Workshops: Iceland Westfjords + Circumnavigation + Midnight Sun 4x4 Adventure: June 2016

Dates:  20 June - 04 July 2016  (15 days, 15 nights)  

Status: Trip Cancelled. 

Trip leaders:  Johnathan Esper and Andrew Studer  

Price:  $5500 USD or € or ISK equivalent (all-inclusive except airfare and personal travel days) 

Abridged Trip Flex Options:  You may opt to join just half of the trip, either the first week (Westfjords section) or second week (Circumnavigation) with the changeover date on 27th June in Akureyri, for an abridged price of $2900 and $2800 respectively. 

15 days of adventurous photography touring with two pro leaders exploring Iceland's most stunning and remote locations via 4x4 vehicle, offering a unique itinerary that's simply unmatched in terms of breadth or price. Brand new itinerary for 2016!

This incredible 15 day photography tour and workshop around Iceland, the legendary land of fire and ice, is meant for passionate outdoor photographers who desire to see and photograph Iceland intensively. After the continued success of this Westfjords and Highlands trip annually for the past four years, in 2016 we're changing our route slightly through Iceland to include a complete circumnavigation around the island after the Westfjords! This intensive itinerary is designed to help you photograph the most variety of regions, the under-photographed, and the most beautiful and rugged of all of Iceland’s diverse geographic areas, and also includes photo stops at many of the popular natural attractions that are considered must-sees. We photograph hidden treasures and remote outposts many Icelanders have never even visited, by driving in a large loop through the Westfjords peninsula, then through the geothermal areas and glacial river canyons of Northern Iceland, and completing our circumnavigation around the rest of the country travelling through glacial regions, beginning and ending at Reykjavik. 

We spend one week in the Westfjords region, photographing puffins, fjords, and sea cliffs. During the second half of the trip, we encircle the rest of Iceland, including the Myvatn geothermal areas of northern Iceland, the Eastfjords, the Highland regions of Landmannlauger and Langisjor, the ever-popular Jokulsarlon and Skaftafell glacier and glacial lagoon areas, and south coast highlights. We will explore some of Iceland’s most photogenic Highlands regions that are inaccessible to most tourists, including 4x4 trips into the highland areas of Landmannalauger, and the southern glacial lakes of the great Vatnajökull icecap. We’ll enjoy Iceland’s long summer daylight hours as we photograph highlights including erupting geysers and geothermal areas, nuzzle with Icelandic horses in idyllic green pastures, peer over sea cliffs alive with hundreds of thousands of birds including puffins, swim in warm volcanic springs, hike up mountains for panoramic vistas of Iceland’s green mountains, explore some of Iceland’s stark highland regions, and photograph Iceland’s glaciers.

So many photo trips around Iceland skip the Westfjords altogether, so this trip was specially designed to combine the Westfjords with a complete circumnavigation around the island and some 4x4 Highland excursions, getting in the entire breadth of Icelandic landscapes and geographic areas. Read below for a detailed itinerary and further trip information.

This trip will be co-lead with pro special-guest photographer Andrew Studer, who brings to this trip not only a second professional photographer to learn and get extra personalized assistance from, but also a special focus on capturing people in the landscape.  

Day 1 - Reykjavik

June 20, 2016

Arrive at Keflavik airport and transfer to your hotel in Reykjavik city (included). The trip begins with a delicious group welcome dinner. We'll have an evening/midnight sunset shoot session, if scheduling allows with award-winning Icelandic special guest photographer Örvar Þorgeirsson. Accomodation in Reykjavik is included.


Day 2 - Snaefellsness Peninsula & Grundarfjörður

June 21, 2016

We depart from Reykjavik and visit the Snaefellsness Peninsula south coast, Arnastapi sea arches, Snaefellsjokull mountain, and Londrangur cliffs and lighthouses. We'll have an evening shoot in the Grundarfjörður area, where our accommodations will also be for the night.


Day 3 - Westfjords: Beserksjraun, Flatey Island, Latrabjarg

June 22, 2016

On day 3, we'll explore the Beserksjraun green mossy lava fields, and then take the Stykkisholmur ferry via Flatey Island to the Westfjords. Throughout the day, we'll make roadside stops along the Westfjords coastline. The day will wrap up at the Latrabjarg bird cliffs with puffins. That night, we'll take advantage of our unparalleled opportunity to photograph the puffins with the summer solstice never-setting midnight sun over the Arctic Ocean. Accommodations for the night will be near Latrabjarg.


