Contents:

  • Instructors/Guides
  • Camera Gear
  • Shooting and Processing agenda
  • Weather
  • Arriving in Iceland/Flights 
  • Food
  • Accommodations
  • Clothing
  • Luggage Guide
  • Ice Caves
  • Blue Lagoon
  • Trip interruption and cancellation insurance

Introduction:

We are thrilled you have chosen to join us in an amazing photography journey and trip of a lifetime to Iceland, one of the premiere landscape photography destinations in the world.  The intention of the workshop is to have a great time discovering a new place, to learn and implement technical and artistic technique in photography, and walk away with amazing memories and images.   For these reasons we have decided that 4 guest per instructor is an optimal number to ensure great photographic opportunities  experiences for all guests.  

This document is designed to help you prepare for the upcoming workshop.  Please, let us know if you have questions.  We want to help everyone feel as relaxed and as excited as possible as we embark on this wonderful adventure together.  

Instructors/ Guides:

sethhamel
katehope

Seth Hamel

www.sethhamelphoto.com

 

 

 

 

Kate Hope     

www.thewildwithinus.com

Icelandic culture:

We found the Icelandic natives to be extremely friendly, helpful and genuine.  The area is very safe for travelers.  We will be travelling mostly along the West coast and South shore of the island.  Most areas that we drive through and visit are in rural areas.  As we drive to our destination points we will be traveling through small towns from time to time.  These are nice stops to use the restroom, grab coffee, snacks and meals when needed.  Due to the long-lasting “Golden Hour” light, we have plenty of time to stop when needed.

Camera Gear:

  • Minimum of one DSLR or mirrorless Camera Body
  • Wide angle lens (16mm or wider for full frame cameras, approximately 12mm  for crop sensor) - 2.8 is very helpful for  night and aurora borealis images. This is not required however.  F4 will do the trick, but 2.8 will be better.
  • Mid-range lens (24-70)
  • Telephoto (70-200)
  • Reliable Tri-pod with a ball head (Required, snow, sand and wind require a sturdy tripod)
  • Polarizer
  • ND and Graduated ND Filters
  • European wall and car electricity converters
  • Rain sleeve for camera and lens
  • Battery charger
  • Extra batteries and memory cards

Shooting and Processing agenda:

Here is a list of the specific destination locations that we plan on photographing (we will also pull over and photograph scenes along the way which have nice light and subject matter).  Image post-production and instruction will occur each evening after our day of shooting, while waiting for the chance to photograph the Northern Lights during the dark hours of the night. 

Snaelfessness peninsula:

  • ‘The black church’
  • Londrangar
  • Gatlklettur Arch
  • Arnarstapi (fishing town)
  • Mt. Kirkjufell

Vik:

  • Reynisfjara Beach
  • Seljalandsfoss
  • Skogafoss

Jokulsarlon Lagoon:

  • The diamond beach
  • Ice Cave
  • Blue Lagoon

Weather:

In November and December average lows are around 28 degrees Fahrenheit, and highs at approximately 39 degrees Fahrenheit.d  Rain is a common occurrence in Iceland so we will want to be well prepared for such events in order to stay comfortable and protect our camera gear in the event that we are shooting in those sorts of conditions.  Wind storms can exist on the island and we may need to prepare to be flexible in our shooting agenda and lodging itinerary.    

Arriving in Iceland/Flights:

In order to account for the possibility of flight delays or luggage delays  and a bonus of having  time to recover from travel and time change, we are requiring everyone to fly in the day before the tour starts:

For the December 2-9, 2017 workshop:  You will need to fly in on December 1, 2017.  

For the December 12-19, 2017 workshop:  You will need to fly in on December 11, 2017.  

For the November 21-28, 2018 workshop:  You will need to fly in on November 20, 2018.

 

The airport to fly into is the Keflavik International Airport, KEF, also known as Rekjavik-Keflavik Airport. Most flights from the United States arrive in Reykjavik, Iceland between 6:15 AM and 6:45 AM.  We recommend taking the day to explore Rekjavik.  

We will be booking you a room at the “Airport Hotel - Aurora Star” for the night that you fly into Keflavik the day before the workshop begins.   It is very convenient, located just across the street and offers a shuttle to and from the hotel.  We will meet the next morning at this hotel, load into our vehicles and go straight from there. 

