Photography in Iceland
I consider myself a well researched photography enthusiast (no I am not a professional photographer). The goal of this page is to provide you with some simple advice that will be helpful as you explore Iceland. This section is meant for photography beyond your phone. If you're not into photography, then your phone will do wonders! Just make sure to buy a waterproof case on Amazon and you should be good to go. Click here for the one I bought.
Here are all the links to the items:
Waterproof phone case
Sony a6000 with extras
Sony 50mm F1.8
Rokinon 12mm F2.0 (manual lens)
High performance memory card
Waterproof camera case
3 set filter kit
ND filter 10 - stop
Having the opportunity to photograph in Iceland was an incredible experience. It was a fun way to see the country and to leverage the opportunity to challenge myself to become a better photographer. I spent a lot of time researching different techniques and practicing prior to my trip. I made a couple mistakes along the way, but they were definitely great learning opportunities. I have a dozen or so picture that I would consider 'album worthy' from the trip.
I spent a lot of time focusing on HDR photography and long exposure photography with an 10-stop ND filter. The ND filter was critical to capturing water movement and it screws on over the UV filter I have on the lens at all times.
The Rokinon 12 mm lens was my second best friend on the trip (second to my sister of course). The lens is an incredible value for the money and it was fun to use a manual lens. The Rokinon 12mm is easy to set to infinity for tack sharp photos, but has it's challenges when trying to photograph people on the move.
The tours really didn't provide as much time at each location as I would have liked, so I had to setup up very quick, compose the shot, and just start snapping away. I would us the ND filter and also take off the ND filter to take a series for HDR.
I changed lenses to my 50mm only a couple of times, but I would not recommend relying on being able to switch lenses since the weather might not be in your favor. Because of the change in weather, I would always have a large plastic bag with me that I would put over my camera by the waterfalls and when it would rain. I would get everything ready to go before taking off the bag that just rested over the camera to snap the shot.
Having a reliable travel tripod was one of my other top purchases, since most of the shots I was trying to capture relied on being able to have longer exposures. By the end of the trip I was a master at setting up quickly and would most of the time run back to the bus as I was collapsing the tripod.
I focused on HDR photography when there was an opportunity to really capture the highlights and shadows of the amazing sunrises and sunsets. During the day when we were at a location, I would focus on photography with the 10-stop ND filter on the camera. For the most part this strategy worked out really well.
I was very well prepared for shooting the northern lights which unfortunately never happened while we were on the ground in Iceland. We had three tours that were cancelled three nights in a row because of weather. We even went out on our own one night just to try and that was a failure as well.
I did, however, have the amazing opportunity to try and capture the northern lights on the plane to Iceland! They made the announcement about half way through our flight that they were visible and when the mad-dash to see them died down I made my way to the front of the plane and stuck my camera against the small window at the door of the plane and snapped away. I had to change the settings to adapt to the fact we were traveling in a plane at the time, but I was still able to get some great photos!