Join Mike Hagen for an incredible journey to the Land of Fire and Ice.
Our trip runs from July 16 – 24, 2017. During our journey, we’ll photograph some of the most amazing scenery and wildlife Iceland has to offer. From verdant rolling hills to rugged mountains, the landscapes of Iceland are famous for their interplay between light and sky. We’ve also included a few photo sessions with some famous bird populations to stoke your wildlife photography passions.
$6,500 Double occupancy
$7,170 Single occupancy
$1,000 deposit due at signup (see payment schedule below)
Take a walk on the wild side with us as we hike into volcanic craters and explore the stunning country in our own private tour vehicles. Because we’ll be traveling as an independent group, our guides and drivers are dedicated to getting us to the best locations in the most incredible light.
Mike Hagen, owner of Visual Adventures and Nikonians Academy Director, is leader for this trip, so you can be sure that this will be an adventure you’ll never forget.
We’ll photograph geothermal sites, glacial lagoons, birds, landscapes, volcanoes, lava fields, waterfalls, and basalt columns. We’ve also included a photo tour of Reykjavík that includes buildings and architecture.
(Note: Itinerary is subject to change due to weather, road closures, or events beyond our control.)
Arrival at Keflavík airport. Transfer to accommodation in Reykjavík.
Golden Circle: We drive to Þingvellir National Park a remarkable geological site, and the most historic place on the island, where the world’s oldest democratic parliament was founded in 930. We continue to the Geysir region, where hot springs are in abundance, such as the famous great Geysir which has given name to hot springs all over the world. We will see one of the most active geysers in the area, Strokkur, spouting up to 20 meters. A few mintues drive from Geysir is the Gullfoss waterfall, one of the most impressive waterfalls in Europe. In the area between Reykholt and Flúðir there are areas rich with birds.
Drive to harbor at the south coast and sail to the Westman Islands-Heimaey.
Westman Islands are home to around 4,500 people and eight million puffins (every summer). The islands are a true wonder of nature. Heimaey is surrounded by rocky mountains, a volcano and 14 other small islands which are all in different sizes and shape.
The islands were all created by volcanic activity originating on the seabed. The last volcanic eruption took place in January – July, 1973 with overwhelming damage as nearly one-third of the town burned down or was covered under lava.
For bird-watchers, there are many interesting locations to visit in Heimaey such as the west coast to the southern tip. Here, during the breeding season, it is possible to observe nearly all the species of birds that nest in the Vestmannaeyjar cliffs. The main puffin colony is to the south of the island. Passerines and waders also nest in the grassy area between the airport and coastline. If one is fortunate, it is even possible to observe the Manx Shearwater on the sea near their breeding grounds on Ystiklettur and the Storm Petral and Leach´s Petral also breed there but are only out and about during the night.
For more info: http://www.visitwestmanislands.com/sidur/hiking-trails.
Hiking up the volcanoes Helgafell and Eldfell (Fire mountain) is quite easy and going down into the crater of Eldfell does not present any difficulties either.
A three hour boat tour will take us to the south islands amongst them Súlnasker were the second largest colony of gannets (sula) in Icelandic waters nests. We will literally sail under the island which stands on four posts.
After that we sail to and around Surtsey, an island formed in eruption in 1963. You will sail around the islands, into caves, pass by other small islands/skerries and experience the buzzing birdlife that is in Westman Islands. Who knows, maybe we will see a flock of killer whales swimming by.
Stay at a hotel in Heimaey.
We leave Heimaey and drive from the harbour along the coast to guesthouse Hali in the southeast.
We pass the glaciers Eyjafjallajökull, Mýrdalsjökull and others on the south coast and stop at Reynisfjara beach, Reynisdrangar (rocks), Vík village in Mýrdal valley and in Landbrot near Kirkjubæjarklaustur.
