Frequently asked questions

Northern Lights

Aurora Borealis

What are our chances of seeing Northern Lights?

The Northern lights or Aurora Borealis are a spectacular solar light show that can be seen very well from Iceland. Auroras can be photographed from late August – early April. Auroras cannot be seen in the Icelandic Summer! The Northern lights love Iceland, but clouds also love Iceland. If you are planning a trip to see the Northern Lights, your chances of seeing auroras is partly luck, partly being in the right place and mostly the duration of your stay.

Aurora Probability guide

This is based on being on a multi-day photo tour to Jökulsarlon (not Reykjavik – if you are staying there – halve the probability).



If we don't see Northern lights the day we booked, is it possible to come back the next day? If yes, is it free?

Our Northern Lights photo tours (the expensive ones) are run by experienced photographers. They will only run them if they are over 70% sure. They will tell you the chances and you will have the option to take the tour or not. The best option is to choose flexible dates, this really increases your chances of being offered a tour with good conditions. It is possible that they are unsuccessful and sometimes clear skies and good forecasts can result in nothing. Some of our guides may offer a second tour to see the aurora if you are this unlucky. But we don’t have a policy on this. It is nice if they offer this, but it is not to be expected.

Most of the other cheaper northern lights tours we offer, do run a second tour if you don’t see it, but our photo guides prefer to run them only in very good conditions.

Nobody can guarantee auroras, but our guides want the same as you.

If we book a day tour and we want to see the Northern Lights, could we get a discount?

Discounts are 10% on our Evening Aurora photo tours, if you book a private photo tour.

There are two ways to activate this offer;

1)simply book your photo tour first. On the booking form is a question about Northern lights tours. Just mention dates when you will be available for an Aurora tour. You will be waived the Aurora photo tour deposit = equivalent of a 10% discount.

2) Private tour customers receive a 10% discount code with their ticket. This can be used for any of our advertised Northern lights and Whale watching tours.


For payment do you take credit cards or cash?

Deposits

A deposit is normally required to request a Northern Lights photo tour. We take deposits via online credit card payment when you book your tour.

Remaining payment

The remaining payment can be made to Iceland Aurora via credit card, or directly to the guide.
Most guides accept credit card payment or cash in USD or ISK. Payment method should be discussed with your guide before the tour if you wish to pay them directly.

Winter tours

Is December a good time to come to Iceland for photography regarding light and other conditions?

December is great for photography. The daylight hours are short but high quality light means that you should be shooting constantly for 5 hours per day (weather permitting). The nights are great for northern lights.

What clothing should we bring?
  •     Good hat which covers ears
  •     Gloves – maybe gortex – mittens are best, but you need to operate a camera
  •     Hiking boots with waterproofing
  •     Wool socks – thick!
  •     Long-johns
  •     Trousers – not cotton
  •     Waterproof trousers
  •     T shirt
  •     Long sleeve shirt
  •     Fleece or Wool sweater
  •     Waterproof jacket
  •     Cold weather jacket – Parker

iceland winter dress

Clothing: dress in layers, temperatures can vary from -15c to 9c

Other websites have tours for Jökulsárlón but they don't run in the winter. Will that be a problem?

A tour could be cancelled due to bad weather or bad forecasts, but this is an all year service for photographers, we don’t stop for the winter.

Is it easy to get around or is all ice and snow?

There could be a lot of Ice and snow. Usually the ring road is kept open and the south coast part is a bit milder than the northern part.

There is frequent bad weather in the Winter which causes dangerous driving conditions. If you are an experienced Winter driver, the conditions can very difficult. If you are not experienced it is possible to get into a Hellish situation and considerable danger.

Road conditions can be checked on the Icelandic Roads website


Summer tours

What clothing should we bring?

Summer weather can be lovely, but it can also get cold.

  •     Good hat which covers ears
  •     Gloves – comfortable
  •     Hiking boots with waterproofing
  •     Thick socks!
  •     Waterproof trousers
  •     T shirt
  •     Long sleeve shirt
  •     Fleece or Wool sweater
  •     Waterproof jacket

Clothing: dress in layers, temperatures can vary from -1c to 25c

What can we shoot in the mid summer?

Mid summer has a unique opportunity to shoot through the night with the midnight sun. It doesn’t get dark and the sky is incredible for up to 6 hours. things that work well are Northern coastlines, Westfjords, Northern waterfalls. there are also opportunities to shoot wildlife such as arctic fox and bird life such as Puffins.

The summer also allows travel to the interior, to magical hot-spring locations such as Hveravellir, Landmannalaugar and Kerlingafjall

And so much more…

General

Are photo tours suitable for hobby photographers, or just professionals?

