'WINTER PARADISE' - NORTH ICELAND WINTER PHOTO WORKSHOP - JANUARY 25th - FEBRUARY 1st 2014
Just south of the Arctic circle lies a magical island - the land of fire and ice, the ever mesmerizing Icelend.
Iceland in winter is a very different place to Iceland in summer. Sub-zero temperatures, bone-chilling winds and harsh conditions are prevalent, but the photographic rewards are accordingly immense. From ice fields as far as the eye can see, through glaciers and blue ice caves to the mind boggling northern lights, winter is THE season for photography in Iceland, for those who dare.
Join professional nature photographer Erez Marom and Icelandic photographer Arnar Guğjónsson for the photographic journey of a lifetime. This 8-day workshop begins just 2 days after the 'Land of Ice' workshop concludes, to make it comfortable for participants to join both workshops while still getting some much-needed rest between them. In this part of the journey, we'll head to the wilder, less-visited western and northern parts of Iceland, where weather is more stable, chances of witnessing the Aurora are higher, killer whales and seals roam the waters hunting herring and towering mountains join frozen blue waterfalls to make some of Iceland's most amazing scenery. Naturally, no Iceland workshop is complete without a monster-truck ride, so we'll take a super-jeep tour into the frozen highlands, to visit some incredible waterfalls and locations unreachable otherwise.
Stunning locations such as Kirkjufell (Pyramid Mountain), frozen waterfalls Aldeyjarfoss and Godafoss, Lake Myvatn, Crater Mountain (Hverfjall), geothermal areas and more.
Increased chances of witnessing and shooting the Aurora Borealis
Magical low light throughout the day, enabling us to shoot non-stop for over 6 hours (weather permitting)
Virtually no moon throughout the workshop, to ensure perfect conditions for night and Aurora photography.
3-hour boat sail to shoot Orcas (killer whales) and seals from a close range
Super-jeep ride into the cetral highlands
Professional photo guidance
Two seats per participant in the bus, to make access to your photo gear easy and safe
Twilight in Reykjavík
Day 1, JAN 25th Reykjavík area
We'll meet at Keflavik International airport at 16:00, a time fitting most flights to Iceland. After taking a ride to Iceland's capital of Reykjavík, we'll settle in our rooms in our centrally-located hotel and head out for a meet-and-greet over a heart-warming Icelandic dinner.
For those of you who need winter gear, we'll visit a local shop where proper boots, gloves, crampons and other items can be purchased.
Day 2, JAN 26th Snæfellsnes Peninsula, Pyramid Mountain
After breakfast at the hotel, we'll head north early to arrive at Kirkjufell (the famous Pyramid Mountain) for a sunrise shoot. In this season, chances are the mountain will be beautifully covered with snow.
We'll spend the day traveling the peninsula, shooting at several locations before settling in our nice hotel in the town of Grundarfjörğur. At night, if conditions are favorable, we'll attempt to shoot the northern lights at one of several locations near town.
Wonderful Aurora over Pyramid Mountain
A waterfall near Pyramid Mountain
Day 3, JAN 27th Snæfellsnes Peninsula, Killer Whale shoot
After breakfast at the hotel, we'll head to Grundarfjörğur's port and take a special whale-watching boat. We'll spend the next few hours shooting Orca whales, who gather in great numbers to feed on the plentiful herring in the fjord's waters. After returning, we'll eat lunch and spend the rest of the day shooting at other interesting locations in Snæfellsnes, such as the black church of Búğir.
Shooting Orca whales on a wild boat-sail!
Day 4, JAN 28th Hvitserkur, Arrival in Mıvatn
We'll get up early to take a ride to the Dinosaur Rock, a courious, dinosaur (or yak, depends on who you ask!) shaped rock formation, to shoot the sunrise. after spending time discovering the area, we'll head east, stopping at several points of interest before arriving at our hotel at dark, where a beautiful, filling dinner will await.
Dinosaur Rock, Hvitserkur
The Mıvatn area is so iconic, 'Game of thrones' shot a whole scene right were we are going to shoot! There are also many other scenes shot in the area.
Day 5, JAN 29th Goğafoss, Lake Mıvatn
After a big breakfast at our hotel, we'll head a short way back west and visit the frozen waterfall of Goğafoss. With its horseshoe shape, crystal-blue water and sheer size and beauty, this waterfall is one of the most impressive in Iceland, especially during winter time.
