Iceland Highlands Photo Workshop
Aug 18-27, 2023 - Sold Out
Sept 8-17, 2023 - Sold Out
Explore the rugged interior on our 10-day Iceland Highlands Photo Workshop. The Highlands are an uninhabited, ever-changing wilderness forged by the forces of fire and ice. We'll journey into this remote and harsh landscape with special vehicles to handle the rough roads and water crossings. You'll see raging waterfalls, delicate geothermal pools, jagged mountains, otherworldly moonscapes, and lush canyons. Moderate hikes will get us to the best vantage points and the workshop includes all transportation, lodging, and breakfasts.
- Lodging Included
Max Group Size
- 6 Students per Instructor
- Max 12 Students
- David Swindler
- Albert Dros (Aug Only)
- Vicenzo Mazza (Sept Only)
- The Icelandic Highlands are home to some of the most surreal landscapes on Earth with ancient volcanos, steaming hot springs, dramatic canyons, jeweled lakes, majestic waterfalls, and much more!
- Get to the best spots for the best light on this action-packed 10-day itinerary. You'll come away with a diverse portfolio of images.
- We will focus on both landscape and aerial photography. If you have a drone, bring it along!
- Learn new photo skills and post-processing techniques from award-winning photographers David Swindler, Albert Dros (Aug), and Vicenzo Mazza (Sept)
- Equipped with special vehicles for the rough terrain, we will explore many areas within the highlands.
- Workshop includes all transportation, lodging, and breakfasts.
The itinerary is subject to change due to the unpredictability of Icelandic weather and conditions. However, we will make every effort to optimize our photographic opportunities no matter what the weather throws at us.
- Day 1: Arrival in Reykjavick. We meet at 7PM for dinner at a local restaurant where we will get to know each other and go over details for the days to come. Note: lunches and dinners are not included in the workshop fee.
- Day 2: We hit the road early and start the adventurous drive out to a remote valley. We'll cross lush green landscapes and volcanic sections devoid of life. Some of the rivers we cross seem impossibly deep! Once there, we'll check into the hotel then and hike up into the hills for amazing views of the valleys and braided rivers. Due to hotels being closed for the season, the Sept dates will visit an alternate location with equally good photo ops.
- Day 3: We are up well before dawn for a sunrise shoot followed by breakfast. We load back into the vehicle and start the drive to our next area. We take a side trip to a verdant canyon and photograph several dramatic waterfalls en route. After checking into the hotel and having dinner, we'll go out to for our sunset shoot.
- Day 4: For sunrise, we photographic a deep canyon with waterfalls seeming to gush out from all angles! We then cross an alien-looking volcanic landscape with many opportunities for drone and telephoto shots! After lunch, we embark on a hike that will take us deep into colorful badlands and geothermal features. We return to our hotel after sunset for a late dinner.
- Day 5: With rain in the forecast, we decide to catch up on some much needed sleep this morning. After breakfast we head back into the Highlands, passing towering volcanos and hiking to some impressive waterfalls. We photograph several jeweled crater lakes with ominous clouds crusing overhead. We explore several more areas before finishing with a sunset shot at an impressive viewpoint.
- Day 6: It's our last sunrise shoot in this section of the Highlands. We check out of our hotel and start the drive further north, passing some stunning views along the way. We enjoy lunch and check into our new accommodations. We spend the afternoon and evening hiking through a steamy, colorful geothermal area with endless photo ops.
- Day 7: For sunrise we shoot a different area of the colorful highlands before checking out and resuming our journey. At our next stop we enjoy a relaxing dip in thermal hot springs and take some interesting abstract photos of the nearby hot pools. After lunch we journey through some of the most remote sections of the Highlands, stopping for one of our all-time favorite waterfalls coursing through a thick section of columnar basalt. The force of the water is beyond impressive! We check into our new hotel and head out for a sunset shoot after dinner.
- Day 8: We photograph a unique area close to our hotel with verdant green crater-like mounds for sunrise. After a quick breakfast we explore some sparkling lakes along with one of the most impressive waterfalls in the whole of Iceland! At sunset we photograph a diverse geothermal valley with many interesting features.
- Day 9: It's our final sunrise shoot and we head to what many call the most beautiful waterfall in Iceland. The skies light up and we are treated to some amazing color and light! After checking out, we begin the long drive back to Reykjavik. Along the way, we stop for numerous photo ops. We get back to the city after dark and check into our hotel.
- Day 10: This is our departure day after breakfast. For those wishing to extend their adventure, we invite you to join our Red Sails in Greenland Photo Workshops
$5600/Person + Tax
- 9 nights double occupancy lodging with breakfast included.
- Single supplement adds $950.
- Photography guiding and instruction throughout the trip.
- All transportation during the workshop.
Trip Does NOT Include:
- Travel to and from your home to Iceland.
- Airport transfers
- Lunches, dinners, snacks, and beverages.
- Gratuities for photo guides, local guides and/or drivers.
A 50% deposit is required to secure your spot. The remaining balance will be charged 90 days prior to the workshop. Please see our Terms and Conditions for more details.
- Moderately strenuous hiking may be required to reach some locations. Participants should have good balance, mobility, and fitness.
- For the Sept dates, there is one location in the Highlands we will not be able to access due to the hotels being closed for the season. We will visit a different section of the Highlands with equally good photo ops.
- It is very likely that we will experience every type of weather. Warm sunshine, gale force winds, and rain are all possible within the same day. Come prepared! See the gear list further down.
