Iceland and Greenland Photography Tour
Words and Images by Louise Wright
Prior to starting at CameraPro, I have worked as a Photography Workshop Assistant for Chris and Jess at Chris Bray Photography for the past 3 years. In that time I’ve loved helping people get more out of their camera, and move beyond shooting in Auto mode.
Chris and Jess have been running photography tours worldwide for the past six years, and I was beyond excited when they invited me to join them on their first ever photography tour in Iceland and Greenland for two weeks in July this year.
In this blog I’ll cover some highlights of the trip, but keep an eye out for a couple more blogs from me with more details about the trip and the gear I used, coming soon!
If you’d like to checkout the detailed trip itinerary, you can do so online here.
Here are my Top Ten Trip Highlights -
We were fortunate enough to do a two hour long, doors off helicopter flight over southern Iceland… It was absolutely amazing and something I will never forget. I shot with the Canon 7D Mark II and Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM Lens for the helicopter flight and it was an excellent combo.
This valley was stunning. A series of waterfalls surrounded by moss covered rocks, caves and lush grassy areas. I did a long exposure here using a Hoya variable ND filter, Canon 5D Mark II and Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM Lens (and a tripod of course!).
Spending a day in and around Landmannalaugar National Park was a definite trip highlight – the landscape was so diverse, with patches of snow left from winter, and streams of ice water weaving through the lush grass.
Lupins, the tall purple flowers seen here, were introduced to Iceland originally in 1945 to combat soil erosion. The pretty flowers are now an iconic part of the Icelandic landscape, and I loved this field that we discovered by the roadside.
A lot of tourism in Iceland is based around the sturdy, reliable and beautiful Icelandic horse. We arrived at Maelifell and shortly after a horse riding touring group emerged on the horizon. Most touring groups travel with extra horses as the horses are rotated periodically for each rider. The scene in the above picture was a definite favourite for me – the spare horses travelling at the end of the ridden horse group just looked stunning against the backdrop of Maelifell.
Towards the end of our time in Iceland, we spent an amazing evening at Ingólfshöfði Nature Reserve, photographing Atlantic puffins, Great Skuas and Arctic Terns. The conditions were challenging for photography – horizontal rain, extreme wind and bitter cold. This did mean however, that the puffins were out by the hundreds, nesting and fishing off the cliffs in the nature reserve – which made for some fantastic images!
I shot with my trusty Canon 5D Mark II, and the Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM Lens. I did worry that my gear would be water damaged as we were all soaking wet by the end of the night, but the weather sealing on my gear held up and everything was fine after a towelling off the gear back in our hotel room. The Canon 100-400mm II lens was the perfect lens for this shoot and allowed me to get a great range of puffin shots.
The day we arrived in Greenland, we spent the evening on a boat tour in the harbour outside Ilulissat. We set out at 9pm, returning to our hotel rooms around 2am! As it was summer in Greenland, it was daylight all evening long, which made for some fantastic shots of the icebergs. This image is another favourite – the timing of the humpback whale’s tail slipping back into the ocean was perfect, and is a scene I’ll never forget.
Another favourite image from our midnight boat cruise in Greenland – the sun never really set, but dipped near the horizon around 1am, which created some gorgeous golden light on the icebergs, really showing the texture of the ice.
Another highlight from Greenland – we were fortunate enough to be taken in a small plane for a scenic tour of Ilulissat and the areas surrounding. Seeing Ilulissat from the air, with the Jakobshavn Glacier in the background was amazing.
While in Greenland we visited the small settlement of Ilimanaq, in West Greenland. To reach Ilimanaq we travelled from Ilulissat via boat, across Disko Bay. The community there was very small and close knit, with around 80 people living there. I was excited to find a Greenlandic sled dog with her pups as we explored the area… absolutely gorgeous.
Another trip highlight – seeing wild Arctic Foxes in the area surrounding the Eqi Eco Lodge, beside the Eqip Sermia glacier. We spent a couple of nights at the Eqi Eco Lodge, and I was so excited to see some Arctic Foxes. This is where the Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM Lens was the perfect choice again – the extra reach made for some excellent foxy photos!
I absolutely loved Iceland and Greenland, and can’t wait to go back! I’ll be returning again next year as a photography tour host – to read more about the upcoming trip, checkout the Chris Bray Photography website and tours info.
That’s all from me for now, but keep an eye out for more blogs about my Iceland and Greenland trip coming soon!