Iceland for Photographers: 10 Hidden Locations

Northern Lights in Iceland

Iceland is arguably one of the most photographed countries in the world and rightly so. With its picturesque landscapes, untamed nature and everything from ice to fire it is no surprise that photographers worldwide flock to Iceland. 

Whether you are a landscape photographer, wildlife photographer, wedding photographer or a hobby photographer, these are some of Iceland’s best hidden locations for avid photographers. 

 

10 x hidden locations for photographers:

 

The West

1. Rauðfeldsgjá Gorge

Tucked away on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula in western Iceland, this narrow canyon will have you in awe of its dramatic rock formations and even a hidden waterfall. This makes for a unique backdrop for editorial photoshoots or even a few one-of-a-kind wedding shots. In the summer, the canyon is quite easily accessible, but bear in mind that you need to be well-equipped and willing to get wet if you plan on getting closer to the waterfall. Rauðfeldsgjá Canyon is not accessible in the winter when the ground is icy.

2. Brynjudalur valley

In the Hvalfjörður fjord, you will find Brynjudalur valley. This paradise offers many opportunities for photographers. It has everything your landscape-photography heart desires, including various waterfalls, wide mountain scenery, rivers, and greenery. Take in the stunning landscape and create away.

 

Icy river in Iceland with a bridge crossing.
Photo: Signe. Barnafoss waterfall in the wintertime.

 

3. Hraunfossar and Barnafoss waterfalls 

In West Iceland, nestled in the Borgarfjörður region, you will find these bright blue waterfalls cascading through lava fields, creating a very unique and photogenic landscape. These waterfalls are very close together, and the drive from Reykjavík city takes approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes and is on route of the Silver Circle tour. The hike up to the waterfalls is very easy and only takes a few minutes from the parking space.

4. Hornstrandir nature reserve

For photographers, a trip to Hornstrandir Nature Reserve in the West is definitely worth it. The total area covers 580 square kilometres (220 square miles) of tundra, cliffs, flowering fields, and ice and is especially interesting for wildlife photographers seeing this is the home to Iceland’s only native mammal: the arctic fox. With more than 260 different species of flora, the hike through the wilderness can be challenging but absolutely worth it when capturing a cheeky portrait of a little fox or while letting the greatness of the fjords inspire your creativity.

 

Borgarfjörður eystri – photo by Golli

The North

5. Hvítserkur rock formation

In North Iceland, on the Vatnsnes Peninsula, the Hvítserkur rock formation rises from the sea, looking like a dragon. This distinctive basalt sea stack offers a surreal background for landscape photography.

 

The East

6. Hengifoss Waterfall

Hengifoss waterfall is the third-highest waterfall in Iceland. It is located in the East of Iceland and takes about two hours to hike up to it. Therefore, this location requires some commitment and good preparation. The waterfall is framed by vibrant red and black basalt layers, making for a stunning backdrop whether the waterfall is your main subject or you are photographing models.

7. Borgarfjörður Eystri fjord

This remote fjord in the East of Iceland provides endless possibilities for photography. It is known for its stunning landscapes, including rugged mountains, colourful cliffs, picturesque fishing villages, and a beautiful beach. This would be the perfect place for an elopement photographer to take their wedding couple or for some versatile landscape photography.

 

Hornstrandir – photo by Golli

 

The South

8. Þjófafoss waterfall

This waterfall is one of three major waterfalls on Þjórsá river, the longest river in Iceland. This milky waterfall is located in the South of Iceland, east of Merkurhraun lava field. The wide, bright blue waterfall with a giant mountain in the background makes for a stunning subject for every type of photography.

9. Brúarfoss waterfall

This hidden gem is perfect for photographers seeking lesser-known landscapes in Iceland. With its turquoise waters and picturesque surroundings, every type of photographer will be in awe of both the colours and the landscape. Brúarfoss waterfall is located near the Golden Circle route, making it easily accessible from Reykjavík city.

10. Nauthúsagil ravine

This stunning ravine is located on the South coast of Iceland and is definitely a hidden gem for photographers. This mystical ravine can be found behind Stóra-Mörk farm, and within it, you will find an amazing hidden waterfall. The hike through the ravine to get to the waterfall is not too advanced, but it is advisable to have good shoes on and expect to get a little wet along the way. When you’ve reached the waterfall – it will all be worth it.

