7. Ice caves
Ice caves are something that are very special to see in Iceland. If you ever get the chance to go and visit one, just do it! You will never regret it.
While guiding a trip to Iceland earlier this year, I had the great opportunity to visit an ice cave not too far from Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon. Due to ever-changing glaciers you never know what you’re going to get, but if you go with experienced guides they will show the best spots. We went with From Coast to Mountains, and our guide Einar was fantastic at showing and telling us about the glaciers and the caves he’s discovered over the years.
The caves can be dark, hard to walk in and very wet, so keep this in mind when visiting one. Due to the caves being quite dark I would highly recommend you take a tripod to keep your shots nice and sharp.
8. Aurora Borealis
The Aurora Borealis isn’t technically a location but I wanted to add it anyway as it’s something spectacular to witness in Iceland.
The great thing about it is that you can be anywhere to photograph it; all you need is a clear night and a strong aurora forecast. Any of the locations listed in this article are more than suitable for photographing the northern lights, and can make for great elements to add to your images, rather than having just sky in your shot. The ice lagoons and glaciers are great for this as the green of the aurora reflects on the ice to add more colour to your image.
I recommend shooting in Manual mode and also manually focusing your lens. I have my shutter speed at around 25-30 seconds for night-sky images in general, but for the northern lights I tend to have it around 12-15 as this will capture more detail of the aurora, due to it moving so fast against the sky.
Located on the south coast, not too far from the Golden Circle ring road, Seljalandsfoss is another of Iceland’s popular waterfalls.
With a similar height to Skógafoss you can photograph this waterfall at many different angles, but one thing people love to do is go behind it, as there's a path that leads you around.
A word of warning: depending on the wind direction and how much water is coming down, it can get very wet. I recommend walking around with either your gear still in your backpack until you get to a dry spot or, alternatively, wrapping your camera in a bag or anything else that stops the water from hitting it. I’ve heard quite a few photographers learnt this the hard way!
When flying to Iceland, it’s likely you’ll land at Keflavik International Airport near Reykjavik and most likely be staying there before you venture on your way. I highly advise you take some time to explore the city; it’s really beautiful and there are many photographic opportunities. These include the Hallgrímskirkja Church and Solfar Viking ship sculpture, as well as surrounding harbours, beautiful architecture and, if you enjoy street photography, the people.
11. Icelandic horses (various locations)
Again, not technically a location, but you can find Icelandic horses roaming the fields wherever you go – and they're really worth seeing. The horses can be quite approachable but this varies depending on where you go, so make sure you’re not trespassing on somebody’s field before you start climbing gates and fences.
Gullfoss is another of the main waterfalls to see along the Golden Circle road. The area consists of a series of waterfalls which fall into a deep crevice and, on a sunny day, there’ll be good chances of seeing a rainbow form over the waterfall.
If you are sightseeing on the Golden Circle tour, one great natural wonder you must see is the highly active Geysir hot-spring area, with its boiling mud pits, exploding geysers and the lively Strokkur, which spouts water 30m into the air every five to fifteen minutes.
Unfortunately, the Great Geysir is less active these days but watching Strokkur erupt is just as enjoyable. The area is a great place to photograph the geothermal activity, as the colours and textures are just fascinating.
Iceland is known as the land of fire and ice for very good reasons. You could spend years discovering everything it has to offer and still have plenty more to see. For me, nothing compares to Iceland and it’s definitely somewhere I recommend to any photographer that’s looking for an adventure.
What I’ve covered in this article is just a small slither of what Iceland can offer to photographers. The western fjords and cold north are full of natural wonders too, with places like Snæfellsnes and the Goðafoss waterfall in the north. If you’re planning a trip to Iceland, don’t use this article as a guide but as an inspiration. The places I’ve listed are just a few of my personal favourites but you don’t have to go far to be amazed by Iceland’s beauty.