Iceland: Northern Lights Tour- March 29-April 6, 2013
Iceland and the Northern Lights with Lance Keimig, Scott Martin, and Tim Vollmer
New Dates, second tour added!
Dates: March 29-April 6, 2013
Price: $3995 based on shared accommodation, plus international airfare*
Couple’s Price: $7695 ($300 savings) plus international airfare
Single Room Supplement- $400
Iceland has been a popular destination for photographers for the last ten years or so, but with my focus on Scotland and Ireland, I haven’t been able to offer a trip to Iceland until now. The first trip filled in less than a month, so I’ve added a second trip from March 29 to April 6. This trip will be special in that it comes at the end of winter at what is essentially the best time to photograph the Northern Lights, or Aurora Borealis in the next decade. We’ll have 8 days and 7 nights to explore and photograph this amazingly beautiful country, and all expenses except international airfare, gratuities, and alcohol are included. The trip will be co-led with Scott Martin and Tim Vollmer, whose photographs illustrate this page.
If you have ever wanted to see or photograph the northern lights, this is your last best chance for the next 11 years. This winter is the period of Solar Maximum, or greatest solar activity in the Sun’s 11 year cycle. This year is predicted to be great for viewing the Aurora, and there are already great reports of almost nightly sightings in Iceland. The best time for viewing them is at night from October to April.
Our itinerary will be divided between the north and south of Iceland, and we’ll make the most of our time with a balance between seeing as much as we can, and not being constantly on the move. The proposed itinerary below may be modified to fit the weather and interests of the group.
March 29-30: Overnight flight to Reykjavik. Plan to arrive in Reykjavik by 8 am on March 30.
Leave from the US on a short overnight flight to Reykjavik, Iceland’s capital city. Our guide will meet us at the airport and get us checked in to our hotel, and then give us a walking tour of the capital city. Overnight in Reykjavik.
March 31st Leaving Reykjavik this morning, we drive to the south coast and then eastwards to visit the spectacular Seljalandsfoss and Skógarfoss waterfalls, and then on to see Reynisfjara black sand beach and Reynisdrangar sea stacks. Dinner and overnight in Smyrlabjörg
Vatnajökull glacier towers over this region and has immensely affected the landscape. We will visit many of Vatnajökull’s outlets and outwash areas, the stunning Skaftafell, Iceland’s second largest national park were the landscape has been formed in thousands of years by different influences of fire and water (volcanic eruptions and the glaciers). The glacial scenery continues with a visit to 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!
Dinner and overnight in Smyrlabjörg
Continuing around the east coast and northwards today, we drive through the breath taking landscapes of the remote Eastern fjords to the town of Egilsstadir. We continue over the barren highland areas to Lake Mývatn, where we will be based for the next three nights.
Mývatn is one of the country’s most fascinating places, and we’ll spend the next couple of days exploring the area. The unique ecology of the lake and its unusual environment has made it one of northern Iceland’s greatest attractions. Lake Mývatn is famous for sea birds, and for the beautiful landscape influenced by volcanic activity and boiling sulfurous springs.
Some of the places we’ll see and photograph are:
Skútustaðargígar pseudo craters: A cluster of colourful and beautifully formed pseudo craters situated close to Skútustaðir and easily accessible from there by foot.
Höfði, Nature Park: With rich flora, fauna and a beautiful view of the lake.
Dimmuborgir: Translated as “Black Castles”, a landscape of rugged crags and strange lava formations. There are 3 different routes marked for walking. Please stay on the paths, as this area is like a labyrinth.
Hverfjall: A huge explosive tuff crater. It looks like a giant circular stadium with a crater bowl of 1,040 – 1,200m (3.411-3.936 ft) in diameter and 140m (459 ft) in depth. It stands only 150m (492 ft) above its surroundings so it is not difficult to hike to the top.
Námafjall: A mountain ridge singed and boiled by sulphurous vapours. The area is famous for the colourful solfataras and bubbling pools of hot viscous mud of amazing patterns and colours.
Grjótagjá: One of Iceland’s most well known chasms, half full of hot water, which made it a popular bathing spot for a long time, but has recently become too hot for bathing.
Krafla: A high temperature field with active volcanic craters, where a steam-powered electricity generating station has been built.
Leirhnjúkur: Part of the Krafla fissure complex. It is one of the most interesting sights in the Mývatn area. A highly active volcano and a small but very colourful high-temperature geothermal field situated west of Krafla, which last erupted in a series of nine eruptions from 1975–1984.
Dettifoss waterfall, Europe’s most powerful waterfall, contrasting strikingly with the smaller waterfalls of Hafragilsfoss and Selfoss.
Hólmatungur Nature Reserve, with colourful rock formations and rich flora.
The Nature Reserve of Hljóðaklettar (The Echo Cliffs) presents a great labyrinth of crags and rock formations which, like other strange rock formations and canyons in the National Park, is the result of catastrophic floods and water erosion
Ásbyrgi, a natural horseshoe-shaped rock enclosure, whose impressive walls reach a height of 90m (295 ft), is sheltering fertile and lush vegetation.
