Iceland Westfjords

20 - 30 Jul, 2017
Group Size: to 12 people
Operated by:
11 days, from 6900 USD

Applications closed

Join award-winning landscape photographers from Iceland, Iurie Belegurschi and Orvar Atli on this exceptional 11-day Iceland Westfjords Photography Tour which covers the wild Westfjords of Iceland plus the iconic Snaefellsnes Peninsula. This is perfect for the serious explorers who want to discover one of Iceland's best kept secrets by taking the off the beaten path and capture not just the wild landscape the country can offer but also the wildlife of Iceland. The midnight sun season is the best time to shoot the seabirds including the adorable Puffins when they nest on the sea cliffs. So get ready to board a comfortable and spacious bus as we chase the arctic magical light over the unspoiled wilderness of the Westfjords as we take your photography skills to the next level.
Day 1 - July 20th - Arrival

After you land at Keflavik International Airport, please take the FlyBus to your hotel of stay in central Reykjavik. We‘ll meet up with you in the lobby at 7:00 and we'll go out together for a nice meal at a nearby restaurant. There we‘ll get to know each other and go over the itinerary of the photography adventure awaiting you in West Iceland and the Westfjords. You‘ll spend the night at your Reykjavik hotel.

Day 2 - July 21st - Búðir church, Arnarstapi, Þúfubjarg/Lónsdrangar, Kirkjufell


On this day, you’ll be photographing some of the many wonders of the Snaefellsnes peninsula in West Iceland, Arnarstapi, Budakirkja, Kirkjufell and Londrangar.

At Arnarstapi you’ll witness its amazing beach, ravines, columnar basalt, grottoes and fascinating rock formations, as well as the strong waves of the North Atlantic Ocean. A central attraction there is the Gatklettur natural stone arch and the rifs Musagja, Hundagja and Midgja. The nearby lavafield Hellnagraun is also a great site to explore. Dusk and twilight are particularly recommended for photographing in the area. Budakirkja by the hamlet Budir is a charming old black church dating back to the 19th century but renovated in the 1980s. It offers a striking and highly photogenic sight as it stands in a moss-grown lava field surrounded by an old turf wall with a beautiful mountain ring around it. Nearby you’ll see remnants of an old farm and not far off is a yellow sand beach.

On this day you’ll also be photographing the famous Mount Kirkjufell, by the fishing town Grundarfjordur. The mountain is distinctive in its pyramid-like shape, when seen from the right angle, but it is also a mountain that always seems to offer something new in terms of angle, light and shape, as it rises proudly over the town and its fjord. Nearby is the beautiful Kirkjufellsfoss waterfall, and photographing the fall and mountain together makes for some particularly nice photos.

Last but not least, you’ll be seeing the impressive Londrangar sea stacks and the Svalthufa hill, itself a remnant of a crater that has mostly eroded by now. At Thufubjarg cliff, you will also be able to enjoy the great birdlife of the area, including puffins, kittiwakes, common murres, northern fulmars. You’ll see how the sea and winds shaped the area, and not far off you’ll see remnants of the huts of fishermen who braved the natural forces.Your night will be spent at Snaefellsnes.

Day 3 - July 22nd - Svörtuloft seacliff, Klukkufoss, Djúpalón, Berserkjahraun, Kirkjufell reshoot

On this day we’ll be photographing at the dark, dramatic and preciptious sea cliffs Svortuloft. The waves here are known to be particularly wild in stormy weather and seeing them lash upon the cliffs is a breathtaking sight. This area has seen its share of shipwrecks and had its first lighthouse built in 1911, whereas the current one, bright orange, is a more recent construction. We’ll also be photographing a small but beautiful waterfall called Klukkufoss, which flows over basalt columns in the river Modulaekur and takes its water from Snaefellsjokull glacier. Several other lovely waterfalls are also to be found in the area.