Reynisfjara Beach is a natural black sand and pebble beach with some larger boulders. By the beach you can see basalt caves which are very interesting for photographers. Here is the nesting site of puffins and other seabirds and a great view of Dyrhólaey. This is a very beautiful place, but please be careful, the ocean can be extremely dangerous here.
Reynisdrangar are basalt sea stacks situated very near to Reynisfjara and the village Vík í Mýrdal.
The areas Landbrot and Meðalland south of Kirkjubæjarklaustur support a wide range of birds. The region´s wetlands are varied and inlucde floodmeadows, lakes, springs and lava fields. Breeding birds include Horned Grebe and various ducks. White-fronted Geese are common visitors on spring passage.
Overnight at a guesthouse near Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon.
Skaftafell – Jökulsarlón glacier lagoon – Ingólfshöfði
Vatnajökull glacier towers over this region and has immensely affected the landscape. We will visit many of Vatnajökull’s outlets and outwash areas and the Jökulsárlón lagoon, a famous glacial lagoon full of icebergs were we can take a short boat tour and sail among the huge icebergs, an unforgettable experience!
The glacial scenery continues with a visit to the stunning Skaftafell, Iceland’s second largest national park, where the landscape has been formed in thousands of years by different influences of fire and water (volcanic eruptions and glaciers).
Ingólfshöfði is an isolated headland between black sands and the Atlantic Ocean, with thousands of nesting seabirds, especially puffins and the great skua. This historical cape is named after the first settler of Iceland, Ingólfur Arnarson, who spent his first winter in Iceland there in the year 874 AD. You will be driven to the nature reserve on a tractor with hay cart by a local farmer who will also be your guide in the area. The tour will either be early in the morning or in the evening. These are special departures for advanced photographers who need more time to work with their equipment. Duration of tour is 3 hours.
Drive back to Reykjavik along the south coast. Stops at Sólheimasandur, Skógafoss, Seljalandsfoss and other places of interest.
Sólheimasandur is a black volcano-sand-coast near Sólheimajökull where you have a spectacular view of the glaciers, the near mountains and the sea.
Seljalandsfoss is a picturesque waterfall. You can walk behind this waterfall and get a different photo angle. Here are bird colonies of fulmars.
Skógafoss is one of the biggest and most beautiful waterfalls in the country and lies under the glacier and volcano Eyjafjallajökull. Due to the amount of spray, the waterfall consistently produces a single or double rainbow which is normally visible on sunny days. According to legend, the first Viking settler in the area, Þrasi Þórólfsson, buried a treasure in a cave behind the waterfall. A local boy found the chest years later, but was only able to grasp the ring on the side of the chest before it disappeared again.
Overnight at a guesthouse in Reykjavík
Departure from Keflavík airport
Small Group Size
This workshop is strictly limited to a maximum of 10 participants. This means that you’ll receive hands-on training from your workshop leaders every single day. Our goal is to help you capture incredible images and our small group size ensures you are well taken care of.
The price for this trip is $6,500 for double occupancy and $7,170 for single occupancy. We require a down payment of $1,000 to be paid immediately upon registration. The remainder of the trip costs must be paid 90 days before our departure date via wire transfer or bank check. Details on wire transfers and bank account information will be given to all participants at a later date. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact your trip leader, Mike Hagen directly: mike [at] VisAdventures.com.
What to bring
At least one camera
Wide angle lens
Medium range lens
Data storage (disk drives or laptop)
Clothing should be in layers. Plan for temps between 32 and 75 degrees F
A thorough packing list will be given to all participants after you’ve signed up
Second camera body
Laptop with image editing software
What is provided
– All meals
– Ground transportation
– Boat transportation
– Park fees
– Airfare from your home to Iceland
– Alcoholic drinks
If you cancel more than 90 days before the trip start date, then we will refund 90% of the trip cost. If you cancel between 45-89 days before the trip start date, then we will refund 50% of the trip cost. If you cancel less than 45 days before the trip start date, then we will not refund any of the trip cost.