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PhotoPillers in Iceland...
Are you in?
Around the Full Moon...
From June 27th to July 11th 2023, Oli Haukur and Antoni Cladera (PhotoPills Masters) will travel along Iceland’s ring road to photograph the Midnight Sun, the eternal Golden Light and the Moon along with some of the treasures hidden in this North-Atlantic paradise...
The Land of Fire and Ice!
We’ll be taking photos all day long...
Can you imagine it?
To photograph the Midnight Sun, the eternal Golden Light and the Moon with infinite waterfalls, deep volcanos, large lava fields, immense glaciers, isolated fjords, black sand beaches, diamonds made of ice, powerful geysers, strange rock formations, black churches, lonely lighthouses, sturdy horses, secret natural arches, the remote Highlands and the Puffins...
We’re dreaming about it!
Top secret: we have quite a few legendary photos planned already... Including a very cool photo of the Moon ;)
The Deal (only 12 spots)
Since you subscribed to the Priority Access list...
We're offering you a $500 discount on the regular price!
All you have to do is to book 1 of the 12 spots available before Saturday December 31st.
Read carefully all the details of this unique adventure.
And when you’re ready, click here to book your spot.
Please, book as soon as possible. The seats are sold on a first come, first served basis.
12 PhotoPillers | 2 PhotoPills Masters | Iceland | Endless legendary photos
Warning! This is not a honeymoon...
We’re recruiting 12 brave PhotoPillers (PhotoPills and photography nerds) to join us on an 15-day expedition to photograph the midnight Sun, the eternal Golden Light and the Moon along with some of the most dramatic landscapes on the planet.
And the good news is... It’s summer and golden hour lasts hours!
This expedition is a non-stop adventure to chase legendary photos and you are a key asset!
We have planned tons of photos, and we’ll travel many kilometers to capture them...
We’ll actually do the whole loop around the island!
But we also want to maximize our flexibility in terms of itinerary and schedule in order to take advantage of all the opportunities that the changing weather will surely put in our way.
If we see something interesting happening in the sky, we’ll pick the best location possible, stop and take advantage of the occasion.
When we are hungry, we’ll stop and eat. When we are tired, we’ll stop and rest...
You are about to embark on a PhotoPills’ style journey. And it’s not going to be a honeymoon precisely... :P
You’ll be a true photographer!
Are you in?
Day 1. Tuesday, June 27th - Welcome to Iceland
It’s Tuesday morning...
And you land at Keflavík International Airport located 50 km (30 mi) southwest of Reykjavík... where it all begins.
Located in southwestern Iceland, on the southern shore of Faxaflói bay, Reykjavík has a population of around 132,000, which is more than half of Iceland’s total population (233,000).
There are lots of fascinating facts about the capital of Iceland.
Just to mention 2...
Reykjavík literally translates into “Smoky Bay”, a name inspired by the steam rising from the hot springs in the area.
Also, believe it or not, UNESCO designated Reykjavík as a City of Literature in 2011 because 1 out of every 10 Icelanders will write a book (at least once in life), becoming the people publishing more books per capita in the world.
Oh! And Reykjavík hides lots of photo opportunities.
After a 50 min ride on the Airport Fly bus, you get to our comfortable hotel in Reykjavík, Fosshotel Reykjavík, located right at the heart of the city, just 200 m from Laugavegur, one of the main commercial streets.
It’s time to meet Oli Haukur and Antoni Cladera (PhotoPills Masters), and the rest of the PhotoPillers on the expedition.
We leave our luggage at the reception desk and off to have lunch and explore the beautiful city center.
Check in at the hotel and “siesta” (nap time).
It’s always good to relax a bit before the true action begins.
Expedition briefing session with Oli and Antoni.
We’ll show you some photos and PhotoPills plans of the locations that we will be photographing in the upcoming days. Including a very special photo of the Moon (57 m of diameter) during the end of the golden hour (Sun elevation -3.58º).
Also, there’ll be time to go over some compositional tips, the gear you need and the shooting techniques we’ll be using.
Oli, as the local expert, has booked a tasty spot he loves for our welcome dinner.
A place where you can have a taste of the local cuisine if you wish (lamb, fish, fermented shark…).
Do you dare?
What comes next will depend on your choice.
Plan A: If you’re too tired, we strongly recommend you to go to the hotel and rest in preparation for next morning's expedition kick-off at 7:00 am.
Plan B: If you have some energy left, then join us in a fun walk around Reykjavík. We’ll be photographing a few cool spots at Sunset and during golden hour… Including a pretty cool photo of the Moon (66.8%), which I’ll keep it secret for now :P
Open PhotoPills and check this out:
As the Sun sets at midnight (12:02 am) and during the golden hour, we’ll be photographing the spectacular Luteran church of Hallgrímskirkja, the Sun Voyager and the Harpa Concert Hall.
