Northern Lights: Guild Iceland 11 day tour

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This Icelandic expedition has been designed to provide Guild of Photographers members with an unforgettable experience. The aim is to have a memorable and rewarding photography trip in one of the most stunning and dramatic landscapes in the world, with lots of opportunity to develop our skills and artistry and interact with like minded photographers.

Text of Northern Lights: Guild Iceland 11 day tour

  • Guild of Photographers 11 Day Northern Lights Tour 2016 February 29th - March 9th 2016

    Price for Guild members: 4,270 if 10 join tour - this will drop to 3,730 if 12 people join (see below).

    (Sterling equivalent 13 June 2015: 3,087 and 2,698)

    Deposit 425

    Single room supplement: 600

    The aim is to have a memorable and rewarding photography trip in one of the most stunning and dramatic landscapes in the world; with lots of opportunity to develop our skills and our artistry and interact with like minded photographers.

    This Icelandic expedition has been arranged for Guild members to be available at prices well below typical prices for similar trips to the Land of Ice and Fire. It will be an unforgettable experience in an amazing landscape that is in the Top 10 for many photographers. We want you to be inspired and to boost your creativity, alongside developing and improving your image-making and post-processing skills. Guild events are always special, and this will be no exception, if a bit more cold and wet than usual. (Well, a LOT more cold and wet!) The tour will be led by Panel Member Lesley Chalmers, with a local guide expert in photography locations. Well be exploring, looking for light, talking photography, bouncing off and learning from each other while having fun and capturing some great images on the way.

    Jokulsarlon Neil Alexander

  • The trip will run over 10 nights and 11 days. March offers possible sightings of the Northern Lights, a specialist subject of Siggi, our local guide. Well experience highlights of Iceland in a variety of weather conditions, giving us the opportunity to photograph extreme landscapes in ever-changing light and colour. Despite the winter, Iceland is not always covered in snow, and due to the low sun and varied weather conditions, the island has exceptionally beautiful light and contrast, giving us great variety in our photographs.

    MEALS: All included, from dinner on day 1 to breakfast on the final day. Packed lunches will give us flexibility and maximise our photographic opportunities, returning for hot food in the evenings.

    ACCOMMODATION: Well stay in comfortable hotels and guest houses, 3/3+ stars or thereabouts, with good service and good hearty food, sharing double or twin rooms. Some are also farms. Single occupancy can be arranged subject to availability and for a supplement.

    TRANSPORTATION AND GUIDING: Professional English-speaking driver/guide in appropriate vehicle for the terrain and weather. Coaches are spacious, so that everyone has a window seat and room for their personal belongings and camera equipment.

    PHOTOGRAPHY: Guild of Photography Panel Member Lesley Chalmers will lead the tour and assist with photography and post-processing guidance.Two other experienced Guild photographers will also be on hand to help - both of whom have experience of photography in sub-zero conditions, one in Iceland itself.

    There will be evening presentations on different aspects of photography, along with the opportunity to download and discuss images. We also plan to have a go at night-time light-painting, if aurora-hunting allows. Given that the weather is unpredictable, if we do get days/part-days where were restricted by the weather from photographing outside, well use the time to look at our images and talk photography.

    FACEBOOK: A Group has been set up for those interested in joining the tour: http://on.fb.me/1GaDUj8 Come along there to share thoughts and information and ask questions.

    OUTLINE ITINERARY

    Our tour has to be flexible, and so must we. With weather and road conditions such a big factor there is no guarantee well cover all the places listed on the itinerary. On the other hand, we may find some unscheduled and unexpected pleasures, too, perhaps Icelandic horses. If we can visit an ice cave, we will - that too depends on the weather - and they are by their nature temporary, though they occur near the Jkulsrln glacial lagoon. Some places take longer to photograph than others, and wonderful or awful light will be an important influence. As our Icelandic hosts point out, the clue is in the name: ICEland.

    Monday 29th February: Overnight in Reykjavik - most flights from Europe arrive in the afternoon. Daylight is an issue in March, so the tour starts the following day. Well meet for dinner to introduce ourselves and talk though the itinerary.

    Tuesday 1st March and Wednesday 2nd March: in the middle of south Iceland, mainly Snfellsnes peninsula.

    Thursday 3rd March and Friday 4th March: near the middle of south Iceland.

  • Saturday 5th, Sunday 6th and Monday 7th March: we head further east for three days exploration, including the Skaftafell National Park, the glacial lagoon at Jokulsarlon and the sea cliffs at Vestrahorn.

