Travel And Photography In Iceland | Is It For You?

The powerful Skógafoss Waterfall depicted within the larger lush green landscape of southern Iceland.

Iceland is a travel hotspot at the moment. But why is it so special, particularly for photographers?

It’s a very reasonable question that’s easy to answer. Here’s what I discovered while traveling around this most extraordinary island country.

Iceland Is A Luminous Landscape

The quality of the light in Iceland is hard to define. It’s soft and gentle and, at the edges of the day, it can be spectacular. When you marry this quite sublime light with the fantastic landscape opportunities offered to the traveller it’s a dream come true for the intrepid landscape photographer.

The red roof of a perfectly positioned dwelling, on the edge of a fjord, glows in the sunshine in rural Iceland.

Iceland Is A Landscape Of Dramatic Extremes

Waterfalls and geysers; volcanic soil, mud pools and hot springs; dramatic sea stacks; icebergs on the beach and massive glaciers - Iceland has it all.

Colorful wildflowers growing alongside volcanic rock at Thingvellir in southern Iceland.

A Pristine and Sublimely Beautiful Environment

The purity of the Icelandic landscape is immediately evident. Icelandic folks are proud and protective of their natural world and a walk through the landscape is a very special experience.

Viking settlement began here around 874AD and modern day Icelanders maintain a close affinity with the natural world. 80% of the countries power needs are generated by hydroelectric power.

An Atlantic puffin rests high up on the Látrabjarg Cliffs in Iceland.

See Unique Wildlife, Up Close and Personal

Birdlife is prolific in Iceland. My favorite is the Atlantic Puffin. Puffins are super cute and very colorful, but there are lots of other members of the avian family located at various sites around the country. Pink-footed geese, storm petrels, arctic tern and great skuas are some of the more interesting species located in the south of the island.

After two trips to Iceland my favorite location for photographing birds is the Látrabjarg Cliffs in the remote north west of the country. 

A black and white photo depicting the rugged beauty of the Highlands in central Iceland.

Changeable Weather Presents Opportunities For Great Photos

Both my visits to Iceland have been during the summer months when the temperatures are usually pretty mild. Maximums of around 16C and minimums down to around 7C can be expected. The average day can include a mix of conditions including sunshine, rain and wind. And that’s a good thing because the most incredible light, for really dramatic landscape photography, often occurs on the edge of weather (just before and/or just after rain). Needless to say rainbows and clouds are plentiful, and I’ve never seen such incredible cumulus cloudscapes.

Iceland Is An Experience You Won't Easily Forget

There’s no doubt about it, you’ll feel alive everyday you’re in Iceland. Fresh air; clean water; vibrant colors; amazing and varied landscapes; and sublime light. That's what you can expect to find if you make the trip to this spectacular island nation. That and a connection with nature that will be unique and personal, bringing with it memories of Iceland that will linger long in the memory.

Glenn Guy, Travel Photography Guru