Iceland Winter Workshop 2016 – Join The Adventure

February 18, 2016 ·

Kevin Raber

Updated March 9, 2016

Daniel Bergmann at the wheel of our Icelandic All Purpose Vehicle
Daniel Bergmann at the wheel of our Icelandic All Purpose Vehicle

I am now in Iceland at the start of a 14 day photography trip part of which is our Southern Iceland In Winter Workshop.  You can take a look at the details of this workshop on the our Rockhopper Wworkshops site.  We have 14 attendees plus Chris Lund, Daniel Bergmann and myself as instructors.

I love Iceland and try to visit Iceland at least twice a year.  We also are doing a summer Iceland workshop in June which is also sold out.  When we first started coming to Iceland there were very few tourists and photographers.  Now it seems there are always multiple workshops going on as well a ton of tourists and bus tours.  We do our workshops differently and we will be heading away from the tourist crowds and venturing where mosts tourists don’t go.

I will be sharing as much as I can of this workshop online right here in the Rant.  I’ll try to update it each day based on having a good internet connection. And, I’ll put the newest images and text at the top thus pushing down the older content.  So check back during the next 13 days and watch our adventure unfold.  We will be doing only one workshop in 2017 in Iceland and that will be in March.  More on that workshop will be available once I return from this one.

The Rest Of The Trip (first few days are show at the bottom of this rant)

All good intention of keeping this Rant up to date fell apart once we hit the hotels in the remote areas we were staying.  Bandwidth at these locations barely supported email and web browsing but in no way had the upload speed needed to post images to the site.  So, I apologize for the lack in updates.

As mentioned below the first few days of the trip were a bit rough weather wise but the balance of the trip went great.  we moved to several different locations as shown on the ma[s included in the images below.

I have been using Daniel Bergmann as my guide in Iceland since 2005.  We are not only good friends but both have a passion for Iceland.  Daniel is an Icelander and he seems to know everyone.  He also knows the best places to visit and how the weather behaves.  When we were in bad weather he would say we could drive an hour and then be in good weather.  So, somehow he always managed to put us in the right spots for great images.  We have another Iceland trip (sold out) this June and we will have two more next year.  One winter workshop in March and One extended trip in July.  we will post information about these soon.

Here are the maps of our travels

Our route while on the peninsula
Our route while on the peninsula

Some Images From The Penisula

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Our route to southern Iceland
Our route to Glacier Lagoon are where we spent several days
Our route to Glacier Lagoon are where we spent several days
More locations covered in a day near the Glacier Lagoon including Ice Caves
More locations covered in a day near the Glacier Lagoon
including Ice Caves
One day visiting numerous locations
Our next to the last day visiting numerous locations

Some Images From The Second Half Of Our Trip



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Last Day still lots to shoot
Last Day still lots to shoot

The images above are only a small portion of what was captured during the trip.  Our trips are always fun and we make sure you get a lot of good images.  In Iceland as well as other locations we do our best to stay away from the main tourist areas.  Yes, sometimes we do encounter tourists at certain spots but we try to arrive before the main body of them or after they leave.  Iceland is getting to be a very popular location and tourism is up over 30% on the average year over year for the last few years.  It used to be that you could travel Iceland and not worry about finding a hotel room.  No more, if you are traveling to Iceland plan your trip and make your reservations way in advance.

Better yet come on one of our Luminous-Landscape winter and/or summer trips.  Next years dates are for our winter workshop  March 20-30th, 2017 and our summer tour which will be an extensive round the island tour will be late July.  Both workshops will be on our site soon.

Saturday – February 20, 2016


Small Church down the road from our hotel in Hellnar. Shot in nearly white out conditions with a wind that was trying its best to blow you over.
Small Church down the road from our hotel in Hellnar. Shot in nearly white out conditions with a wind that was trying its best to blow you over.

The best thing about visiting Iceland is that you never know what it will throw at you.  Visiting Iceland in the winter is one of my favorite times but it comes with the risk of some tricky weather.  Well, today Iceland did not disappoint and it threw a full fledge super windy snowy day at us.  That didn’t stop us though and we went photographing even though at times it was a challenge to just stand.  It also made our long exposure images difficult.  It took numerous exposures to assure I got sharp images.

