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Wild Iceland

Trip reviews | Posted on July 19, 2017
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It has been such a long time since I have put up a blog as I have just not had the time between trips to look at any processing. This has meant I have a year’s worth of a back log of images to sort through, a daunting task. Anyway I thought I would go back to trips last year that needed doing and show the images on the blog, but I decided to look through my latest images from a recent trip to Iceland and so here are a few that have chosen. I have been to Iceland many times now and it is a destination that always produces great opportunities. For the wildlife photographer it is dream if you get the right conditions as there are so many subjects and so abundant too.

Iceland is a wild and rugged place which has become very popular with Landscape photographers. Wildlife photographers have been a little slow on discovering this gem, so even in this day and age the location doesn’t feel like it has been overdone. One of the reasons I think is it’s quite a hard place to work and you do need some good old fashioned knowledge to get the best out of the location. Having been a number of times now I have the comfort of knowing that if I go back to places I have found things in the past, then I stand a good chance of finding them again.

I had the benefit of Paul Hobson co-leading this trip with me. I have known Paul for many years now and his knowledge of birds is second to none and so was a real asset for this trip. To get the best out of Iceland it’s not just a case of driving round looking for things, it is so important to have that experience to get the best out of the place. At Natures Images we have run a number of tours to Iceland now and each one has produced some nice surprises.

What we tend to do on our Iceland tour is drive around the main loop road and stop at various locations along our route. One of our first stops is to look for one of my favourite birds, the Red-throated Diver. On the last couple of trips to photograph this beautiful bird it has coincided with some pretty grey weather. Now the Red-throat really needs a bit of light to make that wonderful red eye and throat stand out. This year the first couple of days were pretty uninspiring, but on our last night the clouds parted and we got the chance to work in the glorious evening light that Iceland is famous for.

Next stop for us was along the coast at Vik, this is a famous landscape spot but it is also a great spot for photographing a bird that we are familiar with during the winter months in the UK. The Redwing breeds in good numbers in Iceland as it takes advantage of the 24 hour daylight and abundant insect prey during the summer. The male Redwings were still defending their territories and were singing from their favourite prominent perches.

One of my favourite places to visit in Iceland is Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon. I consider this location to be one of the best places in Europe for photography, not only for birds but landscapes too. It is very popular with landscape photographers but strangely not many bird photographers. This famous lagoon is a popular tourist destination now and can seem very busy during the day. We visit during the early mornings and late evenings and we tend to have the place to ourselves.

I really like how you can incorporate the environment of the lagoon for your final images. Whether you shoot portraits and have the wonderful backgrounds the ice can produce or shooting smaller in the frame and really have the ice as your main point of interest.

Our last stop is Lake Myvatn in the northeast, it is a long drive but we spend a good five days at this lake because it has so much to offer. It is one of the top spots in Europe for bird photography and there is an impressive list of birds to be found here. In the past we have had a lot of success here. It is a huge lake with lots of smaller ponds surrounding it. These ponds are great for photographing species like Slavonian Grebe, Long Tailed Duck and Scaup. What I really like about Myvatn is the surrounding tundra which supports a great number of wading birds.

Golden Plover and Dunlin breed in big numbers and these moors come alive with the calls of these wading birds.

One of my favourite waders of these northern moors is the Whimbrel. This bird is not as common as the other waders but Myvatn is excellent for this elusive bird.

Snipe are still common around Myvatn and their impressive display flight or drumming echoes around the moors. The evocative call of the Black-tailed Godwit is a fantastic sound. Male Ptarmigan can be heard calling from prominent perches. The whole place is just a joy to spend time here.

So there you go just a small selection of my images from this wonderful country. We are not doing a trip to Iceland next year but are thinking about it for 2019. If you fancy some hard fought images from such a wild and rugged country, with a mouth-watering selection of species, then please get in touch and we can put your name down on a list. I love the place and I am already looking forward to going back.



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