 

These 10 hidden locations offer photographers the chance to capture the raw beauty and unique landscapes of Iceland away from the crowds, providing unforgettable experiences and stunning images.

 

In Full View

Hörður Kristleifsson @h0rdur

Hörður Kristleifsson is a 25-year-old photographer who’s been practising his craft since 2010, when he got his first camera. But things really took off in 2018, when he got his got his first drone. “Since then,” Hörður tells me, “it’s been a passion that’s kept on growing. You just get such a unique perspective with […]

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RÚV Apologises for Misconduct of Photographer in Grindavík

Grindavík earthquakes crevasse

Yesterday, a Grindavík resident shared footage of a RÚV photographer trying to enter her evacuated home, sparking disapproval on social media. RÚV and the involved photographer subsequently issued apologies, acknowledging that the actions violated the news organisation’s ethical standards.

Not in line with ethical standards

Yesterday afternoon, a Grindavík resident shared footage from her Ring camera of a RÚV photographer attempting to enter her home, which had been evacuated owing to ongoing geological unrest in the area: “A journalist walked up to my house earlier today, took pictures, tried to open doors, and then looked for a key!” Incensed by the incident, the woman requested that journalists leave the homes of Grindavík residents “alone.”

RÚV subsequently expressed its regret over the incident and offered an apology to the residents of the house and to the people of Grindavík. Heiðar Örn Sigurfinnsson, News Director of RÚV, emphasised that the behaviour was not in line with RÚV’s code of ethics:

“Our journalists have strived to report on the events in Grindavík with respect for the residents and their properties. The practices seen in the video do not reflect the editorial guidelines or the ethos of the newsroom. We have traced the incident back to a misunderstanding and haste at the scene, but will subsequently review our procedures and guidelines, emphasising to all field reporters the importance of respecting the privacy and properties of Grindavík residents, and not causing them any more discomfort or distress than they are already experiencing.”

Photographer apologises

Following RÚV’s press release, the photographer in question, Ragnar Visage, apologised for his behaviour on social media:

“Dear friends, as I am probably the most unpopular person of the day, I sincerely apologise for my behaviour in Grindavík today. I was in a complete rush, and I was the only one left in town (apart from the first responders), and I was asked to capture indoor footage. In a moment of utter thoughtlessness, and amidst all the chaos, it seemed most straightforward to try to enter the nearest house. Idiotic, I know! I have received considerable reprimands from rescue workers, understandably, and have sincerely apologised to them. This behaviour is in no way in line with the principles of RÚV or the spirit in which the newsroom operates.”

Iceland Review Photographer Wins Press Photo and Photo Series of the Year

Vatnajökull Grímsfjall Grímsvötn Bárðarbunga Kverkfjöll Jöklar Jökull Vísindi

Iceland Review photographer and publisher Kjartan Þorbjörnsson, known as Golli, has won the 2019 Press Photo of the Year and Photo Series of the Year. Golli’s winning photograph, seen above, was taken during an annual research trip on Vatnajökull glacier. The jury described the photograph as an “impactful and symbolic picture of human-driven climate change,” adding “The picture shows how small man is in comparison to nature and [shows] the ever-changing glacier from an interesting angle.”

Golli also won in the category of Best Photo Series for a group of photos from the same glacier trip, which the jury described as “a well-structured series that combines beautiful photos and a holistic narrative that concerns us all.”

Photo: Golli.

The Icelandic Press Photos of the Year have been awarded annually since 1979 by the Union of Icelandic Journalists. Golli’s six winning photos were chosen from 826 submissions from Icelandic photojournalists.

The winning photo was featured on the cover of Iceland Review’s fourth issue of 2019. An excerpt of the accompanying article is available online.

Photo: Berglind Jóhannsdóttir.

The winning photographs will be on display at Reykjavík’s Museum of Photography until May 30, 2020. See more of Golli’s photographs on Iceland Review’s Instagram account and Golli’s own.

After the Avalanche

Westfjords avalanche

In January 1995, an avalanche hit the small town of Súðavík in the Westfjords. The town was decimated, and out of the 227 inhabitants, 14 people died. Some were rescued, including a teenage boy who spent 23 hours buried under the snow.

In October that same year, another avalanche hit Flateyri, a town of 350 people about a half an hour’s drive away. This time, 20 people were lost. The two avalanches were not only a blow to those affected, but to the nation as a whole. In the decades since, energy and funds have been spent building up anti-avalanche earthworks to prevent such disasters from happening again.

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