Later on, at 12:43 am, there is a pretty cool photo for the brave ones. The Moon (66.8%) will be aligned with the church of Hallgrímskirkja which is 74.5 m (244 ft) tall. The Moon will have a diameter of 19.2 m (63 ft) and a beautiful yellow color.
Plan & Pray!
The beauty of photographing the Moon during golden hour, in addition to its powerful yellow color, is that in one photo you can get correctly exposed both the Moon and your subject, the church in this case.
Are you going to miss it?
This is the perfect time to also practice your PhotoPills skills in the field.
Golden hour begins at 10:06 pm, Sunset is at 12:02 am, Moonset (66.8%) is at 1:27 am, Sunrise is at 2:59 am, golden hour ends at 4:55 am, and there is no blue hour. It doesn’t get dark enough :)
Tomorrow the adventure begins!
- Street photography in Reykjavík.
- Sunset and golden hour with Hallgrímskirkja, Sun Voyager and Harpa Concert Hall.
- Moon aligned with Hallgrímskirkja.
Day 2. Wednesday, June 28th - The Wonders of Snæfellsnes
I hope you had a good sleep, because today we have a long long day exploring the wonders of the Snæfellsnes Peninsula.
Great breakfast at the Fosshotel Reykjavík and on the road.
In this adventure we’ll be traveling in a comfortable 17-seater vehicle with all we need to explore the wilderness of Iceland.
After a 2 h drive, we get to our first shooting spot, the waterfall of Hraunfossar (“Lava falls” in English).
Streaming out of the Hallmundarhraun lava field, this group of beautiful waterfalls pour into the Hvítá river that begins at Hvítárvatn glacier lake on Langjökull glacier in the Highlands.
We’ll enjoy 1.5 h here taking long exposures of the cold falling water.
On our way to Snæfellsnes we’ll stop for lunch in one of the small settlements that crosses our way.
It’ll take us 2.5h more to get to our hotel in the village of Arnarstapi, the Hotel Arnarstapi.
The hotel is placed in a strategic location. It gives us quick access to the abrupt cliffs and beautiful rock formations in the area... and to one of the most emblematic views of Iceland: Kirkjufell and the Kirkjufellfoss waterfall.
Check in and down time.
Sleep as much as you can. Today we’ll take photos until dawn to make the most of the eternal golden hour.
Dinner at the fantastic restaurant at Hotel Arnarstapi.
It’s just a 30 min drive to the iconic Kirkjufell (“Church mountain”) and Kirkjufellfoss, a beautiful waterfall located at the feet of the peak.
The view is stunning.
The running water falls down the rocks creating a beautiful waterfall as the Sun is setting and we’re entering the golden hour. At the back, the majestic peak of Kirkjufell (463 m or 1,519 ft) poses for us.
We’ll photograph Kirkjufell and its waterfall until well after the Sunset.
Golden hour begins at 10:18 pm, Sunset is at 12:29 am, Sunrise is at 2:43 am, and golden hour ends at 4:54 am.
Lóndrangar is our chosen destination for Sunrise (2:54 am).
It only takes 1 h from Kirkjufell and it’s not far away from our hotel. It’s perfect.
Elves are rumored to live in the area, so walk quietly across the mossy lava fields.
The basalt cliffs of Lóndragnar are a true geological wonder of the Snæfellnes peninsula. Two stunning pillars still stand fighting the ocean hits. One is 75-meter tall (246 ft), the other one is 61-meter tall (200 ft). They are popularly known as “The Rocky Castle”.
We have our subjects, and the morning light. Now it’s time to shoot!
It’s been a long long day of photography. And many more will follow.
- Hraunfossar waterfall.
- Golden hour and Sunset at Kirkjufell and the Kirkjufellfoss waterfall.
- Golden hour and Sunrise at the basalt cliffs of Lóndrangar.
Day 3. Thursday, June 29th - The Arch and Its Secrets
Optional breakfast. We totally understand that you want to stay in bed.
After our lunch at the hotel, we’ll spend the whole day exploring and photographing the Gatklettur area and its hidden treasures.
Gatklettur (“Hellnar arch”) is a spectacular natural arch located at a walking distance from our hotel.
It makes a great subject for our long seascape exposures. Its dark color, curious shape and patterns will surely captivate us.
If we turn our heads, we’ll find Mount Stapafell, an incredible triangle-shaped volcanic mountain. This is going to be our second subject of the day.
And many more will follow as we walk along the coastline. Lots of secret shooting spots await to be discovered (including a very isolated cool house).
Dinner at the hotel.
Time to go to bed... or maybe not.
We can always go back to Gatklettur to photograph it during golden hour, at Sunset and even at Sunrise.
It will all depend on the energy we have left. Because tomorrow we go up north.
Golden hour begins at 10:17 pm, Sunset is at 12:23 am, Sunrise is at 2:52 am, and golden hour ends at 4:58 am.
- The arch of Gatklettur.
- Mount Stapafell.
- Rock formations and sea stacks along the coastline.
- Secret house.
