Arctic Landscapes and Northern Lights in Greenland and Iceland
Combine the best of Greenland and Iceland on this 12-day Arctic workshop led by Andy Williams and Skarpi Thrainsson. We'll photograph the ice fjords, icebergs, seascapes, whales, and northern lights in and around Illulisat, West Greenland for five days. Then, we'll hop a plane back to Iceland, where we'll board our amazing "Vikingmobile" and continue this arctic adventure, photographing the raw beauty of the volcanic mountains, lakes and waterfalls in Iceland's Highlands and north Iceland. We'll be far from the crazy crowds of tourists and other photographers, and with our small group, and our specially-equipped Vikingmobile, we can go anywhere we like with ease.
After our first night and welcome dinner in Reykjavik, we'll hop a plane to the town of Ilulissat, Greenland. This is Greenland's third-largest town, yet there are only 5,000 inhabitants. "Ilulissat" means "icebergs", and we will see and photograph plenty of them. The Ilulissat Icefjord is a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2004. We'll have four days here and each day, we'll head out on our private boats to photograph the fjords, the icebergs, the glaciers, and the mountains, from our boats and from the land. With a little luck, we hope to be able to photograph whales as well. At night, with clear skies and solar activity, we expect to photograph the beautiful northern lights.
And then we fly back to Reykjavik, where we'll start right off for Iceland's Highlands. For centuries, the interior of Iceland was virtually inaccessible, for years at a time playing host only to outlaws in hiding. Via the mountain roads Kjölur and Sprengisandur, the untouched wilderness of Iceland’s mountainous centre is now open—for cautious exploration by foot or special 4×4 vehicles. Some of the most interesting parts of Iceland with volcanic activity are to be found in the highlands, such as Landmannalaugar and the region around Askja and Herðubreið, the national mountain of Iceland. The highlands are mostly an uninhabitable volcanic desert with phenomenal photography locations in the few oases of the desert, which can be crossed only during the Icelandic summer (typically from June through September). For the rest of the year, the highland roads are closed. Most highland roads require four wheel drive vehicles, because it is necessary to ford rivers and rough terrain. On our workshop we use specially modified 4×4 Super Jeeps and our Icelandic Viking Guide, Skarpi, who has years of experience camping, hiking, and exploring the highlands. We will be doing some light hiking to the best shooting locations in the highlands. Major waterfalls such as Aldeyjarfoss and Godafoss are featured as well. We’ll chase the light, out for sunrise, then day-shooting where it’s good, and sunset. At night, we're on watch for northern lights!
Everything's all-inclusive, so you don't have to worry about anything except your photography. We're a small group and two professionals, so there will be plenty of instruction! Expect to work hard, to be up early for blue hour and sunrise, to shoot during the day when it's good, shoot sunset and beyond, and hopefully northern lights! Of course we'll find time for our usual critique and image review sessions, and you'll learn valuable post-processing tips and techniques as well. All levels of photographer are welcome. You should be in reasonably good physical shape to handle uneven terrain, short easy hikes, long days, and possible interrupted sleep. Read on for all the details and we'll see you in the arctic!
Greenland and Iceland
September 10–22, 2018
Itinerary and General Information
September 10, 2018: Arrive in Copenhagen, Denmark (CPH airport code) anytime this day. Spend the day enjoying this cool European capital city. We'll have a group welcome dinner this evening.
September 11, 2018: After breakfast in the hotel we'll head to the Copenhagen Airport for a flight to Ilulissat, Greenland.
September 11–15, 2018: We are based in Ilulissat, Greenland. Each day we'll photograph both from land and from the sea. We have boats chartered to take us out into the Ilulissat Icefjords and beyond. Icebergs, glacial landscapes, seascapes, marine mammals, and more. After dark, we'll be on the hunt for northern lights and with clear skies and good solar activity, we should be able to make spectacular photographs!
September 15, 2018: After sunrise shooting and breakfast, we'll head to the Ilulissat airport for a mid-day flight back to Reykjavik. We'll transfer to the Vikingmobile and begin our Iceland journey, to the Highlands.
September 15–18, 2018: We're in Iceland's Highlands where you will photograph this surreal landscape. Our lodging is in the southern part of the Icelandic Highlands, where we explore the Landmannalaugar area for the next 3 days. After driving through barren nature, we approach Landmannalaugar’s colorful mountains, which were formed by centuries of volcanic activity in the area—the picturesque natural landscape in this raw climate is simply breathtaking. Landmannalaugar is famous for its hiking trails and rhyolite mountains, with their multi-colored shapes and sizes.
September 18–20, 2018: We are based out of Mývatn, where we’ll photograph the amazing Goðafoss and Aldeyjarfoss waterfalls. And—forget the massive crowds at Blue Lagoon—bring your bathing suit and we’ll have a relaxing afternoon at the Mývatn Nature Baths! We’ll photograph Mývatn's beautiful lake, giant volcanic crater, and the Mývatn geothermal area, with some special "secret" spots really known only to us. Time permitting, we'll visit the unique lava fields of Dimmuborgir.
September 20, 2018: We make our way to to Gauksmýri. Along the way, we can expect to see and photograph some of Iceland’s most beautiful countryside landscapes. In and around Gauksmýri, our photo ops will include friendly Icelandic Horses, and the great mountains Baula and Skessuhorn—but the main feature of this area is Hvítserkur, the great sea stack off the northwest coast of Iceland. We will photograph Hvítserkur Rock at sunset and sunrise, and, if lucky, with the Northern Lights!
September 21, 2018: After sunrise, breakfast, and checkout, we will make our way back to Reykjavik, arriving sometime in the late afternoon. We will have our last dinner together this evening, and the workshop concludes.
September 22, 2018: Flights home anytime this day from Reykjavik (KEF airport code).
- Double occupancy lodging (Single available, just ask)
- All meals, soft drinks, and snacks during the workshop
- All ground and water transportation during the workshop
- Gratuities for crew on our boats
- Photographic guiding and instruction from two pros
- Image reviews, critiques, and post-processing instruction
- Fun, inspiration, and a great time!
What’s Not Included?
Air Travel from your home to Ilulissat, Greenland, from Ilulissat to Reykjavik, Iceland, and from Reykjavik Iceland to your home. We have booked the Cophenhagen-Ilulissat and Ilulissat-Reykjavik flights for you, and will invoice you. Alcoholic beverages. Items of a personal nature. Travel Medical, Medical Evacuation (required) and Trip and cancellation insurance. Anything not listed as included.
Your deposit of $3,500 will hold your space in this workshop. A second payment of $4,000 is due by March 1, 2018. The balance of $3,250 will be due not later than June 1, 2018. For this workshop, deposits and all payments are non-refundable, which is why you should have Trip Cancelation Insurance. All of our standard terms and conditions apply. Need special payment arrangements for your deposit? No problem, just ask us.
If amazing landscapes and northern lights of Greenland and Iceland are on your list, look no further and click the "Sign Me Up! button now because this workshop is a small group and will sell out fast. See you in the The Arctic!