Workshops: Iceland 2016 New Years Photo Tour

Dates:  December 27, 2015 - January 03, 2016  (8 days, 7 nights)   

Cost:  $2800 USD or Euro equivalent

Availability: 1 of 8 spaces available

This 8 day / 7 night photography tour features an exciting winter itinerary, along with ringing in the New Year at the famous Jokulsarlong Iceberg Lagoon!

Explore the legendary land of fire and ice, visiting and photographing sights throughout southern Iceland. Meant for outdoor photographers of all skill levels who desire to see Iceland's beauty in winter, on this tour you will experience glacier and ocean landscapes, waterfalls, crystal ice caves, icebergs and glacial lagoons, and above all, unparalleled chances to view the Aurora Borealis in all regions of the country. This trip focuses on bringing you to outstanding rural locations in Iceland, away from all the day-tours from Reykjavik. We'll have a comfortable schedule, days and evenings filled with rewarding photography opportunities around the island, and cozy stays in rural guesthouses at night. Read below for a detailed itinerary and further trip information.


Day 0 - Reykjavik

December 26, 2015

You have the option of arriving in Reykavik on this day, as the tour departs early the next morning, but hotel is not included on this night. You can spend the day on your own in Reykjavik, and we can convene for a bonus night shoot at Þingvellir if there is clear weather.


Day 1 - South Coast & Vik

December 27, 2015

We depart from Reykjavik in early morning for a drive along the south coast to Vik. Along the way, we'll photography South Coast waterfalls, farm scenes, and other rural country sights. During daylight hours, we utilize the low-angle sun to capture magic light even at midday. We'll end the day with a sunset shoot at Vik. Accommodations will be in Vik.


Day 2 - Southeast Iceland & Skaftafell

December 28, 2015

On day 2, we'll explore the southeast of Iceland, including waterfalls, Icelandic horses, and abandoned farms. Accommodations will be near Skaftafell National Park. 


Day 3 - Jokulsarlon Iceberg Lagoon & Ice Caves

December 29, 2015

We'll trek through ice caves with a local guide, experiencing and photographing this phenomenon unique to Iceland -- exploring the stunning transluscent blue interior. We'll then spend the rest of the day in the glacial lagoon regions photographing ice and icebergs. In the dark hours of each day, with epic glacial backgrounds and in dark places away from any artifical lights, we'll search the skies and wait to photograph the Aurora Borealis - always with phenomenal landscape backdrops and reflection potential. Accommodations will be in Höfn.


Day 4 - Eastfjords

December 30, 2015

Today will be spent exploring the Eastfjords coastal scenery, reindeer herds, old bridges, and secret waterfalls. Accommodations will be in the Jokulsarlon area.


Day 5 - Jokulsarlon Lagoon & Iceberg Beach

December 31, 2015

This will be a full day spent at Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon and iceberg beach areas, as well as other nearby glacial lagoons. In the evening we'll go out for a possible aurora over Jokulsarlon. Accommodations will be in the Jokulsarlon area.


Day 6 - Vik & Dryoley

January 1, 2016

The morning will be spent at Jokulsarlon for our last sunrise photo opportunity in this location. We'll then visit the rest of farm and waterfall sights back till Vik, followed by Vik seastacks and and headlands. We'll see a possible aurora from Dyroley in the evening.

Day 7 - Golden Circle

January 2, 2016

Day 7 includes a packed itinerary of Golden Circle signs of Þingvellir National Park, including Öxararfoss and Silfra, Bruarfoss, Geysir, and Gullfoss. Accommodations will be in the Fluðir area.


Day 8 - Return to Reykjavik

January 3, 2016

We'll return to Reykjavik around 2 pm, in time for departing flights in the afternoon -- or you can stay on your own in Reykjavik! Accommodations are not included.


General Trip Information

Group Size:  Maximum size of 8; minimum size of 3.

Start/End:  Potential night aurora shooting starts on the evening of December 26, 2015, but accommodation is not included on this night. Depature from Reykjavik to officially begin the tour is early on December 27. The trip concludes on January 3, 2016 without accomodation for that night in Reykjavik. We'll be so immersed in the Icelandic countryside for our entire time as a group, that we have left no time to enjoy the sights of Reykjavik, so we encourage you to stay in Reykjavik for a couple days on your own, either before or after the tour.


