During this tour, 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.
Take a walk on the wild side with us as we hike into volcanic craters and explore the stunning country in our private tour vehicles. Because we’ll be travelling as an independent group, our guides and driver are dedicated to getting us to the best locations in the most incredible light.
Mike Hagen, your Nikonians Academy Director, is your leader on this tour, so you can be sure that this will be an adventure you’ll never forget.
Our partner on this trip is the world-renowned photographer Tim Vollmer, a German who’s been living in Iceland for almost a decade. Tim has during that time been running photo tours in Iceland and has one of the best reputations in the industry.
We photograph geothermal sites, glacial lagoons, birds, landscapes, volcanos, lava fields, waterfalls and basalt columns. We’ve also included a photo walk of Reykjavík’s buildings and architecture.
Contact us for further information
Departure: 12 – 20 August, 2014
Duration: 9 Days / 8 Nights
Minimum number of participants 6, maximum 8.
Day 1, 12 August, 2014: Arrival
Arrival at Keflavík Airport. You will be met by Esja Travel representative, who takes you through the lava fields of the Reykjanes peninsula to your accommodation in Reykjavík.
Dinner and overnight in Reykjavík
Day 2, 13 August, 2014: Golden Circle or Bird Photography
1st option: 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 60 feet.
A few minutes’ 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 of birds.
2nd option: Drive from Reykjavík to the south shore near the fishing villages Stokkseyri and Eyrarbakki, where we can photograph birds in a bird sanctuary area.
Dinner and overnight in near Hvolsvöllur village.
Day 3- 4, 14 – 15 August, 2014: Westman Islands
Drive to harbour at the south coast and sail to the Westman Islands-Heimaey. The Westman Islands are home to around 4,500 people and during the summer also eight million puffins. The Heimaey Island is a true wonder of nature, 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. The Storm Petrel and Leach´s Petrel also breed there but are only out and about during the night.
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 (Súla) 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.
Dinner and overnight in Westman Islands
Day 5, 16 August, 2014: The South Coast: Reynisfjara – Dyrhólaey
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. 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 include flood meadows, lakes, springs and lava fields. Breeding birds include Horned Grebe and various ducks.
Overnight at a guesthouse near Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon, dinner and overnight in the area
Day 6 - 7, 17 – 18 August, 2014: Skaftafell – Jökulsarlón Glacier Lagoon - Bird Cliff 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 for 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 3-hour 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.
Dinner and overnight in the area
Day 8, 19 August, 2014: South Coast & Reykjavík
Drive back to Reykjavík along the south coast. Stops at Sólheimasandur, Waterfalls Skógafoss and Seljalandsfoss as well as 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.
Dinner and overnight in Reyjavík
Day 9, 20 August, 2014: Departure
Departure transfer to Keflavík airport in time for your departure.
Price per person sharing a double room USD 5,350
Single supplement USD 600,-
- 8 nights incl. breakfast in rooms with private facilities.
- Full board from dinner on day one to breakfast on day nine.
- Professional Photo Guides (Mike Hagen & Tim Vollmer).
- Airport transfers.
- Private bus during the tour.
- Return Ferry ride to the Westman Islands.
- Boat Tour in the Westman Islands.
- Bird Tour to Ingólfshöfði.
- Meeting facilities in the evenings.
- Lodging tax.
International airfares – available upon request from Esja Travel, drinks, tips and anything that is not mentioned in the itinerary.
Mike Hagen is an author, photographer, workshop leader, entrepreneur, husband and father. At a young age, he merged his passion for adventure with his camera and later found the two to be the perfect pair for a business. He started his professional photography career in 1998 with his first photography company called Out There Images, Inc. Since then, he has continually pushed himself artistically and technically by expanding into books, video, workshops, lectures, consulting, and retail.
Mike currently owns and operates Visual Adventures along with his wife and business partner Stephanie Hagen. Over the course of their career, they have traveled, taught, and photographed in North America, South America, Europe, Asia, and Africa.