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Archive 2017 · RFI Iceland
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · RFI Iceland

I am contemplating finally pulling the trigger on a photo trip to Iceland. It would make sense to me to go on a guided trip. I would appreciate feedback from others about their experiences with photo guides, who would you recommend? Any feedback is appreciated

Jan 12, 2017 at 06:03 AM
Hideo Gump

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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · RFI Iceland

I've twice been to Iceland with Iceland Photo Tours
and would highly recommend them.
I'm happy to supply more info if you wish.

Jan 13, 2017 at 05:01 PM

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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · RFI Iceland

I went to Iceland in 2015 for two weeks with a couple friends. Unless you are going to visit the interior, it's not worth the money for a guide. Iceland is very easy to navigate and information on what to see is readily available. Most tours take you to all the commonly visited sites anyway. You can save thousands of dollars doing our own trip at your own pace. If you have money to burn (I don't), then by all means take the tour, but it's really not worth the extra money to do so IMO. If you are going during the middle of winter, it may be worth it to have someone drive you in the snow and alert you to the northern lights. I'd consider a photo tour in the winter for that reason, but any other season, you can do it yourself very easily. We rented a camper van and slept pretty much where ever we wanted.

Jan 13, 2017 at 11:42 PM
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · RFI Iceland

^^^ I agree 100%. Save the money from a photo tour and spend it on renting a 4x4, and take the time to explore the F-roads in the Highlands.

Jan 14, 2017 at 03:44 PM

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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · RFI Iceland

I think I'm covering things that others have already mentioned but Iceland is very easy to get around. You don't really get lost as there's only 1 major road around the coast that pretty much everything comes off. A bit of research ahead of time and you'll be fine. The highlands may be a different story, especially in winter when they are mostly inaccessible. Maybe get a super jeep tour for a day to see something you couldn't on your own?

I'd make sure you can get internet on your phone so you can track the northern lights and weather in general and then you're pretty much set.

If you don't want to drive yourself then a tour may be worth it but personally I like the freedom of just getting a 4x4 and heading off. I went 3 times last year and am going back next month. When are you planning on going? Any questions feel free to drop me a message, I'm planning on leading a workshop there but it is aimed at also helping learn about landscape photography as apposed to just a guided tour. I'm not convinced about the value of a lot of the 'tour' packages.

Jan 14, 2017 at 05:22 PM
Monika C
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · RFI Iceland

When I've looked into 4x4 rentals in Iceland, they're so expensive that for me, going solo, a tour is the way to go. On my own, it takes several trips to one place (even locally) to figure out just where & when I want to be there. On a tour, you're saved that & it's that much more efficient. I figure it cuts my time in at least half if not by a fact or of 3 or more. Also, I'm not burned out from driving. I'll be going with Daniel Bergmann for my 4th tour with him. This will be a Highlands camping tour -- to do a similar thing on your own, you would have to bring or rent there tent, stove, sleeping gear and get groceries. Going with an Icelander, they know the weather patterns for each season as well as being able to go to lesser known places (at least Daniel does -- maybe other guides who aren't photographers won't know those places). Among the things I like about Daniel is that he's a very good steward for the land, was a Search & Rescue guy (seems like we're always pulling stranded people out of snowbanks or helping otherwise disabled vehicles, or he's talking to people who are driving rental vehicles not OK on the F roads or driving completely off road & tearing up the fragile environment) Daniel books up at least a year in advance, though. In the last couple of years he has teamed up with other photographers for tours which has, unfortunately, resulted in bigger groups & higher prices. I would suggest that you look at various guides' websites/galleries & see if you like their photographic style.

Jan 14, 2017 at 06:36 PM
Scott Stoness
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · RFI Iceland

Whether to hire a guide or not depends on how much money you have in the budget and how long are you going to be there.

I went March last year and found:
1) Roads in Iceland are primitive. No pull out lanes. Long ways between gas. What would be a short drive in Canada or USA is a long drive in Iceland (e.g. 300km).
2) The popular sites are not well controlled such that pesky people are always getting in your way. The weather was challenging in Mar for being overcast and blowing and raining. Expect that to do a good job at the popular sites you will have to go in the night (avoiding the pesky tourists crawling everywhere) and 3 or 4 times (to avoid rain and overcast).

My advice on a guide is - if you have lots and lots of time you don't need one but otherwise get one if it fits in your budget. Eg 1 day to scout a spot and 3 more to get it right x 4 or 5 sites. But if you have enough budget, having a photography guide would knock off a lot of scouting and returning and going to a spot for aurora that has unexpected lights.

Other -
don't stay long in Rajkavik - it takes too long to get out of the city to good sites.
Develop a plan that follows a general direction. Because the roads are slow, you are best to plan several days at each target site and then move on in a general direction.
Hotels are relatively inexpensive and they were easy to book on line when I was there
Food was very expensive and not great
Gasoline is very expensive. I rented a vw diesel golf because that was what was available and it was great on gas. But painful to get in and out of.
Rural areas are surprisingly not well controlled. Everyone has a yard light with hurts night photography. You need to plan you trips to shoot north to a islolated area for NL.

By the time I finished I went back to Calgary (Banff area) thankful that I lived in Banff area. Iceland is too close to Europe and attracks too many people. And the sites are too uncontrolled. I would go back but not for a short 7 day visit. And I would head north faster and further.

Jan 15, 2017 at 10:03 PM
Jeff Rogers

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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · RFI Iceland

My wife and I rented a Chinese car that was AWD or 4WD and it was very reasonable but a two wheel drive would have been fine. We never regretted doing our own trip and it was great. The rental car had a GPS included with it. Had a great time and got some great images.

Jan 18, 2017 at 04:03 AM

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