We leave Lake Mývatn and drive to Akureyri, and then complete our circumferential journey around the coast of Iceland, arriving back in Reykjavik for our last night in Iceland. Akureyri boasts some beautifully restored timber buildings. Because of its excellent natural harbor and good communications, Akureyri has become the northern center of education, culture, trade and industry. After a short stop, we will pass Goðafoss waterfall, one of Iceland’s most beautiful and renowned waterfalls before continuing through the farmland of North Iceland back to Reykjavík.
We leave Reykjavik and head to the Blue Lagoon, for a relaxing dip in 38°C therapeutic geothermal water before we head to the airport for the afternoon flight home. Most flights depart around 5 pm, please schedule yours for 4 pm or later.
What To Expect:
This photo tour will feature long days and nights with intense periods of photography. It’s not a workshop- there is no formal instruction, lectures or critiques. There won’t be time, as we’ll be photographing day and night. This is not to say that it won’t be a learning experience, but the first and foremost goal of this trip is to provide you with a comfortable and organized opprotunity to create images of the dramatic landscapes of iceland and of the Aurora. You’ll be working closely with people of varying levels of photographic experience, and we’ll all learn from each other and making friends along the way. Scott, Tim and I will be available to work with you in the field offering both creative and technical advice, but again this is primarily a working tour, not a workshop. There may be time for casual sharing and review of images, especially if there is some weather.
Expect similar temperatures to New England in late March- just above freezing day and night. It may rain, snow, be windy, or all three. It may be sunny and dry. It’s best to be prepared for everything from wet days in the upper 20′s to sunny days in the upper 40′s. Waterproof gear, gloves, hats, and boots are essential.
Meals, Accommodations, and What To Bring:
We will be staying in guest houses and hotels that are simple, but absolutely clean and comfortable, and used by photo tour groups led by Tim and others. All meals through breakfast on the last day will be included during the tour, with breakfast and evening meals generally being taken at our hotel or guest house, and lunches being mostly packed lunch picnics on the go. There will be lots of seafood- but other choices as well. Alcohol, especially wine, is expensive.
About the Tour Leaders:
Lance Keimig is best known for night photography of the built environment. His book, Night Photography- Finding Your Way In The Dark was published by Focal Press in August of 2010, is in its third US printing, and has been translated into five languages. Keimig is the curator of Darkness, Darkness, a traveling exhibit of Night Photography and and was the curator of the Three Columns Gallery at Harvard University from 2005 to 2011. He has taught at the New England School of Photography in Boston since 2000, the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, The Photographic Resource Center at Boston University, for the Texas Photographic Society, and the Houston Center for Photography. Keimig founded the Mono Lake Photo Workshops in 2003, and is also a cofounder of The Nocturnes Night Photography Workshops in San Francisco. Since 2001, Keimig has led annual photo tours to Ireland and Scotland.
Scott Martin is the owner of Onsight, which is a capture-to-print training and consulting business that helps digital imaging professionals optimize their workflows for quality and efficiency. Scott works on location with photographers, pro labs, artists, designers, prepress professionals and software developers perfecting the techniques and color management needed for top notch work. Scott holds the first ever known degree in Digital Photographic Imaging, is an Adobe Certified Photoshop Expert, and serves on the board of the Texas Photographic Society. His grand format fine art prints are shown in galleries and included in many public and private collections. Scott is the technical editor and was a major contributor to Lance’s book. He has been teaching photography workshops for over 15 years and has led workshops with Lance for the past five years.
Tim Vollmer is a German photographer and workshop instructor who lives and teaches in Iceland, but leads tours all over the world. He is also a founder of Esja Travel, the Icelandic tour operator for this trip.
The price of this trip includes:
* Transfer from/to airport upon arrival and departure
* 5 nights in a hotel in the country
* 2 nights in a hotel in Reykjavik
* Full board from dinner on day one to breakfast on day 8
* Boat trip on the Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon
* Entrance to the Blue Lagoon and towel
* One on one time with professional photographers Lance Keimig, Scott Martin, and Tim Vollmer
* Day and night photography
* With a little luck, the Aurora Borealis
The price of this trip does not include:
* International airfare from your home city
* Travel insurance
* Equipment insurance
* Alcoholic beverages
The minimum group size is six, the maximum is twelve.
The base price of the trip is $3995 based on two people sharing a room.
The supplement for a single room is $300. If you wish to share your room, but we cannot find a suitable roommate, you will be required to pay the supplement.
With a group size of six or seven, there will be a small group surcharge of $400.
Your deposit of $300 guarantees you a spot on the tour.
Deposits are due at registration.
A payment of $1000 is due December 1, 2012
A payment of $2000 is due January 1, 2013
A final payment of $695 + $400 small group supplement, and $300 single supplement (if applicable) are Due February 1, 2013.
Credit card deposits are accepted for the initial deposit. Further payments are requested to be paid by check. Credit cards will be accepted for any balance due, but subject to a 3.5% credit card transaction fee.
Photos on this page are ©2012 Tim Vollmer