A top view of Goğafoss
Aurora on lake Mıvatn
After spending a few hours shooting the waterfall, we'll eat lunch, shoot a few more points of interest in the area, and for sunset, head to lake Myvatn, and shoot the colors of the winter sky reflecting in its calm waters.
Lake Mıvatn is an incredible location for night photography, and so if the weather conditions allow, we'll capture the milky way in all its splendor, reflecting in the lake. Last year we had in unbelievable Auroral lightshow on the lake, and I can only hope we have the same this year.
Amazing Aurora lightshow on lake Mıvatn
Harsh, snowy terrain is no match for our rugged monsters!
Day 6, JAN 30th Super-Jeep ride, Aldeyjarfoss
First thing in the morning, we'll hop on Monster trucks and take a wild ride into the central highlands. While we'll visit several snowy locations, the pinnacle will be Aldeyjarfoss. This location is hard to access during winter, hence the need for super jeeps, but the photographic reward is a wonderful ice-covered waterfall with an amazing, circular, crystal clear blue pool at its feet, surrounded by hexagonal basalt columns. In other seasons, the water and the pool are brown, but we'll reap the rewards for coming at the right time.
The beautiful, frozen Aldeyjarfoss, reachable only by super-jeep.
The majestic Icelandic horses are quite abundant in the north
Day 7, JAN 31st Mıvatn, Geothermal area
We'll take a short ride to one of the most curious locations in the Mıvatn area: the geothermal vents. Protruding from a sheet of snow, colorful vents spout never-ending steam clouds, rising high into the sky and serving as a perfect foreground.
After spending a few hours there, we'll climb the iconic Hverfjall - Crater Mountain, for a panoramic view of the volcanic, snow covered land. Other location in the area include frozen lagoons, mini-craters and more.
Geothermal vents in the Mıvatn area
Day 8, FEB 1st Mıvatn Area, back to Reykjavik
We'll shoot another sunrise on the serene lake Mıvatn. After concluding the shoot around noon, we finish the workshop.
From Mıvatn you are free to decide about the rest of your trip: One option is to be taken to Akureyri, the biggest town in the north, to stay there or take an internal flight to Reykjavik. The other option is taking the bus all the way back to Reykjavik, arriving there in the evening.
Cloudy sunrise in lake Mıvatn
PRICING AND DETAILS
Total Price: 2900 (Euros) per person in double room for participants registering by September 1st, 2013. 2950 for participants registering afterwards.
If you're a large group (8-12 people), let me know for a special group price.
Single room supplement: 350
Maximum Number of Participants: 12
Spaces Available: 3
Physical Difficulty: Mostly Beginner. There will be no difficult climbing, but on occasion there might be a short hike (up to 30 minutes) to get to a location. Ascent to Hverfjall is a bit harder, and you can choose to stay in the bus during it.
Winter conditions in northern Iceland can be harsh, and you must be prepared to withstand temperatues as low as -15 degrees centigrade in addition to strong winds.
Special offer: sign up to both 'Winter Paradise' and 'Land of Ice' workshops, and receive a 250 discount!
TOUR PRICE INCLUDES
Lodging on days 1-7. We won't be sleeping in 5-star hotels, but they are welcoming, clean and comfortable.
Dinner the first day
Breakfast, lunch and dinner on days 2-7. Since we'll be shooting in the field most of the light hours, lunch will be served in the form of nutritious sandwiches and/or soup.
Breakfast on day 8
Professional photography guidance by two esteemed landscape photographers
Professional supervision by qualified mountaineers during the stay in locations which can be risky unless supervised.
Post-processing assistance where possible.
Killer whale boat-shoot using a whale watching boat
Super-jeep (monster-truck) tour
Transfers to the hotel on first day, Transfer back to Reykjavik on day 8
Travels in a spacious, comfortable bus offering ample room for you and your photoraphy gear
Entrance fees if applicable
Taxes on all services listed above
TOUR PRICE DOES NOT INCLUDE
Airfare to and from Iceland
Airport pickup and dropoff at times other than specified
Winter clothing and winter gear. On the first day we'll have an opportunity to shop for high-quality winter gear. It is highly recommended to be ready in advance, though.