Day 4. Friday, June 30th - The Black Church and the Dragon
Breakfast, check out and back on the road again.
Búðir is a small hamlet in the city of Snæfellsbær, in the westernmost tip of Snæfellsnes Peninsula. During its glorious old times, it was the hub-port for fishing vessels and commercial ships.
The surrounding landscapes and lava fields are just beautiful.
Not far, we find the volcanic crater Búðaklettur (88 m or 288 ft), responsible for the vast lava field of Búðahraun.
And there, right in the middle of the lava field, there is the famous wooden black church of Búðakirkja.
Stop for lunch on our way up north.
Check in at hotel Lækjamót and “siesta” (nap time).
Antoni will give a PhotoPills class to help you master the app.
After a delicious dinner at the hotel, and a short 10 min drive, we arrive at Kolufoss, a not very well known but spectacular waterfall.
Kolufoss is hidden in the Kolugljúfur Canyon which is 60m (196 ft) wide, 40m (132 ft) deep and over 1km (3,280 ft) long.
It’s said that Kola, a giantess, lived in the canyon. We’ll try to find evidence of that... ;)
This is a great spot to take pictures before Sunset. It’s when the soft golden light hits the running water.
Get ready to take a few cool long exposures.
It takes 1 h to get to Hvítserkur. And we arrive before the Sun sets at 12:39 am.
Hvítserkur is a 15 m (49 ft) tall basalt stack that resembles a dragon drinking water from the sea.
Fulmars, gulls and lots of other birds live here. Hvítserkur (“White shirt”) takes its name from the color of the guano deposited on this peculiar rock formation.
As the Sun is setting, the oranges and reds will fill the sky above our magnificent subject. And we’ll continue to photograph it until Sunrise (2:12 am).
We won’t see the Moon today. It doesn’t go over the horizon.
Golden hour begins at 10:12 pm, Sunset is at 12:40 am, Sunrise is at 2:12 am, and golden hour ends at 4:40 am.
After Sunrise, and during the last part of the golden hour, we have the option to go back to Kolugljúfur Canyon and photograph Kolufoss under the morning light.
- Lava field of Búðahraun.
- Wooden black church of Búðakirkja.
- Kolugljúfur Canyon and Kolufoss waterfall.
- Sunset and Sunrise at Hvítserkur.
Day 5. Saturday, July 1st - The Secret
I’ve been giving you lots of details of this amazing expedition to Iceland.
Maybe far too many...
But on July 1st we’ll do something very special...
What will that be?
Well, you'll have to be there, with us, to figure it out :P
Day 6. Sunday, July 2nd - Fire and Water
Optional breakfast because the night before we went to bed very late.
A day of contrasts begins!
We start our journey towards Lake Mývatn (“The Lake of Midges”), and on the way we’ll stop at Vogafjós Farm for lunch.
Mývatn is a lake of almost 9.5 km (6 mi) long and 6.5 km (4 mi) wide. It was formed 2,300 years ago by a lava eruption. This is the reason it’s surrounded by volcanic landforms, lava pillars and bridges.
The lake is home to many bird species. One of the most popular birds is the harlequin duck, also known as the white-eyed diver due the white marks on its face and body.
In the area we find Dimmuborgir, also known as the Black Fortress, a spectacular lava field packed with dramatic pillars and strange landforms. This place is so unique that many scenes of Game of Thrones were filmed here.
Next to Dimmuborgir, there is another spectacular location. Hverfjall is a volcano whose beautifully shaped crater is 1 km (3,280 ft) wide and 140 m (460 ft) deep. All I can say is… Welcome to Iceland.
We’ll spend 3 h photographing Lake Mývatn and its surroundings.
Check in at the comfortable Fosshótel Mývatn and “siesta”.
Dinner and to the vehicle.
It’s a 1.5 h drive to our next destination.
Located in Vatnajökull National Park, with its 100 m (330f t) wide and 44 m (144 ft) fall, Dettifoss is said to be the most powerful waterfall in Europe.
It’s known for its impressive volume of water and the thundering sound it creates as it falls over the edge of a cliff.
And we’ll be there, photographing the rushing water falling in Jökulsárgljúfur Canyon as the Sun goes down.
2.5 km downstream, we find Hafragilsfoss. The stream of water is about 90 m (295 ft) wide and 30 m (98 ft) tall. The waterfall is surrounded by cliffs making a stunning view.
I think it’s a good idea to photograph Hafragilsfoss first during golden hour and then walk to Detiffoss for Sunset and Sunrise.
Golden hour begins at 9:57 pm, Sunset is at 12:31 am, Sunrise is at 1:47 am, and golden hour ends at 4:22 am.
On our way to the hotel, we’ll stop at Hverir, one of the most alien-looking places in Iceland.
Hverir is a geothermal area at the foot of the Namafjall volcanic mountain belonging to the Krafla volcano fissure zone.
The area is characterized by a strong sulfur smell, and the ground is colored by the mineral deposits from the hot springs.
