2017 Iceland Winter – The Frozen North

With Joshua Holko and Daniel Bergmann. February 23 – March 5, 2017.

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This will be the sixth winter that I team up with Australian master photographer Joshua Holko to do a winter workshop in Iceland. In 2017 we are going to include the northern part of the island in the itinerary. In the beginning of March we’ll have about 10 hours of daylight and with luck the Northern Lights will increase our photographic opportunities far into the night. This is a unique opportunity to travel and photograph with two experienced professionals that have a combined total of more than 40 years of photographic experience and can take you to the best locations at the right time, when the light is optimal.

We are going to circumnavigate the island on this 10-day workshop. The main focus of the tour will be ice caves in the Vatnajökull region, outlet glaciers and glacial lagoons, icebergs on a black beach, frozen waterfalls of the north, rugged mountains, coastal features, geothermal areas and the Northern Lights (Aurora borealis). The itinerary will be kept as flexible as possible to ensure that we’ll have clear skies to be able to photograph the Northern Lights. The winter conditions can be stunningly beautiful: the glacial lagoons freeze, some of the waterfalls are partially frozen, the glaciers appear more blue with fresh snow on top and, with fewer visitors than in summer the black sand beaches of the south are more pristine.

The philosophy
This winter workshop is about improving your photography as well as experiencing unique and exciting locations. The leaders will be out photographing with you every day, helping you to realize the images you’re after and encourage you to explore and see the landscape in new ways. We are as passionate about photography as you are and participating in an intense photographic journey, with a group of like minded individuals, is a good way to grow as a photographer. As leaders and instructors we’re always at hand to assist with specific techniques, such as Aurora photography at night, and we welcome the opportunity to discuss the philosophical aspect of our art.

Frozen Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon

Frozen Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon

Vatnajökull glacier ice cave

As always, as a native Icelander, I am there to make the tours as successful as possible by using my local knowledge and experience to get us to the best locations in good light. It is my intention to give you an exciting and unforgettable journey through Iceland’s dramatic winter landscapes. And also to give you an opportunity to grow and expand your photographic vision. Joshua Holko has been visiting Iceland for many years, both to lead workshops and to work on his own photography projects. He is an expert in photography in the Arctic and a skillful teacher of his craft.

Accommodation and food
We will be staying in single en suite rooms at five different hotels. If you are traveling with a partner or a friend and want shares accommodation then the cost will be $750 less per person. Your comfort is taken seriously so all the hotels will offer a good standard of comfort and excellent food. Internet access will be available at all locations. All meals are included. If you have a special dietary requirement you will be accommodated – just be sure and let me know when you make your booking. Lunches will be taken on the road, either at service centers or cafés or as packed lunches.

The itinerary
As always in Iceland, the weather will be unpredictable and variable and we’ll have sunshine, snow, rain and wind and probably a bit of everything else. But the dramatic weather is just what makes for fantastic photographic opportunities. Still, intense winter storms, can limit what we can do and where we can go. Therefore there will flexibility within the itinerary so that I can change plans according to the weather.

February 23rd is the designated arrival day and accommodation in Reykjavik City that night is included in the workshop cost. We will meet for dinner and an introduction in the evening.

The following day we’ll drive east to the Vatnajökull region where we’ll spend 3 nights at Hotel Smyrlabjorg, which is near the famous Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon. From our base we’ll explore the numerous glaciers in the area, make visits to the iceberg graveyard, where ice from the gacial lagoon gets thrown up on the black beach by the waves, and venture into the dreamlike world of ice caves. This area is all about ice and hopefully we’ll have clear nights and Aurora activity.

After our stay by Vatnajökull glacier we’ll travel east on a rugged and winding coastline and will overnight in the town of Breiddalsvik. The following day we make our way north to Lake Mývatn, where we’ll be based for 3 nights. From our base at Mývatn we’ll explore geothermal areas and the snow covered landscape around the lake. We’ll also make visits to the major waterfalls up north, such as Godafoss. If snow conditions allow then we might also visit Aldeyjarfoss and Dettifoss.

Aurora Borealis in Northern Iceland

After our stay in the northeast we’ll head west along the northern coast and spend a night at north coast in proximity to the famous landmark Hvítserkur. On March 12th we’ll finish the circle, with some detours, and find ourselves on the Reykjanes Peninsula in the evening where we’ll overnight in Keflavik. You can then depart Iceland any time you wish on March 5th.

The leaders
I am a native Icelander, a professional nature photographer and have been leading photography tours and workshops in Iceland since 2003. You can read more about me here.

Joshua Holko is one of Australia’s most accomplished landscape photographers. His speciality is the Arctic and Antarctic regions, where he offers a number of expeditions annually. You can read more about Josh on his website.


Trip details

Date: February 23 – March 5, 2017
Duration: 10 days/10 nights
Cost: $7,650 USD – (a $750 discount is available per person for shared accommodation)
Includes: Transportation in a modified 4×4 vehicle, single occupancy accommodation, all food and drink (except alcohol), guidance and tuition
Excludes: International flights, insurance, alcoholic beverages
Group size: 12
Leaders: Daniel Bergmann and Joshua Holko

Please contact me for further information and booking.