Day 4 - Westfjords Coastline & Pingeyri Peninsula

June 23, 2016

We'll spend day 4 photographing the Westfjords coastline from Bíldudalur, then the Dyjandi waterfall, followed by rough 4x4 excursion on the Pingeyri Peninsula for the chance to photograph the midnight sunset again out over the Arctic ocean. Lighthouses, shelf-roads, and mountainous fjords are all waiting to be photographed. Overnight in Pingeyri.


Day 5 - Ísafjörður

June 24, 2016

This will be a full day spent photographing the Ísafjörður region, or an alternate day for the boat trip out to Hornstrandir Peninsula in case of bad weather. We will possibly photograph local women in hand-crafted traditional dresses for an outdoor portrait session. Accommodations in Ísafjörður.


Day 6 - Hornstrandir Peninsula & Hesteyri

June 25, 2016

Boat trip (included) from Ísafjörður out to Hornstrandir Peninsula, the premier wilderness hiking destination in Iceland, with an overnight stay at water-accessed-only Hesteyri outpost, recalling the old days of solitude and reliance on the sea. We'll have the opportunity to photograph friendly arctic foxes, the only native mammal to Iceland, and rushing mountain streams amid wildflowers with epic mountain backdrops. Overnight in wilderness house at Hesteyri.


Day 7 - Westfjord Northern Coastline & Holmavik

June 26, 2016

Today we will photograph the Westfjord northern coastline, including fjords, seascapes, and waterfalls. In the evening, we'll explore the charming village of Holmavik.


Day 8 - Westfjords, Tröllaskagi Peninsula & Akureyri

June 27, 2016

In the beginning of the day, we'll conclude our Westfjords travels. Then we continue on eastward for some hours, through the mountainous Tröllaskagi Peninsula, and visit some medieval turf roofed stave churches. Later, we arrive in Akureyri, the second largest town in Iceland. Quiet churches along the ocean, farmsteads beneath pinnacles, or the northern-most botanical gardens in the world are all more possibilities to photograph. We'll have a bountiful dinner at a nice restaurant, then go out again for the midnight sunset.


Day 9 - Godafoss, Aldeyjarfoss & Myvatn

June 28, 2016

The day will begin with visiting Godafoss crescent waterfall, and Aldeyjarfoss waterfall in the Highlands. Then we follow some 4x4 shortcuts through the wilderness over to Myvatn lake and geothermal area, with interesting lava towers and formations, birch forests set amid the black lava, psuedo-craters, and huge craters. Accommodations will be in the Myvatn region.


Day 10 - Myvatn Volcanic Area, Namafjall & Husavik

June 29, 2016

On day 10 we'll continue to visit the Myvatn volcanic area, including the colorful Namafjall geothermal area. We'll also photograph Dettifoss and Selfoss waterfalls, Asbyrgi canyon, and some secret puffin cliffs on the far north coast. We'll spend the night around Husavik, a fishing town, where we hope to watch the midnight sun barely set over the Arctic Ocean -- we're only a few miles south of the Arctic Circle!


Day 11 - Northern Iceland & Eastfjords

June 30, 2016

This will be a longer travelling day, through remote sections of northern Iceland. We'll then spend the rest of the afternoon and evening in the Eastfjords, photographing coves, symmetrical mountains, secret waterfalls, and quaint fishing villages. Accommodations will be in Hofn, with a midnight sunset shoot around the famous Vestrahorn peaks and Stokknes black sand dunes.


Day 12 - Jokulsarlon

July 1, 2016

We'll spend the entire day around the ever-popular Jokulsarlon glacial lagoon area with icebergs, including for sunset. Accommodations will be in the Jokulsarlon area.


Day 13 - Jokulsarlon & Skaftafell Glacier Area

July 2, 2016

In the morning, we'll continue photographing Jokulsarlon and the nearby iceberg-scattered black sand beach. Included is a morning zodiac ride out on the glacial lagoon among the icebergs. We'll then continue along the Ring Road to the Skaftafell glacial area, including Svinafell glacier and Svartifoss waterfall hike. Accommodations will be next to the glaciers at Skaftafell.


Day 14 - South Coast Waterfalls, Vík y Mýrdal & Dyrhólaey

July 3, 2016

We'll take a walk right behind Seljalandsfoss waterfall (hope you brought along a weather-sealed camera body!), and also photograph Skógafoss. Next we'll spend our evening around the small town of Skógafoss. Next we’ll spend our evening around the small town of Vík y Mýrdal (which has a beautiful country church surrounded by fields of lupine wildflowers), and photograph the Dyrhólaey sea arches, sea stacks, and puffin colony.