- We highly recommend travel insurance to cover any non-refundable fees or medical costs. We have partnered with Squaremouth, a website that allows you to compare policies from multiple providers to choose the best one for you.
- The Highlands are absolutely stunning from the ground, but equally amazing from above. If you own a drone, you are welcome to bring it along. Make sure you bring plenty of extra batteries to hold you through the day.
- The instructors will be available throughout the trip to help you with your images and post-processing.
- Food is not included in the workshop price except for hotel breakfasts. We will be stopping at restaurants for meals. When we will not be close to a restaurant, we will communicate that the day before so you can plan your food needs at the grocery store.
- Charging ports will be available in the vehicle. Wifi is available in most places we will be.
- We recommend flying into Keflavik International Airport (KEF) and taking the FlyBus into the city. This workshop is designed to accompany our Red Sails in Greenland Workshop.
Recommended Camera Gear
- Sturdy tripod and ballhead
- Digital SLR or Mirrorless Camera Body.
- Wide angle lens in the 16-35mm range.
- Mid-range zoom lens in the range of 24-100mm.
- Long telephoto lenses will come in handy for landscape compression. We recommend a 100-400mm for maximum flexibility.
- Circular polarizer filters and ND filters for your lenses. If you like shooting with grads, bring them along. A 9 or 10-stop ND filter will be useful for creating very long exposures.
- Extra batteries, memory cards, and cleaning supplies.
- Remote cord for your camera.
- Cover for your camera/lens to protect against high winds and rain.
- Camera backpack you can use while hiking.
- Drone camera for aerial photography with extra batteries (optional).
- Laptop if you wish to backup your photos or post-process.
Personal Gear List
- Sturdy waterproof hiking footwear, hiking socks, and quick-dry pants (we don't recommend jeans).
- A rain jacket with hood along with some warm layers. Rain-proof pants may also come in handy if we get precipitation.
- Sunscreen, Sunglasses, Hat, Beanie, and Gloves
- Water bottle or hydration bladder.
- Hiking poles if you like having them.
Founder - Photography Instructor
David Swindler is an award-winning landscape and wildlife photographer. Among others, he has been recognized by International Photography Awards, Siena International Photo Awards, Sony World Photography Awards, International Landscape Photographer of the Year, and National Geographic. He received a degree in chemical engineering and worked in the semiconductor industry specializing in optics and photolithography. In 2014, he left his day job to follow his true passion. He has traveled to some of the most remote regions of the world and has extensive experience photographing a wide variety of subjects and conditions. He finds great satisfaction in helping others learn photography, especially in the wild desert environment near his home in Kanab, UT. David is an expert in night photography and loves to get out and shoot the starry night skies. Catch a glimpse of David's work in the slideshow, and follow the links below to see more!
Gallery Awards and Media Coverage
Having guided photo tours for years, David is very familiar with many different types of cameras. He is a master with light and composition. But most importantly, his dedication to his clients is what really sets him apart! Just read what others are saying here: Trip Advisor.
Albert is a Dutch photographer with an extreme passion for landscape photography. He aims to capture places and certain moments in the best way possible by using his own vision and unique style. His style consists of strong vibrant, sometimes fairytale like images in which he expresses himself. Albert has a background in Design, Video and Animation. He has worked for himself his whole life and has as a Master Degree in Multimedia & Entertainment Technology.
Albert loves to travel. Next to photo tours and workshops he likes to explore the world on his own or with friends. He has a passion for visiting the most beautiful spots in the world, whether known or unknown. Challenging himself is what keeps him motivated. Albert loves planning his shots carefully.
He does this with great detail to make sure his efforts have the highest chances of success. He sometimes plans days, weeks, months or even years to get that particular shot he wants. Challenging himself combined with planning and writing a story of the whole process is Albert’s specialty. He is always looking for new challenges and adventures. He is able to find beauty anywhere in the world: from misty mornings in the forests minutes away from his home to rooftops of the highest buildings in Dubai to remote locations in Iceland or the US. Next to taking photos, Albert also likes to teach and write about photography.
He occasionally writes for the most well known Photography magazines both on - and offline. Along that he has worked with many brands in the photography industry and is an official Sony Ambassador of Imaging.
His work has been featured in some of the biggest news outlets & magazines worldwide, like TIME, National Geographic and Adobe.
Vicenzo's biggest dream is to succeed in telling even a small part of the poetry of nature. When he looks through the viewfinder of his camera it’s as if everything comes together. In that very moment all his personal stories, passions and life experiences make sense.
When he was 17 he took his first photos with a friend’s SLR. For many years he had to combine his passion for photography and nature with his former job as a computer graphics designer.
Now, being a full-time landscape photographer and outdoor and glacier guide in Iceland, he's found a balance between his passions and ambitions: He can dedicate himself to my photography and has time to share his passion during photographic tours and workshops with others.
Photography has given him the opportunity to have amazing experiences. When he think of the mighty glaciers in Iceland, the magical northern lights or the silence of the wilderness in the Italian mountains, he realizes that he wouldn’t be the same person if he hadn’t witnessed all of this. Regarding his approach to photography, he is a storyteller, with photos that are the result of passion, creativity and technical skills in the field, but most of all, an expression of his unconditional love for natural landscapes.
Vicenzo's images are authentic, they are a faithful representation of the reality at the moment of the shooting. He never does any composites because he values the experience in nature more than anything else. Nature is so impressive, inspiring and magnificent! If he created composites by mixing up places and different moments, he wouldn’t be the storyteller that he wants to be.
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