Here we’ll find steam vents, large mud pools, fumaroles and a beautiful orange landscape.
Its colors, its pools and its shapes make it a fantastic place to photograph the last part of the golden hour.
Today we’ve photographed completely different landscapes: lakes, volcanos, waterfalls and boiling mud pools in places that feel like Mars.
We deserve a good sleep!
- Lake Mývatn.
- The harlequin duck.
- Hverfjall volcano.
- Golden hour, Sunset and Sunrise at Dettifoss waterfall (east).
- Golden hour at Hafragilsfoss waterfall.
- Golden hour at the geothermal area of Hverir.
Day 7. Monday, July 3rd - The Hidden Canyon
Check out. After grabbing some lunch we head to Dettifoss. Yesterday we photographed the waterfall from the east side. And today we want to photograph it from the other side, from the west.
It takes 2 h and 30 min to get to Stuðlagil, a beautiful hidden canyon located in eastern Iceland. It’s known for its unique rock formations and the stunning blue-green color of its water.
The canyon features towering walls of basalt columns that were formed by ancient volcanic activity. We’ll hike along the canyon to admire and photograph its natural beauty.
In a short hiking distance we find the beautiful waterfall of Stuðlafoss. It’s known for its tall, narrow cascade of water that falls into a pool below. The waterfall is surrounded by lush vegetation and a rocky landscape, making it a perfect photography subject.
The water falls from Stuðlafoss like a silken curtain, cascading down the rocky face in a graceful, undulating dance. The Sunlight catches the droplets as they fall, transforming them into sparkling jewels that shimmer and shine.
The sound of the rushing water fills the air, creating a soothing, peaceful atmosphere. It’s a mesmerizing sight, one that stirs the soul and enchants the senses.
After a long day out, we finally check-in at the Lake Hotel Egilsstaðir, where we’ll have a delicious dinner in its fabulous Eldhúsið restaurant.
For the brave ones who don’t want to go to bed yet, one option is to photograph the landscape around lake Lagarfljót.
There is a cool white little hut by the river that makes a great subject at Sunset.
Golden hour begins at 9:45 pm, Sunset is at 11:53 am, Sunrise is at 2:17 am, and golden hour ends at 4:25 am.
- Dettifoss waterfall (west).
- Stuðlagil canyon.
- Stuðlafoss waterfall.
- Sunset by lake Lagarfljót.
Day 8. Tuesday, July 4th - Majestic Mountains
Photography class by Oli and Antoni.
Check out and to the vehicle. We continue our adventure towards the south, going along the east coast of Iceland.
Located in the Vatnajökull National Park, Eystrahorn is a majestic mountain (756 m or 2,480 ft) known for its scenic beauty.
The mountain has a steep and rugged peak that rises above the surrounding landscape, making it a striking subject for photography.
It’s also home to a variety of flora and fauna, including snow-capped glaciers, alpine meadows, and dense forests, which provide a rich and diverse range of photographic opportunities.
We’ll spend a few hours here taking photos like crazy.
It’s a 2 h drive to our hotel in Höfn. And we have to stop a few times along the coast to take a few shots.
Höfn is a cute fishing town situated on the edge of the Vatnajökull glacier, the largest glacier in Europe.
The town is known for its picturesque harbor, which is surrounded by mountains and offers beautiful views of the surrounding landscape.
It’s also known for its seafood, particularly its lobster, which is considered to be some of the best in the world.
Our hotel here is Hótel Höfn. We’ll check in, maybe take a shower, and go to have dinner in a good restaurant in town. It’s our opportunity to taste the famous lobster after all!
From Höfn, it only takes 30 min to get to the spectacular peninsula of Stokksnes.
Stokksnes is home to a variety of flora and fauna, including black sand beaches, dunes, and wetlands, which provide a rich and diverse range of photographic opportunities.
But the main attraction here is without a doubt the magnificent Vestrahorn mountain (454m or 1,490 ft).
The mountain rises steeply from the peninsula's shoreline and offers breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape.
It’s our job to use PhotoPills to understand where the Sun is setting and rising… and thus pick our shooting spots based on the composition we want.
Look at the app, the Sun will set (11:25 pm) on the left of Vestrahorn and rise (2:43 am) on the right. This is going to be fun.
This place literally hides hundreds of photo opportunities. Let’s find them… and capture them.
Golden hour begins at 9:34 pm, Sunset is at 11:25 pm, Sunrise is at 2:43 am, and golden hour ends at 4:43 am.
It’s been a very special day. Today we got to capture two of Iceland's most iconic rock formations. I’m sure you’ll sleep very well tonight.
- Eystrahorn mountain.
- Vestrahorn mountain.
- Seascapes along the road.
Day 9. Wednesday, July 5th - Diamonds on the Moon
Sleep or breakfast?
That’s a good question.
Check out and lunch at Kaffi Hornið, a beautiful restaurant-cafe that brings the best local ingredients to the table.
