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Thread: Iceland in January

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Nov 2008
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    Auckland
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    76

    Iceland in January

    Hi

    Has anyone ventured to Iceland for a photohgraphic trip in January, or do most people wait until the summer months?

    I'd like to shoot the Northern Lights, but would also love to get some daytime photography in some of that spectacular scenery.

    What's it like in January - is everything totally frozen and white?

    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Feb 2000
    Location
    Reykjavík, Iceland
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    407

    Re: Iceland in January

    January is ideal for the Northern Lights. It can be cold and covered with sow but it
    can also be "warm" and windy. Prices for air fares and hotels are good at his time of year and there are great thermal pools and hottubs for relaxation. As for daylight there is only a four hour dusk. See also this:

    http://www.johnpaulcaponigro.com/wordpress/?m=200808

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Feb 2000
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    Reykjavík, Iceland
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    407

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Feb 2000
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    Reykjavík, Iceland
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    Re: Iceland in January

    and this for weather and erthquakes:

    http://en.vedur.is/

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Auckland
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    Re: Iceland in January

    Thanks very much for the advice and links.

    I think maybe I'll keep my trip to a short break in January, returning in the summer months to get some of that 24hour daylight and see more of the island.

    Just need somewhere else to go in January now!


    Thanks again

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Location
    Besançon, France
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    1,493

    Re: Iceland in January

    Hello from France !
    Since Guðmundur Ingólfsson is on-line here, I'd like to ask him his feeling about possible weather changes in recent winters in Iceland ; I've read (may be in Iceland Review, I receive this magazine at home) that in Iceland recently some winters were rainy with little snow if any, at least along the coast.

    I have never been to Iceland in winter but I could understand that a Christmas without snow, now very common where I live in France (in the Jura, supposed to be a cold place), could be really strange in iceland !

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Feb 2000
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    Reykjavík, Iceland
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    407

    Re: Iceland in January

    A Christmas without snow is quite common in Iceland but even more so in the last thirty years or so. We speak of red Christmas if there is no snow. In my feeling there is no doubt that winter is now warmer, windier and more humid than it was 30-40 years ago. But if I look at diagrams from climate change research through the history of habitation of Iceland which is only 1100+ years, there have been huge swings in average temperature average rain and the size of the glaziers. When the settlers came in the 10th century the climate was much warmer than it is now.

  8. #8

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    Feb 2000
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    Reykjavík, Iceland
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    Re: Iceland in January


  9. #9

    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Wales
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    193

    Re: Iceland in January

    I visited Iceland in July 2007 and had a fabulous 2 week photo trip - despite the weather being unpredicatble and (mostly) wet! I am returning in the first 2 weeks of April 2009 for another visit - hopefully less wet but the stunning scenery makes up for weather!

  10. #10

    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Posts
    91

    Re: Iceland in January

    I lived in Iceland for a year. It is what got me started with photography. Only had a small digital point and shoot with me. My parents sent me my grandfathers a few weeks after I had arrived. That's what got me started with film.

    I was in Reykjavik. In winter, it is perfectly normal to have minus 10 degrees one day, positive 10 degrees the next (that is celsius). As said before, the climate close to the coast is definately not horrible.

    Regarding northern light photography, I'll try to give some advice:
    * Don't use a camera that needs batteries.
    * You don't need a light meter.
    * Bring fast lenses.
    * Exposure times of 15 seconds are usually a good balance between motion blur and brightness.
    * ISO 400 film is the most versatile
    * Mirror lock up (if using a camera with mirror) is nice to have.
    * While a wide lens is nice, you certainly don't need something super wide. I was happy with 28mm and 50mm on 35mm film. Just a 35mm lens would have been fine too.
    * Use the best possible tripod. Iceland is windy. Just to make myself clear: WINDY!
    * Make sure to think about your hands getting cold. Can you handle your camera with gloves on? Are you going to take them off?

    Feel free to ask questions. Here is a couple of shots I made with my crappy digi point and shoot. Didn't have a tripod so I put the camera on a rock and used the self timer.

    As a side note. The most spectacular nothern light I saw was in november and febraury/march. That may just have been a coincidence, however.

    Also: some people claim northern light is more likely to occur when it is cold. This is not true. However, the two things are related!
    1) You are more likely to see northern light when there is little daylight (winter) because the dark lasts longer... Ofcourse, winter is colder as well!
    2) You are unlikely to see northern light when it is clouded, and more liekly to see it when it is not cloudy. In winter, it is warmer when cloudy, and colder when not cloudy.







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