  • All photographic instruction and local guiding
  • All transporation in a 4x4 van
  • Ice cave visit with local glacier guide
  • All meals and food (breakfast served by our hotels/guesthouses, lunches sourced from local cafes or bagged lunches, and hot dinners at our places of accommodation and/or restaurants)
  • Any entry fees to various areas or attractions
  • Accommodation for 7 nights (in Icelandic guesthouses and country hotels; accommodation is based on double occupancy, with a mix of ensuite and shared bathrooms; single supplement fee may be added for $70/night).

Not Included: 

  • Flights and airport transfer
  • Your time in Iceland before and after the trip
  • Trip insurance
  • Souvenirs
  • Anything else not listed as being included

Experience Needed:  This tour is open to photographers of skill levels, with rural country and landscape and austral photography interests.  If you have additional questions, the trip leader will be happy to answer them over the phone or by email.

Photography Instruction

This photo workshop is all about in-the-field field photography and situational instruction, working alongside your trip leader. Each day, the group will photograph diverse landscapes and natural wonders of Iceland, in the quiet and peaceful setting of the Icelandic wintertime. In the evening, we'll occasionally have image critiques and editing sessions on clients' laptops. We will always being prepared to go out to photograph the Aurora Borealis should it occur. Aurora Borealis viewing depends on 2 main factors: solar activity and clear weather. The chances of us photographing this phenomenon are very high, given that we're out for six nights, and way away from the city of Reykjavik.

Photographic topics that will covered while shooting include nighttime and austral photography, Aurora Borealis photography, classic landscape photography composition and technique, HDR (High Dynamic Range) imagery, panoramic photography, adventure and travel photography, tilt/shift focusing, and slow shutterspeed effects. Our full 8 days and nights of photography potential allow us to see a variety of well-known Icelandic natural wonders of the South Coast and Eastfjords, ice caves of the Vatnajokull glacier region, the glaciers and icebergs of Jokulsarlon lagoon, and combined with austral wonderment, enable each participant to get the most out this once-in-a-lifetime trip. In good daytime weather and clear night skies, February days can long; occasionally our groups are putting in 15+ hour days! A maximum group size of 8 photographers ensures you will receive ample personal photographic coaching in the field from a full time working pro, and provide an intimate small group adventure experience. 

Johnathan Esper of Wildernesscapes Photography LLC, based in the USA, will be leading the trip, his 35th+ in Iceland. Johnathan is a full time photographer and international photo trip leader, and has a unique background and an intimate knowledge of Iceland from living out of a car, exploring and photographing Iceland intensively for months at a time. He specializes in wide panoramic landscapes and adventure photography in Iceland and the Adirondack region in the USA. Johnathan also sometimes works with the very best native Icelandic photographer, Örvar Þorgeirsson. Örvar will join us as a special guest photographer for a session which will be a highlight for everyone. His images can be seen on

Trip Terms

Deposit:  An $800 deposit is due at the time of registration, and the remaining balance is due by the trip start.  Until payment is sent, your place is not guaranteed. You may conveniently pay your deposit here (near bottom of page) securely with your credit card, processed by Paypal payment processor.  The deposit portion may also be paid via personal or bank check for USA and Canadian clients. Refunds are possible, with a mix of cash refund and future trip credit, depending on cancellation date. Please contact me if you need any assistance in signing up!

Final Payment: The final payment for the balance due on the trip (after your paid deposit), is due one week prior to the trip start. Payment options include bank transfer to my Icelandic bank account (details on request), cash in person at the trip start (with prior permissin), personal or bank checks (preferred for USA and Canada clients), and credit cards (a 2% credit card fee will be added for final payments with card).

Cancellation Policy:  In the unfortunate case if you need to cancel, cancellation policy is: Deposit payments are refundable as 100% future scheduled trip credit up to 120 days before trip start, 50% future scheduled trip credit if cancellation is 120-60 days before trip start, and non-refundable less than 60 days before start. Final payments for the full trip balance are 100% refundable as cash until the trip start, and non-refundable after the trip start. If I am able to fill your empty spot on the trip, half of what you'd lose will additionally be returned to you, for all the above situations.   If I cancel the trip for some major reason, such as overwhelming volcanic activity, trip leader health crisis, etc, then I fully refund everything in cash or Paypal, or a pro-rated amount if the trip must end early for the same reasons. I am not responsible for reimbursing you for travel or other ancillary expenses you incur in prep for the trip. 

Trip Leader

Johnathan A. Esper
Wildernesscapes Photography LLC
PO Box 326, Long Lake, NY
United States
[email protected]
phone: 001 518 354 3983 (USA) or +354 844 5033 (Iceland)   or 

Special guest native Icelandic photographer:
Örvar Þorgeirsson