbingly, the “gateway to hell”. The second you might have heard of, even if you can’t pronounce it: Eyjafjallajokull. This is the volcano famous for shutting down European airspace back in 2010.
If we have time, we can stop near to the Solheimajokull Glacier, or at least its icy tongue that protrudes from the mouth of huge, rugged cliffs either side. Next up, we will shoot the two most famous waterfalls in the south of Iceland. The first is Skogafoss, which promises epic shots, no matter what the light. And even more so with the colours of autumn all around. It’s one of the biggest waterfalls in Iceland, cascading down from almost 60 meters. If we’re lucky with the weather and there’s some sun, the spray from the falls will, fingers crossed, reward us with a magical rainbow to end the trip with. After that we’ll head to Seljalandsfoss, which offers views from behind the falls for an alternative and altogether unforgettable perspective.
Day 14: Sep 16 - Departure
This is the day of your departure, after another hearty Icelandic breakfast we will bid you a warm goodbye as you depart back on the FlyBus to Keflavik Airport, bringing with you photos, videos and memories of an extraordinary journey.
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.
Testimonials / Endorsement:
"I have worked with William Yu on many occasions and let me state emphatically that he is one of the best workshop instructors ever and one heck of a talented photographer too! You will enjoy your time with William and learn far more than perhaps you ever imagined in the workshops he offers!"
Bryan F Peterson
The Perfect Picture School of Photography
I have never been on a "photo tour" before. We travel a lot and I have to say it was one of the best experiences ever. Most importantly in my mind is that I thought it was well planned out - getting to the locations at the right times and I also liked that we got to go to some of the iconic locations that we see in photos (late at night when no one was there), as well as a few that we don't normally see. I felt the amount of time that we had in most locations was great. It was nice that we could as a group be somewhat flexible to stay one place a bit longer and/or go to other places when the lighting wasn't as good. I appreciated that you corralled people up when they weren't on the bus on time... but always being super nice about it. I liked that we could get to a hotel location and some people could rest, but I usually had several hours to explore the town/area on my own. The accommodations and food were all good, if not excellent. Another thing that I thought was really great was having a bus twice as big as the number of people so we had room to put all of our stuff. I thoroughly enjoyed meeting you and others in the group and appreciate all that you did to put this trip together. I hope that I can shoot with you again some day.
Lorna Midice, USA
What an amazing 10 days in Iceland. To summarize the experience in a few words will not do it justice. Both William Yu and Lurie B. gave me an experience that will stay with me forever. Both of them combined talent and knowledge about landscape photography and finding wonderful places to shoot. The local arrangements were good and the organization well done. We had plenty of time to set up, to experience and to share. This hand-on experience was good for al level of photographers. We visited some far remote places and some fun places. Shooting pieces of washed away chuck of ice from the glacier was one of the most fun highlight of the trip. Thank you to both of you for sharing your expertise and for making this a safe and fun photo tour. The group was made up of wonderful people, by the end of the trip, our group was really tight. Thank you Guys for this amazing trip. Looking forward at shooting the Northern lights in winter.
Jean-Claude has made a fantastic video presentation of his images from 2015 June Iceland Photo Tour, view it here.
Jean-Claude Veille, USA
The tour was fantastic - way beyond my wildest expectations. perhaps i had no idea how beautiful and picturesque iceland is; it seems like a different planet of its own!. everything was to my satisfaction - the price; the sights which i am sure we could not have seen without William and lurie; they did a good job in picking the right places; the food was delicious and excellent. The driver was great, transportation comfortable and the fact that we had 2 seats each was a big plus.
I am amazed and impressed at the photos that are all popping up in facebook. from the pictures that are being posted i continue to see different perspectives and angles i never would have seen. we all went to the same places but no two pictures are alike. i am lucky to have been with a superb group of photographers. I certainly will take a winter trip to iceland in the future. and looking forward to another learning trip with you - will try to make it to tibet at least!
Many thanks for organizing everything!
Minnie Domingo, USA
Earlier this year, William led a group of 10 on a marvellous and photographically rich tour of minority tribal villages in SW China. It was my first time in China. William's arrangements showed very careful preparation and a smooth liaison with his local co-guide Anton. Notably, we were impressed with Anton's ability to secure accommodation for all of us at five minutes' notice after one hotel declined to acknowledge the booking. Also, William took care to detail his co-guide to quietly offer assistance to an older member of the group. If I had any suggestions it would be to say: "Let's have a bit more time to interact and compare notes each evening." Even so, I can hardly wait to join William again!
Anne Forbes, Australia
If you are thinking of going you should. It is an experience of a lifetime. My husband and I joined William on his September 2013 China workshop. You go to places where you would have difficulty going to on your own. We loved it.
Christel Sarsfield, Canada
This was my first trip dedicated to photography so I was a little apprehensive about several things including the varying levels of the other participants' photography skills.
William handled all the different skill levels so well. We all received advice, assistance and a healthy dose of positive reinforcement. He was patient and reassuring while handling all our travel details, hotel accommodations, meals and many MANY questions.
William was very knowledgeable about the area we visited and knew exactly where to go, when to be there and how long we should wait for a shot before calling it a day. The sites we visited weren't just the regular landscape and workshopist sights, we also visited markets and villagers in their homes. This was an extraordinary privilege for us to be able to do. It made the trip personal and the resulting photos are more than an improvement in skills, they are warm memories.
I'm an American expat and have lived in Asia for many years but although I have traveled extensively throughout Asia, I cannot imagine that I would ever have had an opportunity to do a trip like this. It's a hard place to reach and to even know about but William made this happen for me. I cannot wait to see what adventure is in store next because I will absolutely be singing up for it.
Rebecca Lynn Fowler Wong, USA
"I was one of the lucky seven who was fortunate enough to go on the trip to Yunnan China offered by William Yu. It was the highlight of my year, still is. As I write this I still cannot get over how much I was able to do and see during this trip. Time travel is hard to do and that is exactly what we did. We stepped back in time and visited a place to marvel over. Yunnan is a wondrous place and William was an exceptional host, good humored, prepared, (even for the tissues to clean the utensils, thank you William) knowledgeable and generous. Photos have appeared on my computer that I would never have believed possible but for William’s help.I am very very happy that I was able to go on this trip and hope to join William on another adventure."
Joanne Martin, USA
Hello, William. My wife and I are still talking about the China workshop, and how we
can now say that we left the Shanghai "bubble" and roughed it in the
Yunnan province. You hosted a great workshop, and I appreciate how
open you were in not only sharing the information but also taking time
to explain the concepts. Mr. Ma also definitely had a unique
personality brought an interesting mix to our group.
Carl Smiley, USA
January, this year, I attended William's photography Workshop in Yunnan, China. What an amazingly wonderful experience - I have not stopped talking about since my return - to have a chance to photograph those beautiful rice paddies planted on terraces up in the mountains was very special, but even more special was the chance to visit the rural villages to photograph villagers as they went about their daily lives. William organized a superb photography workshop though which photography greatly improved and my world was broadened.
Sheila Wertheimer, USA
This is my first time joining William's China Photo Workshop, It's very impressive. William is very attentative to all aspects of the workshop. It's thoughful of him having Mr. Ma, the most experienced local photograher, as our workshop guide, who enables us to shoot in the right locations at right time.
During the workshop, William is extremely patient to share his photographic knowledge and skills with us, in terms of exposure, composition, post-processing, lighting, lens selection, etc. This trip is well exceeding my expectation, I sincerely hope to join more future China workshops with William. By the way, William is fluent in both English and Mandarin, which is great plus to me.
Louis Huang, Taiwan