Tips on Icelandic Photography

December 04, 2015  •  2 Comments

A lifelong pursuit of excellence in photography is about vision, paying attention to details, mastering techniques and a lot of patience and determination.

I started collecting Internet images of Iceland eight months before the trip and found where each was taken with “Google Earth.” For our dates at each location, “The Photographer’s Ephemeris” provided sunrise and sunset times, and direction of light.  At seaside locations, tide tables were essential for picking the optimum sea level, some locations were only accessible at low tide while others were only photogenic at high tide. And “Google Maps” was used for overall route planning.

From this, a 20 day schedule of winter Icelandic photography was planned and executed. From 11/5/15 to 11/22/15, we had 13 cloudy days, eight with rain, four with snow and six with high winds.  We had three days of clear skies and three nights of auroras. On this trip, I shepherded two teams of photographers, 10 days each out of four locations; Reykjavik, Grundarfjörður, Hali, and Vik.

The following collection of images portray the vision this trip was planned around, and highlights the dramatic landscapes found.  

Malariff Lighthouse Sunset - 2Malariff Lighthouse Sunset - 2My friends Izabela and Terry where with me photographing this sunset. You know one of those moments in your life that you will remember forever, this was one of those moments for me.

A link to more images is available at the end of this post.

Malariff Lighthouse Dusk - 3Malariff Lighthouse Dusk - 3Iceland, Malariff Lighthouse between the rocks

To the ends of the Earth 1To the ends of the Earth 1Iceland, Sea Cliff on the Snaefellsnes Peninsula Kirkjufellsfoss Morning ColorsKirkjufellsfoss Morning ColorsKirkjufellsfoss - Snaefellsnes Peninsula

Reynisdrangar SunsetReynisdrangar SunsetJust west of Vik, Iceland, the black beach ReflectionsReflectionsVesturhorn Reflections

Auroras over Ice - Facing NorthAuroras over Ice - Facing NorthAnother night to remember for a lifetime. Photographed with my three friends; Bruce, Pat and Mike. Shot with two cameras that night. One camera I setup for time-lapse photography and the second camera I moved around for different landscape compositions.

The Time-Lapse video consists of 550 images taken over a 2.5 hour period. The shooting location; Jökulsárlón (Glacier) Lagoon. Taken with a Nikon D4S camera with a Nikkor 14-24mm lens @ 14mm. Final setting after testing = ISO 1000, f/2.8 @ 13 seconds + (3 second interval between exposures).  The nice thing about shooting a time-lapse is you can take any of the individual images (the raw files) and post process them just like any other file (like the one below). 

Auroras over Ice - facing WestAuroras over Ice - facing West

C-47 Crash SiteC-47 Crash SiteOn November 24, 1973 a United States Navy C-47 was forced to land on Sólheimasandur’s black sandy beach near Vik. The crew survived the landing and what's left of the airplane remains at the crash site. The GPS coordinates: 63.459523,-19.364618 And the morning and evening were pretty amazing too. The following images were taken with a D810 at ISO 64.

Ice Sculpture in Morning BlueIce Sculpture in Morning BlueMorning light on Ice Beach

Ice Sculpture in Pastals LightIce Sculpture in Pastals LightMorning light on selected Ice Sculptures emphasizing black sand beach environment with the curve of the shoreline.

Gale-forced SunsetGale-forced SunsetImagine what it took to keep a tripod steady for this image. The wind was so strong that it was blowing the snow off the tops of mountains in front of me, taking off the tops of waves right at the shore line next to me, and blowing a storm of black volcanic sand in my face and camera, it was worth it but I'd think twice about doing it again.

Dyrhólaey LighthouseDyrhólaey Lighthouse

Click HERE to view my complete set of Iceland landscapes.


Deepali Phanse(non-registered)

My husband and I are traveling to Iceland and will be there from June 9-13. I am interested in getting our professional portraits taken at one or more of the beautiful locations in Iceland. Please let me know if you have any dates available. We have some tours booked but are free on June 9(just have blue lagoon that day) and Tuesday, June 13 (will be the most preferred day).

Jackie Kramer(non-registered)
Your images make me want to go to Iceland! Your whole gallery is just spectacular in every way! Images like this don't happen in a random sense. I know how much preparation & planning is involved in getting to the right spot at the right time & having the patience to wait for, or return later, to catch the best conditions. In addition to that, having the most appropriate gear on hand & the technical skills, paired with your vision, to create these stunning photographs results in this complete package of "MAGNIFICENT!"
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