Here we’ll find seafood brought straight from sea to the table and a tempting selection of dishes from filling plates of lamb to salads topped with chicken or lobster.
Múlagljúfur Canyon is a pretty unknown beautiful natural feature. It’s a deep canyon with steep walls and a fast-flowing river at its bottom. The canyon was formed over thousands of years as the river carved its way through the surrounding rock.
Here we find two impressive waterfalls: Hangandifoss and Múlafoss.
With 123 m (403 ft) Hangandifoss is one of the tallest waterfalls in Iceland. Múlafoss has several drops, the tallest one is 53 m (176 ft).
We’ll spend the first part of the day hiking along the canyon in search of our compositions.
The main hike is an easy-medium level hike that takes 1 h to complete.
After a 30 min drive we get to Hótel Country Hali, where we check in and enjoy a delicious dinner packed with delicious Icelandic food.
It’s time to recover and get ready for the midnight show.
Jökulsárlón is a glacial lagoon situated at the base of the Vatnajökull glacier, the largest glacier in Europe. The lagoon was formed over many years as the glacier slowly melted, creating a large body of water filled with floating icebergs.
The area is also home to a large number of seals, which can often be seen swimming in the lagoon or resting on the icebergs. It’s a great place to experience the stunning beauty of Iceland's natural landscape and wildlife.
The idea is to photograph Sunset here (11:25 pm), and then go to Diamond Beach for Sunrise (2:54 am).
Diamond Beach is a stretch of black sand beach by Jökulsárlón. It gets its name from the many small pieces of ice that wash up on the shore, which sparkle in the Sunlight and resemble diamonds. These pieces of ice are broken off from the nearby Vatnajökull glacier and are carried out to the sea by the ocean currents.
The beach is a fantastic spot for photography, as the contrast between the black sand and the sparkling ice creates a unique and striking visual effect.
“The ice diamonds on the beach sparkle like jewels,
Reflecting the light with a dazzling sheen.
Their frozen beauty belies their strength,
A reminder of the power of nature's reign.
These glistening gems of ice,
Washed ashore by the ocean's might,
Lie scattered upon the black sand,
A sight to behold, both rare and grand.
As the Sun beats down, they melt away,
Their fleeting presence a reminder to stay,
In awe of the world and its stunning design,
The ice diamonds on the beach, a treasure divine.”
After a few days without seeing the Moon, because it was under the horizon the whole time... Finally at 12:52 am the Moon (90%) will rise. The Sun will have an elevation of -2.81º, meaning that it will be golden hour. Expect the Moon to have a beautiful and powerful yellow color. I can’t wait to photograph it with the diamonds and the black beach!
Golden hour begins at 9:37 pm, Sunset is at 11:24 pm, Moonrise is at 12:52am, Sunrise is at 2:55 am, and golden hour ends at 4:41 am.
- Múlagljúfur Canyon.
- Hangandifoss and Múlafoss waterfalls.
- Golden hour and Sunset at Jökulsárlón.
- Golden hour and Sunrise at Diamond Beach.
- Moonrise at Diamond Beach.
Day 10. Thursday, July 6th - Glaciers, Churches and Diamonds
As almost every morning, the breakfast is optional :)
Lunch at the splendid restaurant of Hotel Country Hali.
At only a 30 min drive from our hotel, we find the impressive Fjallsárlón.
Fjallsárlón is a glacial lagoon situated at the base of the Fjallsjökull glacier, which is part of the larger Vatnajökull glacier system. Like Jökulsárlón, the lagoon was formed over many years as the glacier melted, creating a large body of water filled with floating icebergs.
Here, the floating icebergs, many of which have stunning blue hues, create a beautiful contrast with the dark waters of the lagoon. It’s also home to a large population of seals, which can often be seen swimming in the water or basking on the icebergs.
After a few hours of photography at Fjallsárlón and a short 15 min drive, we arrive at Hofskirkja.
Hofskirkja is a small, picturesque turf church located in the town of Hof. It’s one of the 6 turf churches that remain in Iceland. The walls are made of stone and the roof is covered with green turf.
Hofskirkja is situated on a hill overlooking the town and the surrounding landscape. The location offers beautiful views of the surrounding mountains and the ocean, making it a popular spot for photography.
Despite its small size, Hofskirkja is an important part of Iceland's cultural heritage and a symbol of the country's religious history.
We’ll stay here for 1 h to photograph the beautiful church and the stunning landscapes.
Dinner at the hotel.
And we’re back to the Diamond Beach!
The truth is that one can’t get enough of photographing the strangely shaped ice diamond blocks on the black sand beach.
Today we’ve decided to spend the whole golden hour, the Sunset and the Sunrise on Diamond Beach.
Oh! And again, we’ll photograph the rising Moon (81%) with the diamonds in golden hour.
Golden hour begins at 9:36 pm, Sunset is at 11:22 pm, Moonrise is at 12:40 am, Sunrise is at 2:57 am, and golden hour ends at 4:43 am.