You never know where you'll find the shot. This is an abstract of the tires on our van.
You never know where you’ll find the shot. This is an abstract of the tires on our van.

We have a great group of 14 attendees with some terrific talent.  It’s always a fun experience getting to meet new people that quickly become friends.  Photography is so much fun and sharing a passion with others that have the same interest is simply the best.

Our route on Saturday, February 20, 2016

We started our day and left Reykjavik at 8AM and made a stop about 2 hours later at Hraunfossar.  This is an area of waterfalls that extend for quite some distance.  The water comes out of a lava field and cascades down the side of the hillside into a river.  It was very windy and shooting was difficult especially for long exposureswith these conditions, but I did manage to get a few shots.

Hraunfossar falls
Hraunfossar falls

From Hraunfossar we had a slow drive due to very high winds and snow to Hellnar where we will spend a few days photographing some great locations. Driving snow and wind didn’t stop us though and we did go out shooting.  Our group was anxious to shoot even if it was in a full blown blizzard and we ended up with nice images.

HraunfossarFalls - Close up details
HraunfossarFalls – Close up details

We have a big and long day planned for tomorrow starting with a sunrise shoot (hopefully) and a day full of photography at numerous locations.  we are hoping the weather cooperates for an evening shoot tomorrow for the Northern Lights.

Frozen Hraunfossar Falls
Frozen Hraunfossar Falls







I’ll post updates here as often as I can.

Thursday – February 18, 2016

Hallgrímskirkja at dawn
Hallgrímskirkja at dawn

It’s a tedious journey to get to Iceland from Indianapolis.  I flew on a small commuter jet to Dulles (Washington, DC) airport.  Sat around for a few hours then caught an Iceland Air flight to Iceland’s main airport in Keflavík.  I flew on United to DC and then Iceland Air to Iceland.  Somewhere along the way one of my two bags was lost.  How can that be with a 3.5 hour layover?  Seems to be a United Airlines thing.  They charge me a fortune for 2 bags then loose them. Nonetheless I hope to have my bag tomorrow.  I managed to get what I need for a day then took a 2 hour nap after getting into my room. Funny how a trip can wear you out.

Hallgrímskirkja Interior 1
Hallgrímskirkja Interior 1

I was itching to get out and shoot so I did a short walk about and found I was only a few blocks from the iconic Hallgrímskirkja Lutheran church.  I am sure you have seen photos of this church many times.  When a locations gets visited as much as this one does as well as Iceland as a whole I tend force myself to really try and see locations different.

Hallgrímskirkja Interior 2
Hallgrímskirkja Interior 2

Today I tried odd angles and did images with my iPhone as well as the Sony’s I brought.  On the iPhone I am doing a project called Being Square – Seeing Double.  I use the Hipstamatic app and a special lens and filter combination that offers a random different look.  As you can see in these  images they are somewhat abstract.  I tend to try different tilts of the camera and also bounce back and forth between the color option and BW option.  As you can see the images are different.

Hallgrímskirkja Organ
Hallgrímskirkja Organ

I hope that over the next 2 weeks that I can continually challenge myself to have different images than ones like I have taken in the past.  I am excited to get the workshop group rolling and get out there into the landscape.

Hallgrímskirkja Exterior
Hallgrímskirkja Exterior

If you are curious I am shooting primarily with a Sony a7rII, A7II and Rx1rII.  I have a wide range of lenses with em as well a Lee ND Filters for long exposures when needed.  I have a Really Right Stuff tripod and uniqball head.  Multiple wired and unwired shutter releases which will be needed for shooting the Northern Lights.  This all is carried in a Dakine camera backpack.  I’ll show my kit in detail over the coming days.

Hallgrímskirkja At Dawn
Hallgrímskirkja At Dawn

Hope you enjoy the start of this trip and watch for more to come each day.

Kevin Raber
February 2016

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Photography is my passion and has been for 45 plus years. My career in photography has allowed me to travel the world, meet some of the most interesting people on the planet and see things I could never have dreamed of. My goal is to share the passion of pictures taking through photographs and teaching with as many people as I can hoping it brings them as much joy and happiness as it has me. I do this through Rockhopper Workshops and other projects as well as teaching at my Gallery in Indianapolis.

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