For those who are considering spending additional time in Iceland outside of the workshop, we do recommend spending those days after the workshop.  This will be helpful as after experiencing the workshop you will be familiar with which areas you liked the most and will give you opportunities to photograph those areas again.

Food:

During the workshop we will be doing a combination of eating out, and having family style meals which will be prepared by us.  We are not world class chefs, but we will get the job done.  For anyone desiring to participate in the cooking, you are more the welcome, but we do not expect or require this.   As we are staying in vacation rental properties throughout the workshop, it will be most convenient to eat where we are staying.  Many lunches that we eat can be pre-made for our day in the field.  However, as with dinners we may eat out from time to time based on convenience.  Both Kate and Seth will be taking care of this. For the times that we eat out, Iceland’s staples are lamb and fish.  The more exotic foods include horse, shark and puffin.  From our experience the lamb is quite wonderful!  After we receive everyone's questionnaire, we will construct a meal plan and send that out to everyone.  

Lodging:

During the workshop we will be staying in vacation rentals almost exclusively.  These rentals can accommodate 5 or more individuals.  Most lodging arrangements are for double occupancy for each rental, so you will likely have a roommate.  For those needing single occupancy arrangements please contact us at:  info@zion-photography.com

Clothing:

Expect Arctic conditions. It is quite important that you bring a decent amount of synthetic clothing, it is very important to layer adequately.  Some cotton is ok, but in the event that we receive rain you will definitely want synthetic layers.  Cotton will stay wet and will make you cold.  Synthetic clothing dries faster and keeps you relatively warm. Icelanders dress with 3 or 4 thin layers, starting with wool and ending with Gortex (or similar).

What is synthetic clothing?  Fleece, nylon, polyester.  Even though wool is not synthetic, it will keep you warm even while wet.  

To get specific, here is what we recommend bringing:

  • Fleece pants or long johns
  • Outdoor hiking pants (not Jeans)
  • Synthetic rain pants (a light rain pant should be adequate)
  • One or two fleece tops
  • Rain jacket and rain pants
  • Eye protection (sunglasses)        
  • Hiking boots (water proof is best), wool socks.
  • Hat and gloves, scarf and balaclava    
  • T-shirts for underlayers
  • Spare gloves - spare shoes.
  • Micro-spikes (for walking on packed snow and icy sections)
  • Waterproof boot covers

Luggage Guide:

5 people will be in one vehicle so it is important to bring only one medium size suitcase under 23”-26”, one camera bag and one tripod each.

Ice Caves:

The Ice caves are a natural amazing phenomenon that can change with in days depending on weather conditions, so we never know what to expect, but we always hope for the amazing turquoise blue color. In the past few years Ice cave visits have become very popular, not only by photographers but by all travelers. There are groups going inside the caves from first daylight until darkness daily. This means it’s getting harder for photographers to set up their tripods and photograph to their likings. So taking tours to the Ice caves as we used to do is no longer a good option. We therefore need to hire a local glacier guide half the day that has been scouting and looking for other ice cave options with photographers needs in mind and hope for better cave opportunities. This will involve some more hiking to get to these caves.( approx.1-2 km).

Blue Lagoon:

We will spend the morning relaxing at the Blue Lagoon, Iceland's most famous geothermal spa.  Reservations are required. Please take a look at the website http://www.bluelagoon.com to determine which spa package you are interested in.  Let us know what you'd like to book and we will take care of the final reservation. If you'd rather skip the swim, you can take a walk on the lava field, which surrounds the Lagoon and offers some interesting  photo opportunities.  

 

Trip interruption and cancellation insurance:

We strongly recommend taking out trip interruption and cancellation insurance. There are many companies that provide trip interruption or cancellation insurance .  We also recommend medical travel insurance, to ensure you are covered for any health issues that occur abroad. Enlighten Photography LLC cannot be responsible for any medical treatment, or cost associated with returning home.

Here are several review sites.  We recommend starting with the following sites which contain highly-rated companies:  

There are certain companies that continually, year after year, make the top-ten list (in alphabetical order):

  ***In reviewing, make sure the company is a BBB Accredited business with an A+ rating. As of this update, all four companies above have the coveted A+ rating.  Always get a quote and do not decide on price alone. Because selecting the right insurance for you can be confusing, we recommend speaking with an agent to understand the ins and outs of travel and/or travel medical insurance.