Phew. I’ve said it before but Iceland is a Phew kind of place. Our recent winter landscape tour to the island had a few Phews along the way. Relief Phews (the weather was generally benign), surprise Phews (there had been a lot of snow in the south), desperate Phews (where the hell have all the beached icebergs gone?) and Phews of admiration for what is a landscape beyond comparison.
Conscious of driving distances in potentially hazardous weather, we’ve always tried to avoid cramming in too much of Iceland in any one visit. For this tour we chose the west and the south, hardly bosom neighbours but easily driveable in a day. That’s not to say this tour was leisurely – it was after all an “intensive” and we worked hard getting out at dawn and being out at sunset. If the night was clear, we’d also be out looking for aurora. In between we drove, ate and slept. Several guests murmured a Phew here and there but they heroically carried on regardless.
If you’ve never been to Iceland, you simply must. It’s not easy by any means but once you get under its skin, there are images around pretty much any corner. I would however, sound a note of caution: Iceland has undergone a meteoric rise in popularity and key locations that were ‘must sees’ just a few years ago, are now deluged by bus loads of tourists. Everyone has an equal right to Iceland of course (except those that leave pizza boxes in car parks) but as a landscape photographer, lots of people means lots of spoiled images. The trick today, for both the independent traveller and tour operators such as us, is to seek out the unexplored corners of this magnificent island, to find isolation and to revel in it. It’s not always possible but if you don’t plan carefully, expect a fair amount of company along the way.
I hope you like this brief selection of images made possible by the custom and company of our ten intrepid guests – thank you to all.
With getting off the beaten track in mind, we’re planning another winter visit in February ’18 so drop us a line if you’re interested. Iceland can be cold; it can be windy and it can be frustrating. But it’s also a landscape photographer’s dream with a healthy dose of Phew coming as standard. If you can’t wait for winter 2018, check out these two tours with equal Phew content: