Workshops: Iceland Winter Classics Photo Tour Co-Guided With Wild Watch Tours (UK)

Dates:  19-26 March 2016  (8 days, 7 nights)   

Cost:  $3200 USD or Euro equivalent

Availability: 1 male space available still, out of total 9 client spaces

Wild Watch Tours Ltd of United Kingdom and Wildernesscapes Photography LLC are co-leading an exciting week-long photo tour around southern Iceland, the legendary land of fire and ice. This tour features two photography guides with decades of combined experience leading trips, for outstanding coaching and learning opportunities in your photography!

Experience all the winter classics for photography around southern Iceland: ice caves, Jokulsarlon, icebergs, glacial lagoons, waterfalls, aurora borealis (weather dependent), glacier and ocean landscapes, reindeer, and above all, unparalleled chances to view the Aurora Borealis! We will be based out of wonderfully situationed rural hotels and guesthouses along the south coast and in the spectacular and Vatnajokull glacier regions, allowing a comfortable schedule, yet filling our days and nights with rewarding photography opportunities all around the region. Read below for a detailed itinerary and further trip information.


Day 1 - Reykjanes Peninsula

March 19, 2016

After arriving in Iceland, the trip begins a sunset shoot on Reykjanes Peninsula, followed by a delicious group dinner, which is included. Later, and weather permitting, we'll go on a night/aurora shoot. Accomodation in Reykjavik is included.


Day 2 - Skaftafell & Jokulsarlon

March 20, 2016

We depart from Reykjavik for a drive through the Skaftafell glacier region, with plenty of photo stops at farms, waterfalls, and more. During daylight hours, we utilize the late-winter sun to capture a plethora of scenic and rural destinations. We'll reach Jokulsarlon iceberg lagoon or iceberg beach in time for sunset and possible auroras in the evening. Accommodation in Jokulsarlon.


Day 3 - Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon, Iceberg Beach & Ice Caves

March 21, 2016

This will be a full day spent at Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon and iceberg beach areas, as well as other nearby glacial lagoons. We'll trek through ice caves with a local guide, experiencing and photographing this phenomenon unique to Iceland -- exploring the stunning transluscent blue interior. 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. Accommodation in Jokulsarlon.


Day 4 - Hofn, Stokksnes Peninsula & Glacial Lagoons

March 22, 2016

We'll see more spectacular glacial lagoons such as the remote Heinabergsjokull, wild reindeer herds, then Stokksnes peninsula and Vestrahorn mountains around Hofn, for sunset and possible auroras. If time allows, we'll visit additional Eastfjord coastline or secret waterfall scenes. Accommodation in Hofn.


Day 5 - Eastfjords & Skaftafell

March 23, 2016

The day will begin with wrapping up Eastfjords scenery, along with some last photo opportunities around the Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon region. We'll then visit Skaftafell NP glaciers from various vantage points for late afternoon, sunset, and potential aurora. Accommodation in Skaftafell.


Day 6 - Skogafoss, Vik & Dyroleay

March 24, 2016

On day 6, we'll experience the Skogafoss and Seljalandsfoss waterfalls, and some lesser known falls, also exploring the Skogafoss sands old plane crash. Later, we'll head to the Vik seastacks and Dyroleay headland area for sunset and possible aurora locations. Accommodation in Vik y Myrdal.


Day 7 - Fludir & Geysir Area

February 9, 2016

We'll have a 5 hour drive as we travel back west to Reykjavik, making many stops along the way at places we skipped prior, including glaciers, waterfalls, rural scenes, Icelandic churches, etc. Accommodation in Fludir/Geysir area.


Day 8 - Golden Circle & Back to Reykjavik

March 26, 2016

Our last day will be spent at the Golden Circle sights of Thingvellir, Geysir, Gullfoss, and Bruarfoss rapids, arriving back in Reykjavik in early evening and wrapping up the tour. There will be no dinner included on this last night.


General Trip Information

Group Size:  Maximum size of 10.

Arrival/Departure:  You must inform me of your arrival time to KEF.  Airport Tranfer to your hotel is normally not included, and on your own. Please allow enough time for yourselves in Reykjavik, based on the trip itinerary.


  • Mini-bus vehicle for group (probably Mercedes Benz Sprinter van, but may change based on group size)
  • Local guide and driver (Johnathan Esper and 2nd UK photo guide Peter Jones)
  • Occasional entry fees when required (Vestrahorn site, or the occasional museum/indoor activity, especially if it's really inclement weather outside, but museums are generally skipped if it's decent weather)
  • An ice cave visit for unique photography with a local ice guide 
  • All bookings and arrangement services made on group's behalf
  • All meals (mix of 2-3 course dinners, lunches bagged or self-choose at convenience store stops or cafes along the way, breakfast always provided at hotel)
  • Accommodation in country hotels and nice guesthouses with ensuite bath and double occupancy. Single room upgrade is $70/nt extra. If non-elective, forced upgrade to single due to no suitable rooming partners, then a 50% subsidized single supplement fee is still charged.

Not Included: 

  • Airfare
  • Airport transfers to/from your hotel unless they align nicely with the trip start/end times
  • Extra days or nights in Reykjavik on your own before/after the photo tour
  • Any and all drinks - alcoholic or non-alcoholic - at sit down meals of all dinners and some lunches, when good pure Icelandic water is always offered
  • Gas station snacks/coffee stops
  • Bathroom entry fees if applicable
  • Souvenirs

Accommodation/Single Supplement:  Our included accommodation will be in comfortable country hotels and guesthouses chosen specifically for their location close to our photographic destinations, in twin rooms, with normally (but not guaranteed - depends on availability) private bath, shared with another trip participant if you're a single.  Single supplement is $70/night for this trip; you must let me know specifically if you need a single room and wish to upgrade.  If anyone is forced to upgrade to single room due to no suitable rooming partner of the same gender, then they will still be asked to pay a 50% subsidized single supplement rate. 

