View Full Version : Off to Iceland in a week

Robert Tilden
19-Oct-2018, 10:15
I'm off to Iceland at the end of the month for a week of photography. I'll be staying near Vik, on the southern coast. It promises to be an interesting (and wet!) visit and I will probably be seeing some of the lesser known features in that area. I will be in Reykjavik for a couple of days as well. Any pointers or 'must see' information would be welcome!

Emmanuel BIGLER
20-Oct-2018, 05:48
Hi Robert and congratulations for this trip to Iceland.
I've been to Iceland a couple of times, but never at this season, end of October, I wish I could join you!

May be the first comment could be: be prepared to unpredictable weather conditions, weather conditions will of course have a major influence on your visiting program.

I've been to Iceland once with a rented car, but this was only a small car, not a 4-wheel drive, hence I could not go very far off main roads.

Vík í Mırdal is located on ring-road#1 between the big glaciers of Mırdalsjökull and Eyjafjallajökull and the southern sea shore. This southern Icelandic sea shore is very wild, no harbour, no safe place to land for a fishing boat in the past.

The Eyjafjöll sub-glacier volcano is famous for its 2010 eruption that blocked all air traffic in Western Europe for a while.


I do not know how close one can get to those huge ice caps without a 4-wheel drive vehicle, however there is plenty to see close to Vík í Mırdal with a regular car, namely the great beaches of black volcanic sands near Dyrhólaey, a well-know scenic spot.

If you have a simple regular car, time permitting (one week is quite short), you could push eastward following ring-road#1 to a beautiful place (a National park) named Skaftafell.

You'll first cross a huge lava field, Eldhraun (hraun means lava in Icelandic). This lava field is quite old and covered with moss, something very strange and unusual.
Then continuing beyond a small city named Kirkjubæjarklaustur, you'll reach the big glacial sands of the Skeiğara river, Skeiğarársandur.
This part of ring-road#1 was the very last to be completed in the seventies, crossing those unpredictable glacial rivers is a challenge for civil engineers. The road was destroyed and rebuilt after a major glacial flood in 1996.

Before completion of the bridges over the Skeiğara river, Skaftafell was one of the most isolated spots in Iceland since you could only reach it by road from the North and East, going all around the biggest glacier in Iceland, Vatnajökull.

I've been twice to Skaftafell, both times in July so I have no idea for October.
My first visit to Skaftafell: heavy fog, drizzling all day, no view over the glaciers, very deceptive.
Second visit a few years later, bright sunshine, no clouds, no wind, I climbed up to the highest part of land above Skaftafell that you can reach without special mountaineering equipment, the views over the glaciers were gorgeous, hard to find words.
Above Skaftafell you have a nice waterfall with basaltic rocks, named Svartifoss, a classical postcard of Iceland,
but even if it is a postard that has been posted a zillion of times on the 'net, it is still gorgeous ... by bright sushine ;-)

All the best !

22-Oct-2018, 12:16
Hi Robert, I just registered to this forum to bring up this exact topic!
My GF and I are also travelling to Rekjavik from Boston on the 29th of Oct for a few days, we are bringing a 4x5 Gandolfi and a Yashica A both will reside on a Gitzo tripod (7lbs)
Our main focus is to take photos , we have rented a 4x4 jeep type car to travel around a bit.
My biggest concern is with the film as well as having to check the Gitzo tripod, id be sad if some luggage handler broke it.
Enjoy your trip!

Emmanuel, thanks for all the good tips on spots to see.

22-Oct-2018, 12:32
Polarizer. And horse meat isn't bad.

Kent in SD

Robert Tilden
25-Oct-2018, 12:42
Thanks Emmanuel!

All great suggestions and information. I'm well prepared (or resigned), both mentally and clothing-wise for the weather. Some protection for the cameras too. Had hoped to see some aurora, but seems to be slim chance of that, both from Icelandic weather and space weather- not a lot of solar activity at the moment.

And Two23- Horsemeat (and whale and of course that Icelandic favorite fermented shark) are on some menus, but I'll stick to sheep/lamb and fish.

Peter Lewin
25-Oct-2018, 13:32
Was just at the RockyNook publisher’s booth at the Photopro Expo, and saw a book that made me think of this thread: “Photographing Iceland, An Insiders guide to the most iconic locations,” by Martin Schulz. It includes tips and best times of day, might be worth looking into.

Robert Tilden
26-Oct-2018, 15:32

Thanks! A great book. I bought it, and it's inspired me to pack my Boggs (high rubber boots)... Apparently a lot of the shots require standing in or near water, salt or fresh.

Peter De Smidt
26-Oct-2018, 15:59