We’ll take time to photograph and explore the wonderful Djupalonssandur beach, at the south side of the peninsula. The terrain is one of rugged lava, contrasted with the smooth pebbles of the beach. Two lovely little lakes are at the site and a massive rock called Gatklettur, through which Snaefellsjokull can be viewed.You can also try your strength at the lifting stones Fullterkur, Halfsterkur, Halfdraettingur and Amlodi.Northwards of the peninsula we’ll explore the wild and colourful Berserkjahraun lava field, near to the village Bjarnarhofn.

We’ll also take time to further photograph the impressive Mt. Kirkjufell by Grundarfjordur. Your night will again be spent at Snaefellsnes.

Day 4 - July 23rd - Garðar boat wreck, Rauðisandur, Breiðavík, Látrabjarg puffins.

On this day we’ll take the ferry over the vast fjord Breidafjordur, which separates Snaefellsnes and the Westfjords. On our way we’ll enjoy a view of the fjord’s countless islands and the mountains on either side of the fjords. The largest island is Flatey, popular with travelers in the summer, with its charming old houses, beautiful nature and wildlife. The wildlife at Breidafjordur includes range of seabirds, such as puffins, arctic terns, gulls and the occasional white-tailed eagles. Out in the sea you may spot whales and nets are often laid out for shellfish, which travelers may enjoy fresh from the sea.

In the Westfjords we’ll photograph the wreck of the oldest oldest steal ship in Iceland, Gardar BA 64. It was built in 1912 and served the whaling business well until it was declared unfit for duty in 1981. It was then put ashore at Skapadalur valley, making for a truly impressive sight for travelers and photographers. We’ll be further photographing at Europe’s largest bird cliff and Iceland’s westernmost site. This is the 14 km long and 441 m high Latrabjarg, host to millions of birds, including puffins, guillemots, northern gannets and razorbills. It was also the site of a legendary rescue mission in 1947, when Icelandic farmers and cliff climbers saved 12 surviving members of a British trawler.

The beach by the cliff is known as Raudisandur (“Red Sand”) and is rare in that the sand is pale red, almost pink. Concerts have also been held there in summer for the last few years. This area was also the site of one of the infamous Sjounda murders in the 19th century, a tale of infidelity, forbidden love and dark crime, which in turn inspired the classic novel Svartfugl (The Black Cliffs) by Icelandic author Gunnar Gunnarsson. Your night will be spent in the village Breidavik.There we recommend photographing the church and the coastline. Remnants of fishermen's huts are also to be found in the area, relics of life in former times.

Day 5 - July 24th - The mighty Arnarfjörður, stops at Ketildalir, Foss in Fossfjörður, Dynjandi waterfall

On this day we’ll be exploring and photographing at Arnarfjordur, the second-largest fjord of the Westfjords and famous for being one of its most beautiful fjords, due to its nature, its diversity it majestic mountains, its history and for being home to one of Iceland’s most spectacular waterfall. We’ll be stopping at the Ketildalir valleys in the south coast of the fjord for some nice pictures of the wonderful scenery. At one of the valleys, Selardalur the major poet, translator and priest Jon Thorlaksson was born, who translated Milton’s Paradise Lost, Klopstock’s Messiah and Alexander Pope’s Essay on Man in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Iceland’s independence hero, Jon Sigurdsson, was born in Arnarfjordur, at the farm Hrafnseyri, and Jon’s statue can be seen at the center of Austurvollur square in Reykjavik, facing the parliament. The fjord is also prominent in Icelandic folklore, said to host many monsters and sorcerers.

At the valley Fossdalur we’ll be stopping by the farm Foss and photographing a nice little waterfall wherefrom the farm takes its name.

Last but not least, we’ll be photographing, Dynjandi the most powerful and magnificent of the waterfalls in the Westfjords, and indeed one of the most stunning and photogenic of all Icelandic falls. It is made up of several falls (seven altogether) that cascade down many steps at a collective drop of 100 meters. Its uppermost tier bears a distinctive trapezoidal shape and is the part that is most photographed, around 30 meters at the top and 60 meters at the bottom. The name of the fall translates to “thunderous”, a name it bears proudly. Your night will be spent at the village Thingeyri.

