Workshops: Iceland Winter Circumnavigation + Aurora Tour, Feb. 2015

Iceland wintertime circumnavation private group trip

 -  featuring the classic itinerary of the south coast till Vatnajökull glacier region including icecaves and Jokulsarlon icebergs, combined with a Northern Iceland and Aurora Borealis photography tour visiting Myvatn and Akureyri region

Dates: 04 - 16 February 2015  (11 tour days, 11 nights)
all 10 spaces filled, fully booked
$3550 pp USD or Euro equivalent,  all inclusive incl. domestic flight 

( This trip is split into two segments, and it is possible to attend just 1 of the segements: $1300 for the Feb 05-08 northern Iceland tour segment, and $2400 for the Feb 9-15 tour segment)   

This unique 11 full days/11 nights photography tour and workshop covering both northern and southern Iceland, the legendary land of fire and ice, is meant for outdoor photographers and nature-goers who desire to see and photograph Iceland's beauty in winter, including glacier and ocean landscapes, waterfalls, crystal ice caves, icebergs and glacial lagoons, and above all, giving ourselves unparralled chances and locations to view the Aurora Borealis in all regions of the country.  Aurora Borealis viewing depends on 2 main factors: solar activity, and clear weather; a long trip like this gives you the best chances to be in Iceland during these periods of solar outbursts and in various parts of the country should cloudy weather persist over a part of Iceland.

During daylight hours, we utilize the low-angle sun to capture magic light even midday, and photograph a plethora of scenic and rural distinations including glaciers, country churches, waterfalls, horses, and iceberg lagoons. Ice caves unique to Iceland are extraordindary to explore and photograph inside, which have stunning transluscent blue colors, which we'll do with a local ice guide for 1-2 days!  Then, 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. We will be based out of cozy rural guesthouses along the south coast, the spectacular Vatnajökull glacier region, allowing a comfortable schedule yet filling our days and nights with rewarding photography opportunities all around the island. 

We also spend time in northern Iceland - some say the best region in the country for viewing the Aurora Borealis, during the height of the spring soltice, which statistically has the most frequent occuring aurora borealis activity.  We will especially photograph the famous geothermal areas of Lake Myvatn Godafoss waterfall, as well as the Tröllskagi Peninsula mountains, based in Iceland's second largest town, Akureyri. The Akureyri region is ideal to view the Aurora Borealis due to it's more northerly latitudes perfectly situated under the Auroral Oval region of greatest auroral activitiy. We will be based out of cozy rural guesthouses in Akureyri and Myvatn regions, and the Snæfellsness Peninsula, creating a packed itinerary schedule and filling our days and nights with rewarding photography opportunities all around the region.   Included in the trip price is an internal domestic flight back to Reykjavik at the begining of the partial-one-way itinerary. 

Photography Instruction: A long itinerary and private group ensures you will receive ample personal photographic coaching in the field from a full time working pro, and provide an small group adventure experience. This photo workshop is all about in-the-field field photography and situational instruction working alongside your leader, although we can also do image critiquing on client's laptops in the guesthouse on a couple evenings. Each day the group will photograph diverse landscapes and natural wonders of Iceland, in the quiet and peaceful setting of the Icelandic wintertime. Then, each evening and night the group will enjoy good restaurant meals and a cozy guesthouse, while always being prepared to go out and photograph the Aurora Borealis should it occur. The chances of us photographing this phenomenon are very high, given that we're out for seven nights, and way away from the city of Reykjavik and the southern coast of Iceland. 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 shutter -speed effects. Our full 6 days and 6 nights of photography potential, allow us to see a variety of well-known Icelandic natural wonders around Akureyri, Lake Myvatn, and the Snæfellsness Peninsula, 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 with aurora potential, winter days can long; sometimes our groups are putting in 15+ hour days! 

Pro Leader: Johnathan Esper of Wildernesscapes Photography LLC in the USA will be leading the trip, his 20th 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, and he specializes in wide panoramic landscapes and adventure photography in Iceland and the Adirondack region in the USA. Johnathan is also very experienced in leading workshops, having led numerous very successful photography workshops around Iceland since 2011 which are often sold-out, and also sometimes works with the very best native Icelandic photographer, Örvar Þorgeirsson. Örvar will join us as a special guest photographer on one of the days or nights which will be a highlight for everyone, and his images are seen on

Trip Details: The cost of this tour is $3550 USD (or Euro equivalent), all inclusive, and begins in Reykjavik on the morning of 05 Feb 2015 and concludes in Reykjavik on 16 Feb 2015.  The trip cost includes domestic airfare from Reykjavik to Akureyri at the beginning of the trip . Also included is all photographic instruction and guiding, all ground and 4x4 transportation in a spacious and luxurious Mercedez Benz Sprinter van, ice cave local guide, all meals and food (breakfast served in our guesthouse, lunches sourced from local cafes or bagged lunches, and hot dinners at our places of accomodation and/or restaurants), and accommodation for 11 nights (in Icelandic guesthouses and country hotels, with private bath). Optional accomodation and potential night aurora shooting starts on the evening of  04 Feb 2015, (Alternate: early arrival on 05 Feb) and the trip concludes morning of 16 Feb.  A $500 deposit is due at the time of registration, and the remaining balance is due by the trip start. This tour is open to photographers of skill levels, with rural country and landscape and austral photography interests, and a detailed suggested packing list will be provided.  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. If you have additional questions, the trip leader will be happy to answer them over the phone or email. 


