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Iceland Highlands Photo Tour 2017

Updated May 31st, 2017

 

12 day Iceland Ultimate Highlands Photo Tour 2017

Join landscape photographers Adam Monk & Oli Valtysson for the photographic adventure of a lifetime in the highlands of Iceland in the summer of 2017.

Iceland Photo Tour 14

The Ultimate Iceland Photo Tour

This is the ultimate extreme Iceland Photo Tour, 12 days of the best that Iceland has to offer.  We will take in the stunning South Coast, the far North and incredible Highlands of Iceland, all of the most awesome regions in a place that will redefine your vision of landscape photography!

For this tour we will spend 12 full days travelling through and photographing the jaw dropping beauty that is Iceland, but what makes this tour really unique is that we be travelling in a fully modified 4WD bus (bright Red!), and we will take you way off the beaten path and right through the unique interior highlands region of Iceland,  a place where few travellers go and where the true wilderness photography is to be had.

Being an Autumn tour, we will be there at the perfect time to catch the Aurora Borealis, and although we can’t promise it, in 12 days there is a good chance we will see it, and photographing the Northern Lights over the dramatic Highlands landscape would be unforgettable.

This is more than just a highlands tour though, this is the ultimate Iceland tour, so we will be spending time on the stunning South Coast with its beautiful green hillsides, Ice beach and glacial lagoons, and also the vast open plains of the far North with its huge thundering waterfalls and and wild windswept lava fields and volcanoes.

Twelve full days experiencing the rare beauty of a unique land sculpted by Ice and Fire that is Iceland.

Iceland Photo Tour 01

Tour Information at a glance.

  • 26 Aug – 7 Sep 2017  – Fully Booked for 2017
  • Total Tour Cost US$7,900 twin share.
  • Single supplement:  US$990
  • Two Tours discount: US$200 (If you book for Greenland Sailing Tour as well)
  • 13 days in Iceland, 12 full days on tour.
  • Small group size of 12 people (maximum).
  • Tour package includes All your meals.
  • Comfortable tough 4wd vehicle with lots of space, everyone gets a window seat.
  • 2 experienced professional photographers shooting beside you at each location.
  • Dates match perfectly for the Greenland Photography Sailing Adventure 2017

 


For questions call Adam on  0415 854 179  (International +61 415 854 179)  or  (+61 8) 9336 6102  or  email  am@adammonk.com


Itinerary: 12 day Iceland Ultimate Highlands Photo Tour 2017

Day 1 – Aug 26 2017:  Arrival Day.

Photo tour to Iceland Day 01

You will arrive at Keflavik Airport where you will jump on the comfortable and efficient Fly Bus (vouchers supplied) to be taken directly to our hotel in the centre of Reykjavik.  Unless you have just come from my 8 day sailing adventure in Greenland, in which case you will already be in Reykjavik.  Here you can relax a little or explore the city for the rest of the day before we all meet up in the hotel lobby to head for dinner together.  Here we give you the brief on what’s coming up and to get to know each other a little before embarking on the adventure the following morning.

 


Day 2 – Aug 27:  Seljalandsfoss, hidden waterfall, Skogafoss, Vik and Reynisfjara.

Today the adventure begins as we leave Reykjavik behind and head down onto the South Coast to the scenic village of Vik.  The coastal area around Vik is a lovely mix of wild black sand beaches, giant stone sea stacks, ancient volcanoes and moss covered lava fields   The massive sea cliffs around Vik and the Dyrholaey Cape.  On the way to Vik we will be exploring some of Iceland’s most beautiful  waterfalls on the South Coast including Seljalandsfoss and Skogafoss.

