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ICELAND REFLECTIONS


As I write, last weeks clients are currently jetting their way back to the UK. Later on this afternoon another three arrive and we will essentially retrace last weeks route. It's great to be having a bit of down time and the camera is staying in its bag today. Mind you that could be something to do storm that has been raging for the past 24 hours! Its mild but my goodness it's windy!


I was asked the question by Cara ( one of last weeks clients ) if it ever got a little bit monotonous coming to Iceland and running workshops. It was a great question and in all honesty one which I have never really given much thought too. In the years to come, I am looking to take clients to different parts of the world. In 2023, the Lofoten Islands in Norway gets added to the itinerary, the Italian Dolomites will go live in 2024 and after that, well who knows. What I do know, is that I will return to Iceland each year.


When I started my photography business a few years ago, I could never of dreamt that I would be taking clients on photography workshops around the North York Moors yet alone to Iceland and beyond. You see all I wanted to do was, take some wedding photos to help me get additional income to purchase new equipment. If I got the odd commission along the way then that was an added bonus. 5 years later, I only photograph weddings for friends and family, I am fully booked on my week long workshops until November 2023, the weekend workshops that I run across the North York Moors and Northumberland have proved immensely popular and I even have a waiting list for some workshops. Whilst there has been an awful lot of hard work involved, especially as I will never compromise my commitment to my day job, I am incredibly grateful for the opportunities that have come my way.




So, back to Cara's question. The honest answer is, no it doesn't. That's the beauty of landscape photography. No two days are ever the same, depending of the seasons the same composition will look totally different and as we all know, the light has a dramatic effect. It really doesn't matter where you take your landscape photos, the same principles apply. I have written in the past, how when you keep going back to same location, you develop a unique understanding, you notice the changes, how the light works and when it will be best to visit. The more I visit Iceland the more understanding I have of this amazing place. It wouldn't be exaggerating if I said that I could live here for 10 years, photograph every day and I still wouldn't have exhausted the compositional possibilities. That is the beauty of running the workshops, I get to take clients to these amazing locations, share my knowledge and hopefully help them to take great compositions that will evoke great memories in years to come.


At this time of year, we start off in Garður, there are a few good reasons for this. Firstly it is only 8 miles from the airport, so if I have clients arriving or leaving on different flights its easy to pick them up or drop them off. Secondly the Lighthouse Inn is superb and well worth staying at if you are visiting Iceland. Their website is


https://www.lighthouseinn.is


Also there is the Rostin Restaurant, which is in my opinion THE BEST restaurant in all of Iceland. The prices are very reasonable, the food is amazing, the service is brilliant and if you are lucky you can watch the Aurora from the balcony. Make sure you ask to see the Northern Lights film that the owner, Johann, made. Its a brilliant watch and the drone footage of the aurora is simply stunning,


https://www.gardskagi.com/?utm_source=restaurantguru&utm_medium=referral


From Garður, we spend a couple of days getting along the coast to Höfn, which gives great access to Vestrahorn, Eystrahorn and many more stunning locations. One of the lakes will be forever known as "Cara Lake" from now on as its where she got her best view of the Northern Lights.



Having spent a couple of nights in Höfn we follow route 1 back along the coast before finishing back in Garður for the final night. At this time of year, its not really advisable to head into the Highlands of Iceland unless you are a very accomplished driver in the snow and a 4*4 is a must. Staying close the sea as we do, doesn't come with any guarantees of good weather and no snow but it means that we are never that far away from civilisation. There is also full 4G mobile phone cover along Route 1 incase of an emergency.


However, going back to my earlier point, if you have knowledge of the area that you are visiting, you can get away from everyone and be in total isolation.

The Vatnajokull Glacier, is one such place and was my personal highlight of the week. I think that I am safe in saying that whilst we visited and photographed some amazing things, it was also the highlight for the group. I had never been to this exact spot before but by following a little gravel track we soon found ourselves in the middle of nowhere. One thing that I have learnt about Iceland, is that if there is a marked trail, then follow it, its there for a reason. By doing so after 3km's we found ourselves at the very foot of the glacier. We past one local, who had been walking on the actual glacier itself. Not something that we would be doing. She was the only person that we saw all day. It was just the magical, being totally alone with nature and great such a wonderful unique experience that will live long in the memory. That in essence answers Cara's question as to why visiting and running workshops in Iceland, never becomes monotonous. Who knows what the week ahead will bring. One thing I do know, is that whilst we may be staying in exactly the same hotels, the conditions, light and adventure that we will have will be totally unique.


Just one quick update on Covid. If you are travelling up to Iceland soon, you still need a negative PCR test that must be taken 72 hours prior to travel unless you have tested positive and recovered from covid within the last 14 - 180 days before travelling. You do need your recovery letter, along with your covid passport and you still need to complete the Iceland Visitor Form. When in Iceland, it is now compulsory again to wear a face mask when in a public space. It wasn't when I arrived on the 5th November but that changed on the 6th and is still in place for the foreseeable future. On returning back to the UK it gets bit confusing. As it stands, you do not need a lateral flow test to board the plane. Trying to find that information is like looking for a needle in a haystack, so it is best to speak to your airline. On arrival in the UK you will still need to have completed the passenger locator form ( available on the .gov.uk website ) and have booked a 2 day test which by its very name needs to be completed within 2 days of getting back into the UK. This info is correct to best of my knowledge on the 14th November 2021.





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