- Fjallsárlón glacier lagoon.
- Turf church of Hofskirkja.
- Golden hour, Sunset and Sunrise at Diamond Beach.
- Moonrise at Diamond Beach.
Day 11. Friday, July 7th - The Puffins
Check out. Lunch at the hotel and back on the road again!
Only 5 days to go!
Our first stop of the day is a spectacular glacier...
Svínafellsjökull is a glacier located in the Vatnajökull National Park, and is a part of the larger Vatnajökull glacier, which is the largest glacier in Europe by volume.
It extends from the central Highlands of Iceland and flows down towards the Lowlands, ending in a rugged and rocky landscape. The glacier has a rich and varied landscape, with crevasses, icefalls, and small lakes dotted across its surface.
The views here are just breathtaking.
We arrive at the wonderful Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon.
Fjaðrárgljúfur is a stunning canyon located near the town of Kirkjubæjarklaustur. The canyon was formed over thousands of years by the Fjaðrá river, which flows through it, carving out a deep and narrow gorge in the surrounding landscape.
Its walls are up to 100 m (328 ft) high in some places, and are made up of stunningly sheer, vertical cliffs.
The canyon is home to a wide variety of flora and fauna, including numerous species of birds, such as the Arctic tern, the ptarmigan, and the great northern diver.
The idea here is to hike along the canyon looking for great compositions.
The one with the best compo wins a price :P
At a 1 h drive, we have our next hotel, Hótel Katla in Vik.
Vik is a small town located in the southern region of Iceland, on the shore of the North Atlantic Ocean. It’s the southernmost town in the country, and is known for its rugged, windswept landscape and black sandy beaches.
It’s located on a rocky headland, and is surrounded by high cliffs, which offer stunning views of the ocean and the surrounding countryside. The town is home to a number of historic buildings, including the St. Nicholas Church, which was built in the early 20th century, and the Reyniskirkja, a 19th-century stone church.
But most important… Vik is very close to our SECRET spot where tomorrow we’ll photograph a super cool alignment of a pretty big Moon (57 m of diameter).
After a tasty dinner at the Hótel Katla and a 30 min drive, we arrive at Dyrhólaey.
The peninsula is home to a number of interesting geological features, such as towering cliffs, rocky sea stacks, and natural arches. The most famous of these is a large arch, known as Dyrhólaeyjarbakki, which stands at the southernmost tip of the peninsula.
Dyrhólaey is also home to a large number of seabirds, including puffins, which nest in the cliffs and can be seen in large numbers during the summer months.
We’ll photograph the puffins, the sea stacks, the natural arch and the Moon until dawn.
Golden hour begins at 9:42 pm, Sunset is at 11:20 pm, Moonrise is at 12:40 am, Sunrise is at 3:23 am, and golden hour ends at 5:01 am.
- Svínafellsjökull glacier.
- Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon.
- The town of Vik.
- Golden hour, Sunrise and Sunset at Dyrhólaey.
- Moonrise at Dyrhólaey.
Day 12. Saturday, July 8th - The Secret Moon
Our Moon day has arrived.
Everything is perfectly planned.
The Moon, with a size of 57 m (187 ft) and a phase of 72.4% will be at the right time at the right place in the frame.
I’m getting excited just by writing these lines about the shot.
But the Moon is not all we’ll photograph on Day 12... The photo above is just a hint!
Day 13. Sunday, July 9th - The Highlands: The Valley of Tears
Check out and lunch… We’re going to the Highlands!
Yes! We’re going to the Highlands, but first there are 2 waterfalls we want to photograph.
The first one is the stunning Skógafoss!
We find Skógafoss near the town of Skógar. It’s one of the country's most famous and popular waterfalls, due to its impressive size and its unique location.
The waterfall is located on the Skógá river, which flows from the glaciers of the Mýrdalsjökull ice cap. It’s approximately 60 m (200 ft) tall and 25 m (82 ft) wide, and is renowned for its sheer size and power.
Skógafoss is also known for the rainbow that can often be seen in the mist of the falls, adding to its beauty and appeal.
The second waterfall we’ll photograph before reaching the Highlands is Seljalandsfoss.
Seljalandsfoss is located on the Seljalands river, which flows from the nearby Eyjafjallajökull glacier. The waterfall is 60 m (200 ft) tall and has a wide, curved cascade that falls over the edge of a cliff.
The unique feature of Seljalandsfoss is that we can walk behind the waterfall, allowing us to experience its power and beauty from a different perspective. The surrounding landscape is also beautiful, with green hills and a rocky riverbed that adds to the waterfall's natural beauty.
We arrive in the Highlands!
The Iceland Highlands is a vast and rugged region that covers a large portion of the interior of the island.
It’s characterized by its rugged terrain, which consists of towering mountains, deep valleys, and rolling hills. The landscape is dotted with glaciers, waterfalls, and hot springs, and is home to a wide variety of flora and fauna.
