Iceland Winter Adventure
Search for the Northern Lights!
Travel Into an Ice Cave!
Photography Instruction in one of the most beautiful places on Earth!
By popular demand, I have added a second Iceland tour, this one specifically with the goal of seeking iconic Aurora Borealis landscape photo opportunities! Of course the aurora are a natural occurrence, so they can't be guaranteed - BUT, this tour is during the perfect time of year for some great sightings!
What will the trip be like:
We will arrive in Iceland on Saturday, December 26, 2020. (We will depart from Newark airport in the late evening of Christmas Day). We will settle in, check into our 4-star hotel, and spend the day in Reykjavík, and then in the evening we will head out on our first Aurora chase, a Super Jeep tour out into the countryside (away from city lights), and toward the most likely location for great aurora viewing, based upon the evening's weather/cloud cover forecast.
On the morning of December 27, we will pack our things, and head eastward, across the southern edge of Iceland. We will be heading to Seljalandsfoss, where we will hike in behind the waterfall (conditions permitting). Next we will continue on to visit Skógafoss in Skógar. We will again check the weather reports, and seek the northern lights. Our second night will be spent in the Kirkjubæjarklaustur area. As we will do every night, we will be staying in the finest 4-star hotels whenever possible! (Some of the more rural locations may have only 3-star accommodations, but we will be stying in the finest locations available in each spot along the way!)
Day three is going to be an awesome adventure! We have an ice cave tour booked, plus a glacier walk! We will be out capturing the incredible grandeur of the winter in Iceland. Also on the schedule for that day is the iconic Jökulsárlón lagoon. This is one of the most sought after landscape spots in all of Iceland. And to make the day even more incredible, we will also be visiting diamond beach, where the chunks of ice on the black sand create a spectacular sight. And of course, the evening activities will again include chasing the northern lights.
More black sand volcanic beaches are in store for day four! We will head over to Vik, a beautiful little village. This is the day we will visit Reynisfjara and Reynisdrangar. We will also be exploring the massive cliffs and rock arch of Dyrhólaey. We will spend the night in the Selfoss area.
Drive the Golden Circle on your way back to the capital. Visit the explosion crater Kerið, before continuing to the geothermal Geysir area and explore the bubbling mud pots and spouting geysers. Next, make a stop at the stunning two-tiered Gullfoss waterfall, before closing the circle at the unique Þingvellir National Park. Þingvellir is included on UNESCO’s World Heritage Site list for being historically significant to the founding of Icelandic democracy and a place of striking natural beauty. Then head to Reykjavík for the evening. We will spend this evening in Reykjavik.
The morning of Day 6 (New Years' Eve) will be spent in Reykjavik, where we can explore the city, it's architecture, and major sights. We will explore this amazing city, and get ready for our New Years Eve. Our celebration will begin with a mix & mingle with other travellers and guests over an apéritif, followed by a gourmet 5-course dinner at the Grand Hotel, paired with selected wines, and live entertainment. Afterwards, we will be taken to a large neighborhood bonfire to celebrate with Icelanders. We will then return to Grand Hotel for dessert, sparkling wine and the exciting countdown to the New Year. Once the event finishes, you can head to the city centre and continue the party with music and dancing with the locals, if you wish.
On our final day in Iceland, we will let ourselves sleep in after the excitement of ringing in 2021. After a leisurely morning, we will ship any of our items back to the states that we do not intend to take with us on the flight, and make our way back to the airport. We will have time in the early part of the day to shop and explore Reykjavik some more, and to revisit any of our favorite locations before heading to the airport.
Before We Travel:
I will be providing a number of travel-related sessions at Cardinal Camera prior to our departure. This will include a class on using ND filters, a packing/travel gear class, as well as any other information that any of our participants feels would be an essential precursor to this trip. These classes and workshops will be included in the price of the trip for all participants. For past trips, I have also arranged private gear consultations to help travelers identify important pieces of equipment that they might want to add to their kit before traveling.
For folks that are local to the Philadelphia area, we also can meet to ship our tripods, hiking boots, some of our extra winter gear, etc., in order to avoid the expense of heavy luggage on the flight over. This shipping is NOT included in the price of the trip, but we simply divide the price of shipping across those taking advantage of it, and we meet our tripods and other gear over in Iceland, when we arrive.
This tour features a bit of a splurge, we will be staying in the best available hotel accommodations (4-star properties if available), in each of our locations. When we return from our long and busy days, we will enjoy some extremely nice hotels. Each location includes private restrooms with each hotel room, and breakfast each morning.
Private Room Supplement:
The price of the tour is based on double occupancy. If you prefer to enjoy your nights in privacy, there is the option to have a private room for a supplemental cost of $1,125.
The full cost of this trip (including airfare) will be $6,000 USD. The deposit for the trip is $2,500 at time of registration. The remaining $3,500 is due no later than October 1, 2020. I can accommodate any participant who wishes to use their own airline miles and book their own flight in/out of KEF. Simply inform me that you will be purchasing your own ticket, and we will deduct $500 from your final payment. If you prefer to have me handle your airline booking, I am happy to assist with that.
Free Gear Review & Reccomendations:
I am more than happy to meet up with you (if you are local to the Philadelphia area) at the Cardinal Camera in Lansdale, where we can go through your equipment, and determine what you might want to upgrade before taking such an awesome photography trip! There is no charge for this gear review, I love helping people find the right equipment to create amazing photography! You don't have to have the finest photography equipment to make great photos - but it certainly helps a lot!
A great full-frame camera (you can shoot this on whatever you have... but if you are pondering an upgrade...)
A fast wide-angle lens (there will be some night photography and astral photography opportunities, so fast primes are a wonderful idea.)
Filters - we will be shooting a lot of seascapes, green fields and blue skies. A Circular Polarizing filter (I recommend the x4 Breakthrough Photography filter) would be great, as well as a few ND filters - definitely a 3-stop and a 6-stop, and you could even go bigger, if you want.
Some sort of rain sleeve - you definitely don't want your gear getting wet!
A good camera bag for both air travel and some hiking. I plan to use a bag that is a collaboration between SKB and ThinkTank. I'll make sure the store has them in stock. The interior comes out and you can wear it as a backpack, after you are in Iceland.
GOOD hiking shoes/boots. The terrain is rugged, and your feet will get wet. We will be climbing, digging, crawling in ice caves, navigating around rocks and boulders - break in a pair of good hiking shoes well in advance of the trip.
High quality cold-weather gear. Anticipate weather that is below freezing. I will be sharing out recommendations for superb quality winter gear, for anyone that would like suggestions.
GOOD socks. Some sort of boundary sock, or other good quality hiking sock to keep your feet dry will really help your comfort level.
Extra batteries (LOTS OF BATTERIES!). Remember, batteries tend to drain more quickly in the extreme cold than in warmer climates, so it might not hurt to over-estimate your needs, and perhaps bring an extra charger so you can recharge a couple at a time.
Extra memory cards (LOTS OF MEMORY!)
To register, simply email me: firstname.lastname@example.org. I will give you instructions on where to mail your deposit check. Deposits are non-refundable, unless the trip sells out, and we are able to replace your spot on the tour. If the trip is a sell-out, and I successfully replace your spot on the tour, any funds that have not been disbursed on your behalf will be refundable. At some points in the booking process some funds will become permanently non-refundable (i.e. tickets for flights, excursions, etc.).