Field report from our Iceland tour
We’re back from Iceland – it was awesome. We ran two tours in this amazing country, and they couldn’t have been more different.
On the first tour we got everything from Iceland’s famous weather menu: cloudy skies, rain, wind, lots of wind, ice, snow, wind chill factors of minus comfortable, blizzards and white-outs. And when I say blizzards and white-outs, I’m not exaggerating – we actually got stuck for two days at Jökulsárlón, the famous black beach with the stranded chunks of ice. Not a bad place at all to spend some extra time, but it really messed up our plans and as a result we didn’t make it to the North. But at least we were lucky to still be able to drive to the beach for photography – the roads around Reykjavik for instance were all impassable.
Check out this short video of me walking on the beach of Jökulsárlón – this is not how you usually see it in the pictures:
The brutal conditions here were not all bad though. Sure, it was not as comfortable as we would have liked, but the scenery was stunning and completely different than usual. As a result, the images that we were able to shoot there were also quite different. Regarding photography I often say: bad weather is good weather, and that certainly was the case here.
On the second tour the weather was completely different – more sun, more snow and ice, more clear skies and much colder temperatures. The obvious benefit of clear skies is that you can actually see the aurora when it’s happening. I had already seen many northern lights images shot in Iceland, and I noticed that the vast majority of them were taken at the same spots. So when the aurora predictions were good, I decided to take our group to a special location that would give us truly original northern lights images.
We left late in the evening in our super jeep to visit a remote crash site with an old plane. We brought some extra lights to light the plane from both the inside and the outside, and then we just waited for the magic to happen. And when it did, it was this perfect curved line that followed the contours of the plane. I love it when a plan comes together! :)
The cold wind that night was brutal, but with a sight like this in front of you, you really don’t mind. After a couple of hours we all returned to our guest house with a big smile on our face and with some of the most original aurora shots ever taken in Iceland.
Unusual conditions, unusual lighting and an unusual location make for unusual pictures
Clear nights means it gets colder, which means you can search for ice caves. When temperatures are above freezing, exploring an ice cave is not a good idea – unless you’re into cryonics. We found several nice caves and to walk and crawl inside them is a truly magical experience. Glaciers are always moving, so it’s important to be well prepared. We used an experienced local guide, helmets and ropes to guarantee our safety. And that was necessary, because in one of the caves we wanted to descend to a lower level that was only accessible with the use of ropes.
Daniella is standing somewhere halfway inside the cave.
I climbed down to get to the far end and take this shot.
After our glacier and ice cave adventure, we spent a few days among the ice chunks at Jökulsárlón and then got on our chartered plane to fly us north. As usual, there was a lot more snow there than in the south. So much actually, that the road to Dettifoss, one of the most impressive waterfalls in Iceland, was impassable. But we don’t let nature tell us what to do, so meet the Squiver Monsterrari:
The Squiver Hummer-crusher. Be afraid, be very afraid.
If you would like to join us on our next Squiver photo tour in March , please check out the tour PDF and price on our website.