Photographing Iceland

Iceland

has become synonymous with awe inspiring pristine landscape far outside the urban sprawl whose ever increasing contamination of most countries has long since been accepted. For nature photographers Iceland lands itself among the most desirable places to travel. Whether a photographer or not be certain to bring a camera as photographing Iceland is the opportunity of a lifetime!

Sun Voyager

More likely than not your journey will begin in Reykjavik. While being the largest city in Iceland with approximately 120,000 residents Reykjavik manages to maintain its small town charm. During the summer months the sun sets but it never really gets dark; some folks use this as an excuse to never go to bed. If not wondering between the city’s numerous clubs and bars you can use these late night hours, soft light and reduced foot traffic through the city as a great opportunity for some photography. Carrying a fast prime will help with the low light and help facilitate sharp candid shots. The Sólfar (Sun Voyager) shown above is a must see . This piece of modern art stands overlooking the Atlantic; its modern design providing a stark contrast to the homely city which hosts it. The photo was taken at roughly 1 AM and is about as dark as it will get in the middle of a summer night. Hallgrímskirkja is also a must see. This church pictured below stands in the center of Reykjavik, small donations are accepted in exchange for an elevator ride to the top from where you can look down over the entire city.

Hallgrímskirkja

A Short drive from Reykjavik is the Blue Lagoon. This geothermal pool converted into a spa is one of the most popular attractions in Reykjavik. While it is a heath club photography is still accepted and seemed to be the norm. The pure white silt contrasts with the soft blue water for endless potential. For quite a while one of Flickr’s login page splash photos was from here. Be careful to not get any of your gear wet and be mindful of your exposure. Lot’s of sun here can cause the photo previews on your LED to look overexposed. Trust your judgment and your camera. A wide angle zoom would come in handy here to capture the entire scene. Also be sure to bring cleaning solution / microfiber cloth as the steam can easily accumulate on your lenses.

Polar opposite of the white silt of the Blue Lagoon are the black beaches of Vik. A scenic a 2.5 hour drive East of Reykjavik lies the small town of Vik. Known for its black sand, scenic rocky beach and quaint chuch purched atop a hill this town is a must see.

Vik Beach

Húsavík no longer hosts the Icelandic Phallological Museum (Penis Museum) so it seems whale watching has become the main attraction. Take a telephoto, steady hands, and some luck and you could land a one of a kind shot in this small town. The town is also peppered with charming eateries and bed and breakfasts. Staying the night is highly recommended. Seen below is a church located along the main road through town.

Husavik Church

Waterfalls are prevalent throughout Iceland, countless numbers of them seem to pop up out of nowhere along the roadside. As seemingly countless as the waterfalls themselves are the possibilities for photographing them. A microfiber cloths is essential for keeping your lens clean and dry from all the mist. A polarizer and tripod are also strongly recommended. Try playing around with small aperture and slow shutter speed to capture the flow of the water. Often the sky behind the waterfall creates a large amount of contrast, try shooting at different exposures and merging to an HDR shot later to capture the entire scene.

SkogafossSeen Above: Skogafoss

DettifossSeen Above: Dettifoss

GulfossSeen Above: Gullfoss

An unforgettable trip is all but guaranteed in Iceland. A drive around the ring road will take a minimum of several days so be sure to plan accordingly. Add plenty of padding to see the sights in Reykjavik. When shooting in Iceland HDR can be leveraged to some extent to give texture to the often cloudy skies and give more mood to your shots. Gear up and if you need to rent any equipment be sure to do it prior to departing. Take your time, travel safe and enjoy. Happy Travels!

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