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5 Tips to Capture Iceland's Dramatic Photo Ops

Iceland is a hot destination this fall with Nine Muses Travel - especially for families with children! The outdoor adventures, wildlife encounters from ponies to puffins, spectacular scenery, and the modern cool of Reykjavik make this a dream vacation for everyone. Once you're there, you're going to be taking a LOT of pictures - no matter what time of year you travel to Iceland. If you go in the colder months (and it's not even that cold honestly) to catch the Northern Lights, then you can take advantage of Iceland's moody winter weather to shoot some incredible photos with these pro tips.

Excerpt below from 12/3/19 Virtuoso article by Eva Seelye found HERE.

Iceland – with its accessible volcanic countryside, blue glaciers, black sand beaches, and monumental waterfalls – held a spot on my Wanderlist for years. Don’t let the winter elements deter you from exploring this photographer’s paradise. Though good weather is often seen as the key to a successful shot, Iceland’s colder, darker, moodier months provide some of its best (and most dramatic) photo opportunities. With a little patience, the right camera settings, and your new Icelandic wool sweater, you’ll create an impressive slideshow-worthy gallery no family member could turn down.

Here are five essential tips to keep in your backpack the next time conditions are “less than perfect.” Iceland's overcast days are great for evenly-lit landscape shots.

1) Bring on the clouds. Overcast skies eliminate harsh shadows and blown-out white spots while opening up the playing field for long exposure shots – a trick that’s nearly impossible to achieve in harsh light.

Tech Support: Bring your f-stop down to f/11 and set your shutter speed below 1/20 for a buttery stream or waterfall shot.

2) Discover nature’s bounce card. Snow clouds create soft light and snow cover reflects that light onto your subject, illuminating shadows (and causing sunburns if you’re not careful). It’s the ideal portrait setup, so hop out of your car, prop open your tripod, and set your self-timer because you’re about to get your most-liked Facebook profile photo to date.

3) Think small. Iceland is full of larger-than-life scenery, but don’t let that overpower the little details. I’m not saying to forego the iconic Diamond Beach photograph – capture it, but then dive deeper: Shoot the white snowflakes against the beach’s black sand, focus in on melting bergs, frame patterns in the waves. A detail shot can add variety to your album and let your style shine.

4) Golden hour is every hour – use it to your advantage. Iceland’s winter sun levitates just above the horizon, giving off a photographer’s sought-after warm golden hour glow that goes well beyond the timeframe its name denotes. An all-day golden “hour” means no early mornings or extended waits to catch perfect light, and hundreds of #nofilter photos for the taking. Bonus: Shoot astrophotography past sunset for a chance to capture the northern lights. Unfortunately, they eluded me during my short 72-hour stopover, but if there’s a time to see them at their best, it’s winter.

Tech Support: Astrophotography requires a tripod, a low f-stop (between f/2.8 and f/5.6 is ideal), an ISO of at least 800, and a slow shutter speed (at a minimum of 15 seconds).

5) Elevate your photos with the power of perspective. Iceland’s dramatic scenery is grandiose in person, but without a point of reference, some photos might lose the “wow” factor they deserve. Add a person, horse, fence, or a house to your foreground to give your photos some scale.

Tech Support: If your zoom lens has a focal length of 60mm or longer, stand back and home in on your subject to blow up your background for a more eye-catching shot.



Nine Muses Travel offers a premium experience with flights, guides, drivers, rental vehicles, and the best accommodations to maximize your time, with expert advice on how to get the most out of any destination. We INCLUDE amenities for you at the world's finest hotels, the BEST OF THE BEST!

  • Complimentary room upgrades at check-in, subject to availability

  • Complimentary daily breakfast

  • Early check-in / late check-out, subject to availability

  • Complimentary Wi-Fi

  • And more!

Nine Muses Travel works with exceptional suppliers who can add unparalleled value:

  • RISK-FREE bookings you can change penalty-free shortly before travel

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  • Arrangements for PCR testing internationally before your return to the U.S.

  • Expert guides: artists, historians, naturalists, unique locals with insider tips & insights

  • Flexibility with your touring - See and do as much, or as little, as you prefer!

  • Custom-designed routings

  • Exclusive experiences

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Contact Nine Muses Travel when you're ready to keep it cool in Iceland and to learn more about me and what I can do for you!

I design journeys to inspire artists, arts lovers, and intellectually curious travelers seeking authentic arts, culture, history, and cuisine for life-changing, joyful discoveries with special insider access and VIP amenities, all over the world. Let's start planning your next adventure!

Danielle Dybiec | Founder & President


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