Black sand beach of Vik. Photo tour of Iceland

Seljalandsfoss is a 63 metre high curtain fall that drops into a beautiful plunge pool.  It is unusual in Iceland in that you can actually walk around behind the falls to photograph back through it.  Very near to Seljalandsfoss and usually overlooked is the  40 m high hidden waterfall of Gljufrabui (Gorge dweller).  This waterfall is stunning in its own right, but is often skipped due to its proximity to Seljalandsfoss (plus it’s not signposted) which is much more obvious and can be seen from the road.  For this reason is often possible to have Gljufrabui to ourselves for some more intimate and unhurried photography

Next we visit Skogafoss, one of the highest falls in Iceland and very beautiful.  For the more adventurous it’s possible to climb right to the top of Skogafoss (via many many stairs…) for a fantastic view down the falls.Skogarfoss. Photo tour of Iceland day-12

We end the day on the Black sand beaches of Vik.  With its magnificent Reynisdrangar basalt sea stacks you can easily see where the Nordic legends of the Trolls begun.  Icelandic legend has it that these enormous columns of stone were actually giant rock trolls that were out fishing too late and were turned to stone by the rising sun.  Here you will see these legends come to life.  Just around the corner from Vik at Reynisfjara we will see a different perspective of the trolls and the black sand beach , the ocean here is often wild with huge waves pounding up the beach adding a further element of drama to our images.  The beach at Reynisfjara has been officially rated as the most beautiful non tropical beach in the World and you will see why.

 


Day 3 – Aug 28: Svinafellsjokull, Jokulsarlon and Ice Beach.

Continuing from Vik along the South Coast of Iceland we head into the Vatnajokull National Park, where we will be exploring some of the most unique and unexpected landscapes you are ever likely to see.  This National Park encompasses not just the incredible Vatnajokull Glacier, but also some places that will truly blow your mind, such as Skaftafel and Svartifoss (Black Falls), and the truly beautiful glacial canyon of Jokulsargljufur.  And then there is the Svinafellsjokul and Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoons and the black sand Ice beach…  These are places that no words can effectively describe, they really have to be seen to be believed.
Iceland Photo Tour 11

The Vatnajokull Glacier in Vatnajokull National Park is the largest glacier in Europe, and Right at the foot of the glacier is Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon, commonly agreed to be the most beautiful Glacier Lagoon in the world.  Jokulsarlon is the lake formed by the melt waters of the Vatnajokull Glacier and as the Glacier inches its way forward, huge icebergs calve off the face and crash into the icy blue waters of the lagoon before slowly making their way out to sea.

Many of these icebergs become stranded on the black volcanic sand beach next to the lagoon outlet, where the contrast of the glassy chunks of ice against the glossy black volcanic sand can make for some surreal photographic possibilities.  In fact the photographic opportunities around the Vatnajokull National park are almost endless, especially in the magic light of the midnight sun, we keep our itinerary flexible here so we always find the best location with the best light.

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Day 4 – Aug 29: South Fjallabak: Maelifell, Oldufell, Axlarfoss, Eldgja canyon.

Today we head into the Southern Highlands, traveling north of Myrdalsjokull glacier, on the South Fjallabak highland route. This is a more recent volcanic area of dark sands and moss-covered lava, where we will get our first glimpse of the colourful rhyolite mountains of the Iceland interior. Two mountains in particular will stand out in the spectacular scenery.  Oldufell mountain, rising above a green valley with many waterfalls and the lonely Maelifell mountain, an 800 m high volcanic cone, in the midst of a black sand desert surrounding it. Then its onto the lovely waterfall Axlarfoss on the river Holmsa. Framed with columnar basalt rock this waterfall offers an surreal contrast between the rushing water and the ponderous stone.

We‘ll finish the day with an overlook of Eldgja, an immense volcanic canyon that stretches from the Myrdalsjokull glacier to the Gjatindur peak.  Eldgja is over 40 km long, 600m at its widest point, and 270m deep. It was created in a massive volcanic event around 900 AD and its lava field covers around 700 km, it’s a truly humbling sight!Iceland Photo Tour 22


Day 5 – Aug 30: Eldgja hike, Ljotipollur and Hnausapollur crater lakes, Veidivotn Region

Today we‘ll be up early (as usual) to hike along the rim of the spectacular Eldgja canyon. You’ll be puffing a little at the beginning as the initial climb up is a little steep, but once you’re up its a nearly flat walk all around the rim, and the view is oh so worth it!  The finale is the lovely two tiered waterfall Ofaerufoss, which cascades down the the side of the gorge from the North Ofaera river into the bottom of the canyon.  Our walk takes us right round to opposite the falls, giving us the ideal stunning perspective of the falls and the immense canyon.Iceland Photo Tour 09

After leaving Eldja we head across to the Veidivotn region of the Highlands to see two spectacular explosion crater lakes.  The surreally beautiful and aptly named Blahylur (Hnausapollur) which means The Blue Pool and the very curiously named Ljotipollur, which literally means “Ugly Puddle”…  Which it most definitely is not.  Perhaps a small example of Icelandic humour?