Day 15 - Landmannalauger Highlands Area to Reykjavik 

July 4, 2016

On our last day, we'll explore the Landmannalauger Highlands area and 4x4 routes, including hikes, seeing colorful canyons and huge crater lakes, and bathing in geothermal pools. We'll arrive back in Reykjavik very late in the evening after a late dinner and possibly a late sunset. Accommodations are included on this last night, ending the trip.


General Trip Information

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

Start/End:  Accommodation starts on the evening of  June 20th, with depature from Reykjavik early the next day, and the trip concludes with a accommodation in Reykjavik on the night of July 4th. 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 opportunities and professional instruction
  • All ground and 4x4 transportation
  • All entry fees and activity fees listed in this itinerary
  • All meals and food (breakfasts provided by our guesthouses; picnic-style lunches and snacks, including Icelandic smoked slamon, locally grown fruits, sandwiches, etc.; and hot dinners at restaurants and a few special home-cooked meals at our places of accommodation.)
  • Accommodation for 15 nights, including a night in Reykjavik at the start of the trip. Accommodation will be comfortable, clean, and ideally situated close to photographic objectives, and will vary including hotels, country guesthouses, and a couple nights in Icelandic Highland wilderness cabins with sleeping bag accommodation, which will be provided. Based on double occupancy -- add $850 for single supplement. Some guesthouse rooms are with shared bathroom facilities.

Not Included: 

  • International flights and airport departure
  • Your time in Iceland before and after the trip
  • Trip insurance
  • Drinks
  • Souvenirs
  • Anything else not listed as being included

Experience Needed:  This tour is open to digital photographers of all skill levels. 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, shooting alongside not just one but two working pros passionate about making this a photo trip of a lifetime.  No emphasis is placed on classroom workshops or presentations, unless inclement weather gives us the time by forcing us indoors. Photographic topics that will be covered while shooting include classic landscape photography composition and technique, HDR (High Dynamic Range) imagery, panoramic photography, adventure and travel photography, and slow shutter speed effects. We may also be going on a couple shorter hikes (1-3 hours) to truly experience Iceland. Group participants may wander on their own occasionally if they wish to pursue individual photographic objectives, enabling each participant to get the most out of this once-in-a-lifetime trip. A maximum group size of 10 photographers ensures you will receive ample personal photographic coaching in the field from full time working pros, maximizing the group's flexibility and ability to shoot more places, more spontaneously based on light and weather, and provide the ultimate small group adventure experience.

Johnathan Esper of Wildernesscapes Photography LLC, based in the USA, will be leading the trip, in partnership with co-guide Andrew Studer. Johnathan is a full time photographer and experienced international photo trip leader, and this will be his 49th+ trip he's led to Iceland since beginning trips in the destination in 2011. Every trip so far has been an incredible experience for the participants. Johnathan 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 panoramic and classical landscapes, aurora borealis, and adventure photography in Iceland, the Arctic regions, and the Adirondack region in the USA.

Andrew Studer, an up and coming professional travel and adventure photographer and videographer based in Oregon, USA, will be the second photography guide.  This will keep guide to client ratios super low for unparrelled access to the instructors and learning opporunities at every stop.  Andrew will bring to the trip a special emphasis on capturing epic moments of people in the landscape, beyond just classical landscape photography.  Andrew is famous and in-demand for his unforgettably impactful images of adventurers in the wilderness landscape. This trip consequently has something for everyone with it's scope and leaders.


Andrew Studer's website may be viewed at

Award-winning Icelandic special guest photographer Örvar Þorgeirsson will hopefully also be joining us for an outing session sometime during the trip, for added instructional and cultural diversity. Örvar and his wife Mai run a fine art gallery in downtown Reykjavik, and he is one of the top photographers in the country. Clients always appreciate his patient come-alongside teaching style, and his exclusive private outings with clients are always in high demand. His images can be seen on

A comprehensive photo album from a 2014 trip participant can be viewed on Smugmug, to give you an idea of what this trip will be like. 

Trip Terms

Deposit:  A $1000 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. 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. 

For more information, contact:

Johnathan A. Esper
Wildernesscapes Photography LLC
PO Box 326, Long Lake, NY
United States
phone: 001 518 241 3363 (USA) or +354 626 0292 (Iceland)