Our photo tours are designed for anyone who enjoys taking photographs, although anyone is welcome. You could be a beginner or an experienced photographer. Our pro photo guide can instruct, guide or just chat photography. If you are a beginner, I recommend checking out this article.

Besides a tripod, is there anything else that we would require? Can it be hired?

Renting camera gear is difficult, if not impossible in Iceland. A weekly camera rental is about the same price as buying a used camera back home. My recommendation is to rent your camera equipment in your home country and bring it to Iceland. For serious landscape work, you will need a tripod. Sometimes guides can lend you a tripod, please ask.

  • Camera
  • at least a DSLR is recommended if you want to get the best out of your trip.

  • Lenses
  • Wide and fast is good for general landscape and Northern Lights, i.e. 16-35mm f/2.8
    Telephoto can be very useful at some locations.

  • Filters
  • Neutral Density Filter (Like mine: B + W 77mm #106 1.8 (64X) Neutral Density Glass Filter with Single Coating)could be useful for beach scenes, waterfalls and Magic Cloth photography

  • Extras
  • Spare batteries and a car battery charger
    shutter release for your camera if you are going to shoot at night.
    Small and large flashlight (torch)

    You will also need layers of warm clothing, see FAQ about clothing.


    Can we learn the magic cloth technique?

    My Winter workshops cover the Magic Cloth technique along with many other aspect of photography. On regular photo tours our guides will be very happy to show you the Magic cloth technique, but you will need a strong Neutral Density filter (ND)for daytime work.
    This is the one I use; B+W 77mm 1.8 ND MRC 106M Filter

    Be sure to get the right size for your lens!

    My advice is to buy a filter for your largest lens and use Sensei 72-77mm Step-Up Ring so you can use the same filter on all your lenses.

    If I request a shared photo tour & there are no other passengers, do I have to pay full price?

    Shared tour request

    If you request a shared tour that doesn’t reach the required passengers, you may be offered the tour at the Private price. There is no obligation to offer or accept a private tour.

    Multi day tours

    If you request a Multi-day tour, we only make hotel and guide arrangements when we have enough people to confirm. After confirmation, you could be liable for cancellation fees if YOU cancel.

    Private tours

    If you book a “Private” photo tour with “share” option, you will be responsible for the full price if nobody joins, or cancellation costs (see terms and conditions).


    What is the difference between a photo tour and workshop?

    Tours and workshops can be very similar because your will be taken to great places with expert photo guidance on both. All levels of photographer are welcome on both. The difference is that on a workshop, the emphasis is on learning. Learning from each other, learning from the guide and learning from the landscape. Photo tours can also be like this, but can also be more of a Photo Holiday, than Photo Work.


    What is the size limit for luggage that we can bring on the tour?

    As much as you can bring on the plane… we expect people with Large suitcase, full metal camera bags, tripod and extras Tell your guide if you are concerned and he can advise.

    My friend isn't really that interested in photography, will this be a problem?

    Your friend might become a little bored at times if we are deep in photographic discussions or practice, but it shouldn’t be an issue if they are interested in the nature. The tours offer so much more than just photography. They can include local knowledge, geology and Icelandic history. The challenge for a non-photographer is to not become interested in photography or geology on one of our photo tours.

    Our tours welcome all travelers.


    Do we need a visa to visit Iceland?

    Iceland is part of the Schengen agreement, which means that there is free movement between European countries within the agreement. Europeans don’t need a visa. US, Australian and Canadian citizens can visit for up to 90 days with a valid passport and without a visa. Travelers from other areas probably will need a visa.


    Can we stop at all the sights on route to Jökulsárlón?

    The 1 day Jökulsárlón tour is the least flexible tour, but we do stop at some places on the way. We will let you know if time becomes an issue. We can see the big waterfalls, volcanoes and the beach at Vík, as well as the glaciers at Skaftafell.

    Note: Currently Hörður is the only guide offering the one day trip to Jökulsarlon. Hörður is not a photographer, he will simply drive you there and back. We do offer popular multi-day day photo tours to Jökulsarlon Jökulsarlon trip with plenty of time for quality stops.


    Which international airlines connect Iceland and which one is the cheapest?

    Many airlines now connect to Iceland.

    Icelandic

    WOW is the cheapest. You have to connect in North American or European cities.
    Icelandair is the oldest and higher end. They famously do an Iceland stop-over for Trans-Atlantic flights.

    British

    Easy jet connects to several major UK airports. They are by far the cheapest.

    Are the prices listed for the tours per person or per group?

    For single and multi-day photo tours, the prices are for the tour, not per person. For our shared photo tours, the same price divided between passengers, but confirmation depends on a required number of passengers. The advertised price is usually for up to 4 passengers.

    Northern lights & Sightseeing tours usually list prices per person.

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