Iceland Photo Tour 18


Day 6 – Aug 31: Landmannalaugar, Sigoldugljufur

Landmannalaugar is one of the most beautiful parts of the Southern Highlands. It has it all, besides the amazingly colourful painted mountains (that are so surreally beautiful nobody who hasn’t actually been there believes they are real) it also has hot springs and natural baths.  Landmannalaugar also has vast lava fields and lush vegetation, this area is one of the most photogenic in a country that is already a photographers paradise.Iceland Photo Tour 13

Today we have a selection of Landmannalaugar’s wonders for us to photograph, including the ridge of Frostastadahals for a awe inspiring view of the location and the landscape,  Frostastadavatn lake and the multiple waterfalls of the Sigoldugljufur canyon. This part of Iceland will surely be visual sensory overload, I have been here multiple times now and I still have trouble believing it can be real! If you can tear yourself away from this scenery, you also have the option of bathing in the Landmannalaugar natural baths (So far I never have…).

Iceland Photo Tour 19


For questions call Adam on  0415 854 179  (International +61 415 854 179)  or  (+61 8) 9336 6102  or  email  am@adammonk.com


Day 7 – Sep 1:  Veidivotn and Haifoss waterfall

Today we return to the Veidivotn area for some further exploration of the area‘s many beautiful highland lakes, craters and lava fields. We then travel west of the Fjallabak reserve to experience the awesome sight of Haifoss waterfall. Iceland Photo Tour 17

Haifoss is Iceland‘s second-highest waterfall, it drops 122 metres into a deep river gorge.  We approach this fall from the other side of the canyon and you won’t be able to see it until you step out onto the cleared flat rock shelf (it’s a very easy walk) directly opposite… It will take your breath away!  You see there is not just one waterfall, but two.  Right next Haifoss falling into the same gorge is the equally impressive (though a couple of metres shorter) Granni.  This is a great place to practise your photo stitching techniques so you can get both falls and the gorge in a single shot. Both these falls are on the river Fossa, which is itself a tributary of the Thjorsa glacier river and the longest river in Iceland.Haifoss waterfall. Photo tour of Iceland with Adam monk

Depending on the light we may also get to photograph a third waterfall in the Fossa river, Hjalparfoss. Hjalparfoss is a stepped waterfall framed with tall basalt columns.  It offers a great contrast between the foaming white water and the hard dark grey granite. After all this you will sleep well tonight!

 


Day 8 – Sep 2: Long drive over Sprengisandur, Hrafnabjargafoss, Aldeyjafoss, Godafoss

Sprengisandur is the long highland plateau stretching around 200 km at a height of  800 meters which links the north and the south of Iceland. This was the major route from Northern to Southern Iceland in the quite recent past.  The route takes us over vast recent lava fields and wild windswept glacial tundra, its a great place to feel just how geothermically active Iceland is and how recent (geologically speaking) the whole island rose above the waves.  Along the way we will pass three huge glaciers: Hofsjokull, Tungnafellsjokull and Vatnajokull.Iceland Photo Tour 12

After travelling the Sprengisandur route, for the last part of our overland journey to the North we will follow the mighty glacial river Skjalfandafljot, stopping to marvel at and photograph three stunning waterfalls.  Beginning with Aldeyjarfoss and Hrafnabjargafoss (go on, try to say this one…), both cutting through thick lava rock rock and surrounded by regular columnar basalt in eerily regular crystalline formations. Iceland Photo Tour 23

We end the day with sunset at Godafoss, the waterfall of the Gods, a place truly deserving of its name!  The story of how Godafoss got its name is that around the year 1000 AD the local Lawspeaker (Chieftain) Thorgeir Thorkelsson in a bid to settle the religious strife that was threatening the peace of the whole island, declared Christianity the official Religion and symbolically threw the Nordic God wooden Idols off the falls.  Hence the Waterfall of the Gods.Iceland Photo Tour 25