    Tuesday 8th March: heading west again, allowing us a further look at the mid-south.

    Wednesday 9th March: back in Reykjavik for the final night and dinner, before departure on Thursday 10th March.

    POTENTIAL HIGHLIGHTS (just a selection - all weather and logistics permitting)

    Icelands largest and most famous waterfall, Gullfoss The Golden Falls - actually two separate waterfalls, the upper one with a drop of 11 metres and the lower 21 metres.

    The Berserkjahraun - a 3/4,000 year old lava field with scenery that ranges from nubby moss-covered rocks to jutting spikes of hardened lava.

    Geysir Hot Spring Area, with boiling mud pits, exploding geysers and the lively Strokkur which spouts water 30 meters (100 ft) into the air every few minutes. The newly opened Geysir Center offers exhibits and informative presentations year round. The area became active more than 1000 years ago and comprises more than a dozen hot water blow holes. Although Geysir is less active these days, it did lend its name to hot springs all over the world.

    Mount Snfellsjkull, which attracts New Age groups from all over the world, being said to be a great power center for radiating positive energy.

    Arnastapi, between lava fields and the Arctic, surrounded by sea cliffs with nesting birds; gulls, fulmars, terns and eider ducks, and the fishing port of lafsvk - the westernmost settlement of its size in Europe.

    Thingvellir National Park. Thingvellir is the most important cultural heritage site in Iceland. The Althing (General Assembly) was established here in 930 and continued meeting for more than 850 years. The ruins can still be seen today. Place names such as Drowning Pool and Gallows Rock shed light on some of the grimmer aspects of the proceedings.

    Seljalandsfoss waterfall, where it is possible to take the path that leads you behind the falls.

    Skgafoss waterfall, with a fall thats 25m wide with a 60m fall. (Fabulous proportions!) At least 20 more waterfalls cascade down the mountain slopes above the Skogafoss and it is easy to walk along the river to see them.

    Vk, with its superb coastline of dramatic clifftops and prehistoric sea stacks. The iconic Icelandic church is on the hill above the village.

    Reynisfjara beach where the Reynisdrangar basalt columns rise out of the Atlantic Ocean.,

    Cape Dyrhlaey, the southernmost point of Iceland, with many birds, including puffins.

    Mt Lmagnpur (767 m) features the highest cliff face in Iceland with a vertical rise of more than 600 m.

    Skaftafell, which is home to the valley Morsrdalur, the mountain Kristnartindar and the glacier Skaftafellsjkull (a spur of the Vatnajkull ice cap). The landscape is very similar to some of the Alps, but it has been formed in thousands of years by different influences of fire (volcanic), water (glaciers), and rivers.

    Svinafellsjokull glacier, a frozen landscape of white ice broken by blue crevasses, which was the stand-in for an alien world in the film "Interstellar".

  • Foss Siu, a head-turning waterfall that normally tumbles down from the cliffs. During especially strong sea winds, however, it actually goes straight up! Opposite the falls is the outcrop Dverghamrar (Dwarf Rocks), which contains classic basalt columns and is thought to be the dwelling place of some of Icelands hidden people.

    The remarkable landscape of the Jkulsrln glacial lagoon, where the icebergs calved from the Vatnajokull Glacier float before being swept out to sea and being broken up and thrown back onto the black sands, often described as diamond-like ice sculptures.

    NOT INCLUDED

    Cost of flights to Iceland Keflavik airport

    Transportation to and from airport - see below.

    Travel and equipment insurance.

    Drinks including alcoholic beverages.

    Optional ice cave visit (weather permitting, 140/150).

    AIRPORT TRANSFERS

    The bus link for the airport transfers is: www.flybus.is - its very easy to book on-line. This coach service is operated in connection with all arriving flights and departing flights, and is by far the most reasonably priced and most reliable. The Flybus+ service takes people to the hotels and offers a pick-up service, via a bus terminal where clients change from a large coach to a smaller one.

    Brunnhorn & Vesturhorn Neil Alexander

  • Please note, the airport is about 45 minutes drive from the city. Arriving passengers should allow 4560 minutes for passport control, luggage claim etc, and for a 45-50 minute drive to the city. Upon departure, all passengers need to be at the airport 2 hours before departure, so that means leaving the city 3 hours before departure.

    FITNESS

    This wont be an arduous tour involving long treks or tough climbs, but we will be outside in the natural landscape, often by water, sometimes on clifftops. We are likely to experience cold, wet weather, with strong winds and sometimes limited visibility. Common sen