day #dateitineraryaccomodation location
004 Feb. 2015Optional Arrival to Iceland, day in Reykjavik on your own. Optinal aurora night shooting if present. Reykjavik (not included)
105 Feb. 2015Alt. arrival day, early AM from N. America. Included domestic mid-morning flight from Reykjavik to Akureryi.   Myvatn lake and craters, Dimmuborgir and other lava formations,  Myvatn nature baths spa (included), possible nighttime or aurora photography over Myvatn formationsMyvatn
206 Feb. 2015Myvatn, Krafla, and other geothermal areas.  Godafoss waterfall.  Optional (not included) super-jeep 4x4 adventure to Aldeyjarfoss waterfall.  Possible aurora over Godafoss. Akureyri
307 Feb. 2015Longer drive from Akureyri to Snaefellsness Peninsula, with some photo stops. Snaefellsness Peninsula volcanic and ocean sights including Arnastapi, Budir. Possible Aurora over KirkjufellsfossGrundarfjordur, Snaefellsness Peninsula
408 Feb. 2015Snaefellsness Peninsula volcanic and ocean sights including Arnastapi, Budir church, and Kirkjufellsfoss. Possible night shoot with special Icelandic guest photographer Orvar ThorgeirssonReykjavik 4-star hotel
509 Feb. 2015Golden Circle sights of Gullfoss, Geysir, and Bruarfoss Vik
610 Feb. 2015Longer drive to Skaftafell glacier region, with plenty of photo stops at farms, waterfalls, Eyjafjallajokull, and country rural sights. Possible aurora over Svinafellsjokull glacierSkaftafell
711 Feb. 2015Ice caves full day exploration with a local guideJokulsarlon
812 Feb. 2015Full day at Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon and iceberg beach areas, and other nearby glacial lagoonsJokulsarlon
913 Feb. 2015Eastfjords exploration around Hofn, Heinabergsjokull, and Vestrahorn. Possible Aurora over Stokkness.Hofn
1014 Feb. 2015last sunrise photo op at Jokulsarlon. Skaftafell glacier vistas. Vik seastacks and Dyroleay headland area for sunset and possible aurora locations.Skaftafell
1115 Feb. 2015Vik seastacks and Dyroleay headland area for sunrise. Skogafoss and Seljalandsfoss waterfalls, and additional farm scenics. Alt. Night shoot with Icelandic special guest photographer Orvar ThorgeirssonReykjavik 4-star hotel
1216 Feb 2015Departure (included airport dropoff)n/a



Ocean surf and icebergs, Iceland
Jokulsarlon Aurora Borealis reflection
Jokulsarlon lagoon sunset, Iceland
Aurora Over Iceland
  •  Deposit Payment / booking:   To reserve your space on this trip, please send in a deposit payment of $500 USD per person, with the balance due 2 weeks prior to trip start.  You may pay the deposit portion via credit card for all clients regardless of country, without added fee;   pay here on this website with the link provided .  Personal checks as payment are appreciated, please mail to "Wildernesscapes Photography", PO Box 236, Long Lake, NY 12847, USA. Do please let me know if/when you're mailing in your check, so that I can reserve your space on the trip right away. 
  • Arrival / Departure.   I personally pick everyone up from the Keflavik airport (KEF), and bring them to their not-included accomodation the night before the trip starts (Feb 04), or pickup the morning of the trip start.  (05 Feb 2015 for this trip). You must inform me of your arrival time to KEF.  Departure can be anytime on 16 Feb 2015.    
  • Liability Waiver: I do require a signed liability release from all trip participant. You may either request one be emailed to you and print it out and bring it with you, or I'll have some copies for you to sign upon arrival in Iceland. 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 also 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.  This trip is being formally run through my USA-based business Wildernesscapes Photography LLC.  
  • 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.  
  • 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. You may pay via my other website at , where you manually enter your information, then get transferred to a secure Paypal payment processor.
  • Accommodation/single supplement: Our included accommodation will be in comfortable rural guesthouses and nice country hotels 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 $50/night for this trip; you must let me know specifically if you need a single room and wish to upgrade.  If there's an odd number of the same gender, someone may be forced to upgrade to single. 
  • Packing: A packing list will be sent, which has been fine-tuned over the years to include everything needed but nothing extraneous for a typical photographer. (obviously non photographers needn't pay attention to the photo gear section). 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.   
  • Physical Fitness:  This trip offers a fully packed schedule of sightseeing and photography and travel up to 10-15 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 to access ice caves or something, 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, or else you may miss out on some photo opportunites by having to stay closer to the car. I will have some micro-spikes to wear, although if you have your own pair, please bring them.
  • Special dietary restrictions:  While traditional Icelandic meals include lamb and fish, if you are a vegetarian or have other special needs, there's always other options available since we usually order individually at mealtimes. 
  • Icelandic contact. Should you need to contact me last-minute, my Icelandic mobile phone # is: +354 844 5033.  However, please contact me by email for all but last-minute needs.