Day 9 – Sep 3: Lake Myvatn, Dettifoss, Selfoss, Hafragilsfoss, Hverarond and craters

Today we awake to explore the lovely Lake Myvatn and it’s surroundings.  The landscape around Myvatn varies wildly from lush green pastures and gentle flowing hills to moonscape like lave fields, huge volcanic craters and bubbling sulphurous mud pools.  This region is one of the most volcanically active in all of Iceland, sitting right on top of the mid Atlantic Ridge.  The soft golden twilight of the northern sun is the perfect light to photographically explore some of the otherworldly sights around Lake Myvatn like the Geothermal field of  Hverir with its steaming Fumeroles, and the vast 10km wide volcanic caldera of Krafla with the green lake of the Viti Crater inside.  It is one of the most astounding and varied landscapes in the world, with no end of unique photographic opportunities, we may even find time for a dip in one of the thermal pools to recharge our batteries.

Then we head slightly East across the top of Iceland to photograph the most massive waterfall in all of Europe, Dettifoss. Dettifoss is over 100 metres across and 45 metres high!  But not only is it huge and awe inspiring, it is also stunningly beautiful, with the stark glacier carved landscape surrounding it, you will think you have gone back to where the world began!Iceland Photo Tour 02


Day 10 – Sep 4: Skagafjordur, horses, turf churches and turf farm museum

A slight change of pace today, and a brief shift away from the stunning landscape of Iceland to its human history and the resilient people who battled the elements in the early days to make Iceland what it is today.  Today may also give you some insight in to the quirky Icelandic sense of humour and their wonderful way of laughing at adversity.  So we head to the Skagafjordur region of North Iceland to visit some of the oldest genuine turf buildings remaining.  Glaumbaer farm was a working farm and fully inhabited right up to the 1940s when it was turned over to the state as a living museum.  Here you will get to see life in rural Iceland as it was lived several hundred years ago, complete with all the accessories and details from the blacksmiths workshop to the bed covers.  It really is a treasure trove of Icelandic history and you can walk right through it and photograph as much as you please.  The kitchen and pantry are my personal favourites with the wooden butter churnes and the huge caste iron stove.  As an added bonus, there is a great cafe here with fabulous cakes and pretty ordinary coffee…

Continuing with the change of pace theme we will also get to photograph some beautiful Icelandic horses.  The Icelandic horse is a unique breed deservedly famous for their tough sure footedness and their superbly smooth gait making them a pleasure to ride.  They are small, round and noble, and with their long flowing mane and naturally curious nature they make wonderful photographic subjects.  See if you can find one with blue eyes…

We will end the day back on track with our amazing landscapes theme by taking you to the lovely Reykjafoss waterfall on the Svarta river.  Reykjafoss falls over three steps to height of just 14 metres, very small compared to the 122m Haifoss, but beautiful in its own right.Iceland Photo Tour 27


Day 11 – Sep 5: Hveravellir geothermals. Kerlingarfjoll mountains, Gygjarfoss

Heading over to colourful rhyolite mountains of Kerlingarfjoll and Hveravellir geothermal area today.  Hveravellir is one of the biggest geothermal regions of Iceland, filled with smoking fumaroles and boiling mud pots with wild iridescent colours caused by oxidising chemical salts from deep within the Earth.  Its a wonderfully otherworldly place that feels like you have stepped back in time to the age of the dinosaurs. Iceland Photo Tour 26

If you haven’t yet seen enough waterfalls, we also take you to the small but unique Gygjarfoss waterfall on the Jokulhvisl river.  By now you can truly say you have seen and photographed a broad and diverse cross section of Iceland’s thousands of waterfalls (seriously).