Insurance. It is MANDATORY to insure yourself against physical injury, and highly recommended to insure your photo gear. Tour leaders will not be responsible in case of any personal injuries or damage to photographic gear as a result of an accident during the workshop. A good insurance policy can make a big difference should something happen, and ensure a safe return home.
Accommodation in Reykjavik on day 8
Non-meal-time soft drinks (Iceland's tap water is fantastic and highly recommended)
Single room supplement (350)
WHAT TO BRING
A digital camera, preferrably a DSLR camera with a full-frame sensor, since these cameras have better low-light capabilities. However, a crop-sensor DSLR will also completely suffice. A compact camera can be used, as long as you understand its limitations.
A heavy, sturdy tripod. That is a definite must in Iceland's windy conditions. A flimsy tripod will simply prevent you from being able to shoot most of the time.
Recommended: an ultra wide angle lens. For example, a Canon 17-40 on a FF sensor camera, or a Nikon 10-24 on a crop sensor camera.
Recommended: a wide aperture ultra-wide angle such as the Samyang 14mm f/2.8 for night photography.
Recommended: a telephoto zoom lens, such as a 70-200 or 70-300. Doesn't have to have a wide aperture or a stabilizer - an f/4 is more than enough.
Recommended: A filter set for landscape photography. I personally use Lee, Heliopan and Singh-Ray filters. A good filter set is worth its weight in gold for a landscape enthousiast. If you need to consult about buying a filter set, I'll be happy to help.
Recommended: A camera remote.
Full thermal gear is absolutely essential. I typically wear a thick thermal base layer, a heavy fleece coat and a down coat.
Good quality warm gloves. It's important to use gloves which enable you to operate the camera while wearing them.
Water resistant trousers (preferably thermal)
Thermal socks. I recommend bringing at least 2-3 pairs.
A neck-warmer or a scarf
An alpine mask to cover the face
A good warm hat which covers your ears. Otherwise, they'll simply fall off!
Water-proof rubber boots, preferably thermal (available in Reykjavik).
Ice crampons are MANDATORY to protect yourself from slipping on icy surfaces. We'll have a chance to buy good crampons on the first evening.
Pills against sea-sickness for the boat ride
YOUR TOUR LEADERS
Born in 1980, Erez Marom is a professional nature photographer based in Israel. A musician since childhood and a university lecturer, Erez started his way in the photography world in 2008 and has since become a full-time artist, dedicating himself to pursuing his love for nature, and helping other pursue theirs.
Erez specializes in macro and landscape photography, spending much of his time in the field shooting the wildlife and sceneries of his favorite locations in Israel and overseas. In addition to shooting, Erez publishes professional articles and instructional texts in leading forums, magazines and websites, and dedicates a considerable amount of his time to sharing his experience and knowledge, teaching in Israeli institutes, giving guest lectures worldwide and traveling several times a year to guide his unique photography workshops.
Arnar Bergur Guğjónsson
Arnar Bergur was born 1979 in Reykjavík, but his family originating in the Westfjords resulted in a close relationship to the beautiful fjords and mountains of western Iceland.
Arnar is a family man with 2 children and works in the printing industry in Reykjavik. His interest in photography has always been around but gathered strength in 2008, when he became a passionate, self taught nature photographer.
Arnar enjoys the outdoors and likes to travel around, meet fellow travelers and discover natural beauty.
Arnar has held a private photo exhibition in Iceland and has participated in numerous group exhibitions as well. He has won many Icelandic local photo competitions with his landscape and aurora images.
OTHER TERMS AND CONDITIONS
In order to secure your spot, you are required to transfer a deposit of 250. This deposit will be refunded only in case the workshop gets cancelled for some reason. For your comfort, the deposit can be payed through PayPal.
The full amount (after discounts if applicable) must be payed via wire transfer 60 days prior to the workshop starting date.
In the case you need to cancel your participation, a 75% refund (not including deposit) will be given up to 30 days prior to the workshop starting date.
The tour plan above is subject to change. Weather in Iceland can be extremely unpredictable, and so in case of harsh weather, we may have to divert from our plan and do something else. There's always something to do though, wherever we are.
Important: In order to join the workshop, you will be required to sign a contract that establishes that the tour leaders are not responsible to physical or proprietary damages, and that you understand and accept several behavioral standards (including not taking excessive risk), necessary to ensure the workshop's success and your safe return.
Aurora is, of course, not guaranteed. We do, however, have the best possible conditions to see it in the north.