Day 6 - July 25th - Around Kaldbakur peninsula. Old farm houses at Stapadalur, Tjaldanes and Lokinhamrar. Keldudalur glacier caved valley.

On this day we'll be traveling further off the beaten track to photograph abandoned farms at Tjaldanes, Stapadalur valley and Lokinhamrar. We'll be travelling alongside the majestic Kaldbakur mountain, the highest mountain of the Westfjords. This is an area where you can really be one with the nature and appreciate its serenity and beauty, its high mountains and steep hills. The old farm houses and the amazing natural backdrop make this a highly photogenic site, offering a chance of great pictures, as well as offering peace and quiet. Another beutiful valley where we'll also be photographing is Keldudalur valley, where there are lovely ponds set against the impressive mountain peaks rising high above us. The roads are not easy in this area, but the magnificent scenery certainly make it worth one's while and the travel is an adventure in its own right. Icelandic author Guðmundur G. Hagalín was born at Lokinhamrar and wrote much about the lives of sturdy fishermen and farmers of the region.Your night will again be spent at Thingeyri.

Day 7 - July 26th - Ingjaldssandur, Bolafjall, Ísafjörður town, Bolungarvík town, Korpudalur

On this day we‘ll be photographing in and around the towns Bolungarvik and Isafjordur as well as photographing in the area of two beautiful valleys, Ingjaldssandur and Korpudalur.

Isafjordur is the Westfjords capital, its largest town, with a population of about 2600 people. Set with high mountains, it is mainly a fishing town, as well as a center for tourism in the Westfjords. It features interesting museums, both a folk one and a cultural one and is home to the University Center of the Westfjords. Many interesting cultural events are hosted at Isafjordur, most famously the music festival Aldrei for eg sudur (“I never went south“), around easter time.

Bolungarvik is the northernmost and second-largest of the towns in the Westfjords, as well as one of its oldest settlements. It is set with mighty coastal mountains and features a national history museum as well as an open air fishing museum. Film fans might recognize the town from the Icelandic film Nói albínói, as the film was shot in Bolungavik. We‘ll also be able to photograph and climb the 638 m high Bolafjall mountain, and from there get a fantastic view over the area.

As we finish up for the day, we‘ll photograph the scenery in the lovely valleys Korpudalur and Ingjaldssandur. There is a nice little hotel there which is a renovated farmhouse, as well nice paths, impressive landscape and rich birdlife. The sea and lake there offer good reflections for photography and photographing during sunset is recommended.

Travelling to Ingjaldssandur, we‘ll be following a rugged mountain road, to a valley set with steep mountains, which opens up towards the sea. There is only one farm left there but plenty of sheep. There is also a nice little church there. Local handmade artifacts can also be bought there. Your night will be spent in Isafjordur.

Day 8 - July 27th - Arnarnesviti, Ísafjarðardjúp fjord system.

On this day we‘ll be further exploring the vast fjord Isafjardardjup, to which Isafjordur and Bolungavik belong, as the 75 km long fjord is set with many smaller fjords, and these two sites indeed mark its length. This is an area marked with sheer and steep mountains reaching to the sea, deep fjords and scarce settlement. The northeastern side is fairly straight and has one sole inlet, Kaldalon, fed by the Drangajokull glacier. On the southern side are 9 fjords. The fjord has three islands, Aedey, Borgarey and Vigur. Many birds and seals may be found in the area and the beauty of the landscape is breathtaking. Farms have mostly been deserted, but remnants still stand, bearing witness to man‘s struggle for life under harsh conditions. In one of the fjords, Skotufjordur, you can visit a restored farm, originally built in the 19th century, which features an interesting exhibition on the life of farmers in former times. We‘ll also be photographing at Arnarnesviti lighthouse, set on the peninsula between Skutulsfjordur and Alftafjordur. This is a colourful little lighthouse in stark yellow and red, built in 1921 of cast-iron and steeled with corrugated iron. As well as the lighthouse being photogenic in its own right, you‘ll have a great view of the area. Isafjardardjup is in all a place destined for offering great photos and a memorable experience. Your night will be spent at the small village Holmavik in the Strandir region. Here we recommend visiting the Museum of Icelandic Sorcery and Witchcraft and the town‘s oldest house, a charming building dating back to the 19th century, now home to a nice coffeehouse and bar. About 12 km from the village is also a museum where travelers can learn about sheep farming in Iceland through the ages and enjoy local delicacies at the caféteria.