Packing:  A packing list, which will be provided, has been fine-tuned over the years to include everything needed but nothing extraneous for a typical photographer. If you have questions about it, please let me know. I want to stress that simplicity is good, and please don't bring too much, as it just becomes a burden to carry around, transport, and won't be used. Also, while things generally stay dry, if you're very concerned, you may wish to pack things inside plastic bags in your suitcase.

Special Dietary Restrictions:  While traditional Icelandic meals include lamb and fish, if you are a vegetarian or have other special needs, please let me know ahead of time.  There will be some group meals, and other meals may be ordered individually.

Physical Fitness:  This trip offers a fully packed schedule of sightseeing and photography and travel up to 13 hours a day, so a good travel attitude and high energy and enthusiasm is very important. We will not be hiking very far distances on the trip, usually staying close to the road, perhaps a 1 hour round trip walk at most, but we may be out in the cold and wind for several hours at a time.  Additionally, it is important that you are generally comfortable and confident in walking in outdoor environments and terrain which may possibly be steep or muddy or slippery, else you may miss out on some photo opportunities by having to stay closer to the car. 

Icelandic Contact:  Should you need to contact me last-minute, my Icelandic mobile phone number is +354 844 5033. However, please contact me by email for all but last-minute needs. 

Photography Instruction

This photo workshop is all about in-the-field field photography and situational instruction, working alongside your trip leaders. 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. A long trip through various parts of the country gives us the best chances to see and photograph this phenomenon.

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. A maximum group size of 10 photographers ensures you will receive ample personal photographic coaching in the field from two full time working pros, and provides an intimate small group adventure experience. 

Johnathan Esper of Wildernesscapes Photography LLC in the USA is organizing the trip. Co-guiding is Peter Jones, founder of WildWatch Tours Ltd from the United Kingdom. Johnathan is a full time photographer and international photo trip leader, and has a unique background and an intimate knowledge of Iceland from exploring and photographing Iceland intensively for months at a time on his own and is also very experienced in leading workshops, having led 35+ very successful photography workshops around Iceland since 2011. He specializes in wide panoramic landscapes, adventure photography, classic landscapes, and aurora borealis austral photography in Iceland and the Adirondack region in the USA.  Peter Jones is the founder and MD of Wildwatch Tours Ltd., a photo tour company based out of the United Kingdom. Peter has a lifetime interest in Natural History. Peter is the past Chairman of The Royal Photographic Society Nature Group and past President of the Leicester & Leicestershire PS, and now a member of Eastwood PS and Claycross PS, and now lives in Nottinghamshire. Peter has visited many countries as a naturalist and wildlife photographer. He is an excellent organiser and communicator with a delightful sense of humour, which makes him a popular tour leader.

Trip Terms

Deposit:  An $800 USD 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. For USA and Canada clients, we ask payment to be in the form of a personal check or bank check made payable and mail to:  "Wildernesscapes Photography LLC", PO Box 326, Long Lake, NY 12847, USA.  For European and other international clients, payment options include bank transfer to my Icelandic account, or credit card payment through my website. The deposit portion may also be paid via credit card for all clients regardless of country, without added fee. You may conveniently pay your deposit here (near bottom of page) securely with your credit card, processed by Paypal payment processor.

Final Payment: The final payment for the balance due on the trip (after your paid deposit), is due by the trip start, at the latest. For USA and Canada clients, I ask everyone to mail me a personal check or a bank check (denominated in USD) 2 weeks prior to your international departure, to my address of Wildernesscapes Photography LLC, PO Box 326, Long Lake, NY 12847, USA. For European and other international clients, I ask for either a bank wire transfer to my Icelandic bank account ( Arion Banki, IBAN = IS29 0323 2623 1182 2311 8230 69 , SWIFT = ESJAISRE , and account  (reykningur) # 0323 26 231182  - but please email me also to let me know you've made a transfer, this is important because I don't always check my account).  For all clients, for all countries, I do also accept credit card payments, but I do charge an extra 2% surcharge to partially cover my cost of accepting cards for the final payment portion. This can be paid on my website through Paypal. I can also accept cash currency at trip start in any major currency, with USD or ISK preferred, or with 2% currency conversion fee added for EUR, CAD, GBP,  or others.

Cancellation Policy:  In the unfortunate case if you need to cancel, the cancellation policy is: Deposit payments are refundable as 80% 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 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 the trip is cancelled for some major reason, such as overwhelming volcanic activity, trip leader health crisis, etc, then I fully refund everything in cash or Paypal or bank transfer, or a pro-rated amount if the trip must end early for the same reasons.  If the trip leader is unable to perform his duties, of course a substitute leader will be sought, and overall trip cancellation is a last-resort. I am not responsible for reimbursing you for travel or other ancillary expenses you incur in prep for the trip.  

Liability Waiver:  I do require a signed liability release from all trip participants signed by the trip start. I can send a copy for your review if requested. If you do not wish to sign the document, and as a result wish to cancel your trip, that's fine, but my standard cancellation policies still apply.

Trip Insurance:  I do require that all trip participants have at least a basic level of international trip insurance which also covers medical care, or else their home plan that covers them abroad also.  Travel insurance isn't expensive, and I recommend the travel insurance comparison website , where you can find a 2 week policy for as little as $25. Please note that I do have an Icelandic commerical drivers license for legal purposes and safety.  This trip is being formally run, for legal purposes, through my USA-based business Wildernesscapes Photography LLC.