The Highlands are home to many of Iceland's most iconic natural attractions.
We’ll check in at Hotel Highland (Hótel Háland) and we’ll have dinner at the restaurant.
A 40 min drive and 40 min hike down will take us to the bottom of the stunning Háifoss.
Surrounded by a beautiful and rugged landscape, with towering cliffs and rolling hills, Háifoss is one of the country's tallest waterfalls, with a height of 122 m (400 ft). The waterfall is located in a narrow canyon, and its water flows from the Fossá river into the Þjórsá river below.
When we’re done photographing it from the bottom, we’ll hike back up (40 min) to photograph it from above.
From the top of the cliff, we’ll have to get in the same frame two waterfalls: Háifoss and Granni.
We’ll shoot Sunset here (11:32pm).
Sigöldugljúfur will be our spot for Sunrise (3:14 am).
Also known as “The Valley of Tears” for its multiple waterfalls, Sigöldugljúfur is a narrow and deep ravine, with sheer cliffs that rise up on both sides.
The canyon was formed by glacial erosion, and its name comes from the fact that it’s often shrouded in mist, giving it a somewhat eerie and mournful appearance.
The valley is home to a small river, which flows through the canyon and over a series of waterfalls. Despite its somber name, Sigöldugljúfur is a beautiful and serene place, with breathtaking views and a rich array of flora and fauna.
Look! The Sun is about to rise... prepare your gear.
Tomorrow we’ll keep exploring the Highlands.
- Skógafoss waterfall.
- Seljalandsfoss waterfall.
- Golden hour and Sunset at Háifoss and Granni waterfalls in the Highlands.
- Sunrise at Sigöldugljúfur, the Valley of Tears.
Day 14. Monday, July 10th - The Heart of the Highlands
Lunch at our hotel in the highlands. We’ll also grab food for later. Today we’ll have dinner in the field.
Our adventure in the Highlands continues. We’re enjoying the stunning view of the landscapes around us…
Get off the vehicles!
We’ve arrived at our first destination: Bláhylur (also known as Hnausapollur), an incredible azure blue crater lake in the heart of the Highlands.
The lake is formed by a volcanic caldera and surrounded by towering cliffs and snow-capped peaks. The water in the lake is crystal clear and has a deep blue color.
And not far away, there is another stunning crater lake: Ljotipollur.
It’s time to do some crater photography.
Welcome to the true heart of the Highlands… Welcome to Landmannalaugar, a landscape that is unlike anywhere else in the world.
Landmannalaugar is a vast expanse of rugged wilderness, dotted with hot springs, geysers, and other geological features. The area is known for its colorful hills and mountains, which range in hue from shades of green and blue to red and yellow.
To have a better view of the landscapes we’ll hike up for 1.5h to the top of Bláhnjúkur (200m or 656ft).
Bláhnjúkur mountain is known for its towering, rocky peaks and its unique, black-and-white striped appearance. The stripes are formed by layers of different types of volcanic rock, which have been exposed over time by the forces of erosion.
The place is worth the hike. The views up here are magical. It feels like being in another world.
As the Sun goes down, we’ll prepare our cameras to photograph the golden hour and Sunset (11:23 am).
Excitement going up!
After Sunset, we’ll pack our gear, hike down the mountain and drive to Frostastaðavatn lake, where we’ll photograph Sunrise (3:17 am).
Frostastaðavatn is a truly magical lake, nestled in the heart of the Icelandic countryside. With its crystal-clear waters and stunning surrounding landscape, this idyllic body of water is a true wonder to behold.
As you approach the lake, you can feel the serenity of the place wash over you, drawing you into its tranquil embrace. The water is a deep, rich blue, and its surface is smooth and glassy, like a mirror reflecting the sky above.
As you stand on the banks of Frostastaðavatn, you can't help but be awestruck by the natural beauty that surrounds you. The hills and mountains that rise up on all sides are a patchwork of colors, ranging from deep greens and blues to fiery reds and yellows.
The air is crisp and fresh, and the gentle lapping of the water against the shore is like a soothing lullaby. This is a place of peace and tranquility, where you can escape the hustle and bustle of the world and find solace in the beauty of nature.
Golden hour begins at 9:41 pm, Sunset is at 11:23 pm, Moonrise is at 12:16 am, Sunrise is at 3:19 am, and golden hour ends at 5:02 am.
This is our last night's sleep in Iceland. Tomorrow we’ll start our journey back home.
- Bláhylur crater lake.
- Ljotipollur crater lake.
- Landmannalaugar area.
- Bláhnjúkur mountain.
- Frostastaðavatn lake
Day 15. Tuesday, July 11th - The Farewell
As we pack up our cameras and bid farewell to this incredible country, we can't help but feel grateful for the memories we have made and the adventures we have shared.