Day 9 - July 28th - Grímsey Island puffin trip from Drangsnes, Hvítserkur.

On this day we’ll set off by boat from the quite little hamlet of Drangsnes to a small island called Grimsey, not to be confused with the more famous one which straddles the Arctic Circle. This island has a rich amount of birdlife, including puffins and fulmars, which we’ll be photographing.

Afterwards, we’ll be shooting the spectacular basalt monolith Hvitserkur, which rises like some sort of a prehistoric monster from the Vatnsnes peninsula. It takes its name and white colour from bird excrement, of which there is plenty in the area, such as fulmars, sea gulls and artic terns. The sun also does further wonders to this photogenic site, particularly during sunrise and sunset, where the light, colours and shadows lend further otherworldliness to the scene. While shaped by sea and wind, folklore holds it to be a troll turned to stone by the sun, and it certainly looks that way. Also recommended are the amazing basalt columns at Borgarvirki and the peninsula itself has plenty of beautiful mountains. Your night will be spent in the vicinity of Hvitserkur.

Day 10 - July 29th - Kolugljúfur, Hraunfossar waterfall, back to Rvk.

On this day we’ll be photographing the magnificent Kolugljufur canyon in Vididalur valley and its many beautiful waterfalls, collectively known as Kolufossar. The canyon and its falls make for a breathtaking and incredibly photogenic sight, where the clear water of the falls contrasts with the ruggedness of the canyon. The name of the falls comes from a legend of a giantess named Kola who was said to live there. We’ll also be photographing the stunning Hraunfossar waterfalls in Borgarfjordur, made up of many rivulets flowing at the edge of the lava field Hallmundarhraun and falling into the mighty glacier river Hvita.

After photographing these wonderful falls, we’ll be wrapping up our photographing adventure as we’ll return to Reykjavik, share a dinner at a local restaurant and say our goodbyes.

Day 11 - July 30th - Departure

On this day you will join the Flybus that takes you to Keflavik International Airport, bringing with you memories and photos from an unforgettable photographing adventure.
Total Price: 6900 US $ per person double occupancy .

Registration deposit: 2000$

Payment in Full: 60 days prior to the workshop's starting date.

Cancellation and Refund Policy

If you cancel and the Workshop is otherwise filled, we will refund you the full amount you have paid towards the tuition, minus a $150 service charge. If you cancel and the Workshop does not fill, then you will be refunded according to the following schedule, based on the full fee of the Workshop:

Greater than 60 days from the start date of the Workshop: full refund minus $150 fee.

  • 45 days or more: 75% refund
  • 30 days or more: 50% refund
  • Less than 30 days: no refund
Refunds will be paid by the same method that the original payment was made.
Refunds will be initiated within 72 hours of the time that the request is approved.
Included:
  • Two Professional photo guides.
  • Transportation in a spacious, comfortable 4x4 super truck offering ample room for you and your photography gear.
  • Accommodation in hotels and guesthouses. Rooms with private bathrooms.
  • Full board during workshop, from dinner on day 1 til breakfast on day 13.
  • FlyBus tickets for transfer from and to Airport.
Not Included:
  • International flights
  • Alcohol, snacks and beverages
Disclaimer
The tour is always dependent on weather, as the Arctic weather can indeed be highly unpredictable.When it comes to the Northern Lights, while they are most likely to be seen between September and April, there is no guarantee that they will appear at a given time. There is however always plenty to see and do if conditions do not favour any part of our original plan.
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