FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently asked questions

Northern Lights

Aurora Borealis

What are our chances of seeing Northern Lights?

The Northern lights or Aurora Borealis are a spectacular solar light show that can be seen very well from Iceland. Auroras can be photographed from late August – early April. Auroras cannot be seen in the Icelandic Summer! The Northern lights love Iceland, but clouds also love Iceland. If you are planning a trip to see the Northern Lights, your chances of seeing auroras is partly luck, partly being in the right place and mostly the duration of your stay.

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Aurora Probability guide

This is based on being on a multi-day photo tour to Jökulsarlon (not Reykjavik – if you are staying there – halve the probability).



If we don’t see Northern lights the day we booked, is it possible to come back the next day? If yes, is it free?

Our Northern Lights photo tours (the expensive ones) are run by experienced photographers. They will only run them if they are over 70% sure. They will tell you the chances and you will have the option to take the tour or not. The best option is to choose flexible dates, this really increases your chances of being offered a tour with good conditions. It is possible that they are unsuccessful and sometimes clear skies and good forecasts can result in nothing. Some of our guides may offer a second tour to see the aurora if you are this unlucky. But we don’t have a policy on this. It is nice if they offer this, but it is not to be expected.

Most of the other cheaper northern lights bus tours that we offer, do run a second tour if you don’t see it, but our photo guides prefer to run them only in very good conditions.

Nobody can guarantee auroras, but professional guides want the same as you.


Winter tours

Is December a good time to come to Iceland for photography regarding light and other conditions?

December is great for photography. The daylight hours are short but high quality light means that you should be shooting constantly for 5 hours per day (weather permitting). The nights are great for northern lights.

What clothing should we bring?
  •     Good hat which covers ears
  •     Gloves – maybe gortex – mittens are best, but you need to operate a camera
  •     Hiking boots with waterproofing
  •     Wool socks – thick!
  •     Long-johns
  •     Trousers – not cotton
  •     Waterproof trousers
  •     T shirt
  •     Long sleeve shirt
  •     Fleece or Wool sweater
  •     Waterproof jacket
  •     Cold weather jacket – Parker
iceland winter dress

Clothing: dress in layers, temperatures can vary from -15c to 9c

Other websites have tours for Jökulsárlón but they don’t run in the winter. Will that be a problem?

A tour could be cancelled due to bad weather or bad forecasts, but this is an all year service for photographers, we don’t stop for the winter.

Is it easy to get around or is it all ice and snow?

There could be a lot of Ice and snow. Usually the ring road is kept open and the south coast part is a bit milder than the northern part. Normally there are icy paths at popular tourist sites, we provide crampons for our photo tour guests.

There is frequent bad weather in the Winter which causes dangerous driving conditions. If you are an experienced Winter driver, the conditions can very difficult. If you are not experienced it is possible to get into a Hellish situation and considerable danger.

Road conditions can be checked on the Icelandic Roads website


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Summer tours

What clothing should we bring?

Summer weather can be lovely, but it can also get cold.

  •     Good hat which covers ears
  •     Gloves – comfortable
  •     Hiking boots with waterproofing
  •     Thick socks!
  •     Waterproof trousers
  •     T shirt
  •     Long sleeve shirt
  •     Fleece or Wool sweater
  •     Waterproof jacket

Clothing: dress in layers, temperatures can vary from -1c to 25c

What can we shoot in the mid summer?

Mid summer has a unique opportunity to shoot through the night with the midnight sun. It doesn’t get dark and the sky is incredible for up to 6 hours. things that work well are Northern coastlines, Westfjords, Northern waterfalls. there are also opportunities to shoot wildlife such as arctic fox and bird life such as Puffins.

The summer also allows travel to the interior, to magical hot-spring locations such as Hveravellir, Landmannalaugar and Kerlingafjall

And so much more…

General

Are Iceland tours suitable for hobby photographers, or just professionals?

Listed tours are great for anyone who enjoys taking photographs, although pro-photographers are encouraged to take a private tour.

Besides a tripod, is there anything else that we would require? Can it be hired?

Renting camera gear is difficult, if not impossible in Iceland. A weekly camera rental is about the same price as buying a used camera back home. My recommendation is to rent your camera equipment in your home country and bring it to Iceland. For serious landscape work, you will need a tripod. Sometimes guides can lend you a tripod, please ask.Camera

There is no minimum requirement for tours you can shoot with whatever you feel comfortable with. Many modern compact or mirrorless cameras can do what a DSLR can. I do think that a DSLR still has a slight advantage with night photography, but you can get really decent Northern light results with modern mirrorless. Having inter-changeable lenses is another argument for Mirrorless and DSRs whith the mirrorless systems being much cheaper.Lenses

Wide and fast is good for general landscape and Northern Lights, i.e. 16-35mm f/2.8
Telephoto can be very useful at some locations.Filters

Neutral Density Filter (Like mine: B + W 77mm #106 1.8 (64X) Neutral Density Glass Filter with Single Coating)could be useful for beach scenes, waterfalls and Magic Cloth photography. A polariser filter can be useful for ice and landscapes. Bring Graduated filters for traditional landscape photography techniques.Extras

Spare batteries and a car battery charger
shutter release for your camera if you are going to shoot at night.
Small and large flashlight (torch)

You will also need layers of warm clothing, see FAQ about clothing.


Multi day tours

The Multi-day tours listed are with registered Icelandic travel agents.

Private tours

If you book a “Private” photo tour with “share” option, you will be responsible for the full price if nobody joins, or cancellation costs (see terms and conditions).


What is the difference between a photo tour and workshop?

The difference is that on a workshop, the emphasis is on learning. Learning from each other, learning from the guide and learning from the landscape. Photo tours can also be like this, but can also be more of a Photo Holiday, than Photo Work.


What is the size limit for luggage that we can bring on a private tour?

As much as you can bring on the plane… we expect people with Large suitcase, full metal camera bags, tripod and extras Tell your guide if you are concerned and he can advise.

My friend isn’t really that interested in photography, will this be a problem?

The challenge for a non-photographer is to not become interested in photography or geology on one of these tours.

Our tours welcome all travelers.


Do we need a visa to visit Iceland?

Iceland is part of the Schengen agreement, which means that there is free movement between European countries within the agreement. Europeans don’t need a visa. US, Australian and Canadian citizens can visit for up to 90 days with a valid passport and without a visa. Travelers from other areas probably will need a visa.


Can we stop at all the sights on route to Jökulsárlón?

The 1 day Jökulsárlón tour is the least flexible tour, but we do stop at some places on the way. We will let you know if time becomes an issue. We can see the big waterfalls, volcanoes and the beach at Vík, as well as the glaciers at Skaftafell.

Note: Currently Hörður is the only guide offering the one day trip to Jökulsarlon. Hörður is not a photographer, he will simply drive you there and back. We do offer popular multi-day day photo tours to Jökulsarlon Jökulsarlon trip with plenty of time for quality stops.


Which international airlines connect Iceland and which one is the cheapest?

Many airlines now connect to Iceland.

Icelandic

WOW is the cheapest. You have to connect in North American or European cities.
Icelandair is the oldest and higher end. They famously do an Iceland stop-over for Trans-Atlantic flights.

British

Easy jet connects to several major UK airports. They are by far the cheapest.

Are the prices listed for the tours per person or per group?

For single and multi-day photo tours, the prices are for the tour, not per person. For our shared photo tours, the same price divided between passengers, but confirmation depends on a required number of passengers. The advertised price is usually for up to 4 passengers.

Northern lights & Sightseeing tours usually list prices per person.

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