Iceland has truly stolen our hearts, with its breathtaking landscapes and vibrant culture. We have hiked to the tops of mountains, explored hidden arches and waterfalls, and captured countless breathtaking shots along the way.
But most of all, we are grateful for the bond we have formed with one another. Sharing this adventure with our friends has been a truly special experience, and we will cherish these memories for years to come.
Thank you, Iceland, for showing us the beauty of your land and for reminding us of the power of friendship. We can't wait to come back and explore even more of your wondrous country.
Until next time, farewell!
We get to the airport in time to catch our evening flights.
Book now and save $500 (only 12 spots)
To book your spot to join the expedition to Iceland at a reduced price of $8,500 (the official price is $9000), a $2,500 deposit is required by Saturday December 31st.
Payment in full is required by Sunday February 26th, 2023.
Please, finalize your booking as soon as possible. The seats are sold on a first come, first served basis.
What’s included in the price
- A 15-day expedition photographing Iceland’s most iconic features along with the midnight Sun, the eternal Golden Light and the Moon.
- 15 days of learning, fun and adventure with Oli Haukur, Antoni Cladera and the funniest geek community – the PhotoPillers.
- Full immersion in the PhotoPills method (Imagine.Plan.Shoot!).
- 14 nights of lodging, sharing a double room with another PhotoPiller (Optional $1,200 single room supplement upon availability).
- All breakfasts and welcome dinner.
- All activities on the Secret day.
- Ground transportation during the expedition.
What’s not included
- Flights/transport to Reykjavík, Iceland.
- Medical and travel insurance coverage (strongly recommended).
- Lunch & dinner (except welcome dinner).
- Snacks, alcohol and beverages.
- Anything not mentioned in the “included” list.
Do you want an example of how huge this will be?
This is a glimpse of what happened in the 2016 PhotoPills Expedition to Iceland. We had so many adventures and so much fun... We can’t wait to go back in 2023!
But you don’t have to take our word for granted. Here’s what some PhotoPillers say about the PhotoPills adventures:
“I went to Iceland expecting to have the opportunity to photograph the marvelous landscape and master nightscapes. What I encountered was so much more – 14 kindred souls from across the globe who share a passion for photography. Together we expanded our creative boundaries, learned from one another and had an insane amount of fun in the process. I am confident that everyone came away from the experience a better photographer.”
“From the very moment the guys from PhotoPills announced the expedition to Iceland... I didn’t think it twice! I was using PhotoPills but not at its full capacity, so I had no better chance to learn from the creators of this amazing app. The experience was even more amazing than anything I could have imagined. In Iceland, I discovered a bunch of folks as crazy about photography as I am. I had a blast!
Photography is a continuous learning process, you always find something new that motivates you to improve. And this adventure made me improve more than I could imagine.”
"The PhotoPills guys know how to create a fantastic experience. They bring an infectiously fun energy and are always willing to drop some handy photography knowledge on you that you will take with you. You take their trip and you'll for sure have a good time, get some amazing pics and leave a better photographer."
“During my experience in Iceland I lived wonderful moments and had surprises that were beyond the expected. It completely exceeded my initial expectations! Sharing knowledge, experiences and ways of working and living photography with such a great group has been one of the most enriching life experiences I have ever had.
Who he said that learning and knowledge sharing can not be wonderfully fun?”
“I can't say enough about what a fantastic time I had during the PhotoPills Iceland photo tour! The guys from PhotoPills and Donal Boyd were so knowledgeable, accommodating, and especially lots of fun. Never a dull moment – nonstop action and shooting of amazing landscapes for 10 days. I came away with enough images and memories to last a lifetime!”
What’s the temperature in Iceland in July?
July is the main summer month in Iceland with an average temperature of 10.6ºC (51ºF). It’s usually warmer than that and sometimes the temperature goes as high as 20ºC (68ºF) or higher.
Having said that, the weather is unpredictable, so we suggest you wear layers.
What do you recommend I bring along for the expedition?
Your sense of adventure and fun, your camera and your sense of humor, of course.
Besides that? When you book your seat, we’ll send you an Information Package that will give you further details and suggestions about what to bring (gear, clothing, etc.).
Is travel insurance included in the price of the expedition?
No. Participants are suggested to purchase national or international medical and travel insurance coverage.
Also, we recommend you to choose a travel insurance that:
- Covers trip cancellation costs.
- Covers Covid-19 health, travel and cancellation costs.
What is the cancellation policy?
We hope you don’t need to cancel your spot, but if a situation arises where you don’t have a choice, our cancellation policy is the following.
If you cancel and the expedition is otherwise filled, we'll refund you the full booking fee you have paid, minus a $300 administrative fee.
If you cancel and the expedition doesn’t fill, then you’ll be refunded according to the following schedule, based on the full fee of the expedition:
- 61 days or more before the expedition: 100% refund, minus the deposit payment and the non-refundable costs that are withheld by our travel partners.
- 60 days or less before the expedition: No refunds will be given.
Refunds will be paid using the same original method of payment.