 


Day 12 – Sep 6:  Kerlingarfjoll, Gullfoss, Geysir, Bruarfoss

On our final day we begin the day in the rhyolite mountains of Kerlingarfjoll before heading South to two of the main attractions of the Icelandic Golden Circle, the things you go to see if you only have one day in Iceland.  Beginning with Gullfoss, the Golden Falls.  Yes its another waterfall, but wow is it ever impressive!  Gullfoss is stunning and you can’t possibly leave Iceland without experiencing it.Iceland Photo Tour 04

After Gullfoss we take you someplace completely different, to the Geysir geothermal area.  Geysir is the original geyser, but it seldom erupts anymore… as I found out the first time I visited.  I got up pre dawn to catch sunrise through the erupting geyser, and stood and waited in the perfect spot.  And waited… and waited… meanwhile the sun came up and Geysir just blew a few bubbles.  A quick search on google soon told me that Geysir hasn’t actually erupted for years, but meanwhile the nearby Strokkur was blowing water and steam 15-20m into the air about every 5 minutes.  Not my finest moment.Iceland_Photo Tour-29

Lastly, we take you to yet another waterfall… But this one is unlike any other, and isn’t strictly a waterfall.  Bruarfoss is ice blue and is an inverted arch fall with the water percolating out of the lava field.  Its a really stunning small waterfall and a wonderful way to end our journey across Iceland.

From here its back to Reykjavik to our final hotel and a our farewell dinner.

 


Day 13 – Sep 7 2017: Farewell and Departure

We have a farewell breakfast together and then it’s off to the airport on the FlyBus for our flights home, with loads of stories to tell and literally hundreds of amazing images to wow our friends and family with…Iceland_Photo Tour-20

**This itinerary is the plan, though the weather in Iceland is unpredictable, so there may be some deviations or schedule changes. Either way, we will be working hard to ensure you have an amazing photo tour in Iceland.  We don’t just want you to come on one tour with us, we want you to come back again and again.

 


For questions call Adam on  0415 854 179  (International +61 415 854 179)  or  (+61 8) 9336 6102  or  email  am@adammonk.com


Dates – Tour Cost – Single Supplement

  • 26 Aug – 7 Sep 2017, with 12 full days on tour. – Fully Booked for 2017
  • Tour commences and ends in Reykjavik.

Prices

  • Fully Inclusive Tour Price: US$7,900  Twin Share.
  • Single supplement: US$990
  • Two Tours discount: US$200 (If you book for Greenland Sailing Tour as well)

What’s Included

  • Flybus tickets to and from Keflavik airport to Reykjavik city (for arrival and departure).
  • 13 days in Iceland with 12 full days on tour, with all land content included.
  • Comfortable, warm hotel accommodation for the duration of the tour.
  • All you meals for the tour.
  • All Park entries and permits.
  • Photographic tuition from 2 dedicated professional photographers.
  • Comprehensive photographic notes to help you remember all you have learnt.

What’s Not Included

  • Flights to and from Iceland.
  • Travel insurance (required as condition of booking).
  • Camera Insurance.
  • Alcohol and extra beverages.
  • Any extras you may wish to buy along the way.

Your Guides – Adam Monk.

Greenland_Adam-MonkAdam is an award winning landscape and travel photographer with a longstanding passion for the natural environment.  He has been travelling and photographing the worlds wild places for over 25 years and the enthusiasm just continues to grow.  Adam has been based out of his own landscape photography gallery in the port city of Fremantle, Western Australia for the last 11 years.  His images can be found in numerous private collections all over the world.  For the last 10 years Adam has been organising and running photography workshops and photography tours to some of the worlds wild and beautiful places such as The Kimberley, Bhutan, Cambodia, Iceland and Greenland. This year is his fifth trip to Iceland and the enthusiasm for its wild places is only growing.

Your Guides – Oli Valtysson.

Iceland Photo Tour - OliOli is a native Icelander, family man, professional photographer and a Viking! Born in 1972, Oli grew up in Reykjavik and his enthusiasm for photography was obvious early on.  After working in the advertising business in Iceland for many years Oli decided to make his increasingly time demanding hobby his career. Since then Oli has become a full time professional Photographer with lots of his work published in books, websites, magazines and newspapers. He has expert knowledge in landscape photography and has been a Photo Guide for many years now with great success, he is knowledgeable in the land, the sagas and the photographic field, has a great sense of humour and is an awesome driver.

 


 Want to read what others are saying about my Photo Tours?

Rather than putting reviews on my web page, which of course is very biased, I have a page on Trip Advisor where some of my past participants have put their own reviews.  Read the Trip Advisor reviews Here>>

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