ICELAND WORKSHOPS REPORT
I started exploring and photographing Iceland in 2017, and I loved the island’s amazing landscapes so much that in a little over three years I returned multiple times, always in winter, for a total of nearly a dozen visits between explorations, personal work and Workshops. With its powerful, majestic and iconic landscapes Iceland is one of every landscape photographer’s dream destinations, and rightfully so. We started running Workshops in Iceland in 2017, going back for one or more Workshops every year since.
DESIGNING THE WORKSHOP | Designing our Iceland Photography Workshop, I wanted to bring you to discover the unique beauty of the country’s winter landscapes, when snow and ice create a truly incredible contrast with the black rocks and sands, adding texture and three-dimensionality as well as colour contrast to those already superb landscapes. In Iceland, as I always do, I chose all our Workshop locations both for their spectacular and inspiring beauty and for the artistic and technical photographic challenges they provide. I believe that helping you to face and solve together as many photographic problems as possible during our time with us will, in turn, help you to develop your vision both during and, most importantly, after the Workshop, when you are back to working without a tutor.
THE LOCATIONS | Out of all our 30+ available locations, during our six Workshops in Iceland we photographed, among others and in no particular order: 3 different spots at Skogafoss, two different spots at Seljalandsfoss, two different spots at Godafoss, three different spots at Gullfoss, three different spots at Kirkjufellsfoss, Kirkjufell, Gatklettur, Londrangar, Budir, Hvitserkur, Mivatn, various lightouses, Valahnukamol, the lava fields, Geysir, Dyrholaey, Reynisdrangar, Reynisfjara, various churches, Lomagnapur, Jokulsarlon, the Diamond Beach, various Ice Caves, Vestrahorn, Eystrahorn and more less known, but not less beautiful locations.
Every time we go to Iceland for our Workshops there, we always add some extra days to our schedule to keep exploring it, so that we can always add new spectacular locations to our list. Having as many extra locations as possible gives me maximum flexibility in my choice of locations for any given Workshop day, plus it allows Alumni wanting to come back for a second tour with us to know that they’ll be able to see different locations as well, besides taking another shot at the locations they loved on their first trip.
IN THE FIELD | During our Iceland Workshops, our trademark limited attendance of maximum three people allowed me to dedicate every participant plenty of personal time in the field. Before each session, as I do during all my Workshops, I briefed the group with the location’s challenges, offering my advice on how to best solve them. I then followed participants during their work, quietly offering my suggestions to each of them, both respecting their individual approach to landscape photography and without imposing my views.
Besides answering any questions they might have had, when I thought it might have helped I shared my ideas and my own approach to the locations with them, sometimes showing them images on my camera’s LCD screen. When the occasion arose, during the six Workshops I led in Iceland we enjoyed revisiting some of the locations as well, something I always find very useful.
IMAGE REVIEW & POST-PROCESSING | In Iceland, thanks to our limited attendance, we had the opportunity to do in-depth image review sessions at leisure. These sessions allowed participants to go home with ideas about which images were stronger than others, and with post-processing pointers helping them to make the most out of their photographs. As well, thanks to our image review sessions, our participants had the opportunity to try out in the field the new ideas gathered during these sessions, either in new locations or revisiting old ones, applying novel solutions to whatever problems they might have faced the first time there. Due to the distances we need to cover, on this Workshop we often did more hotel changes and more traveling than on other Workshops, unfortunately resulting in less time for in-depth post-processing sessions.
NO CROWDS | As customary for all our Workshops, during six Iceland Workshops we never had to work in locations crowded by other photographers, despite the popularity of this destination. Thanks to my knowledge of Iceland, I carefully selected dates, locations and vantage points to make sure that even in the most popular spots we either were alone, or we had enough room and distance from other photographers to make working easy and pleasant. Not having to deal with crowds definitely made a great experience even better!
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AFTER THE WORKSHOP | Our Workshops never end on the last day! As we always do, once every Iceland Workshop ended, we kept working on post-processing and image selection with those participants interested in that, either on our private Facebook groups or via the email.
Let’s see now how our Iceland Workshops went, starting from the most recent one and going back to 2017!
ICELAND FEBRUARY 2020 WORKSHOP REPORT
In late February 2020 we returned to Iceland for our sixth Workshop there, this time a 9-day Workshop One-on-One.
Doing a Workshop One-on-One allowed me to fully customize the Workshop on my Alumnus’ level and requirements, in this case focussing on developing more experience photographing seascapes and working around the ocean. I truly enjoyed working with him during these 9 days on the island, sharing with him my knowledge and experience.
After nine days of intense work together I noticed vast improvements, both in finding strong, powerful compositions and putting to the service elements that most people wouldn’t even look at, and about his confidence working around the ocean. During this Workshop we revisited Vestrahorn (returning at sunrise, at sunset and once at night-time as well to photograph the Northern Lights), Dyrholaey and Kirkjufellsfoss.
Last but not least, the social aspect and the human side of the Workshop, always very important for us. Our participant in this Workshop One-on-One in Iceland was a man with many interests, and in particular he turned out to be a fellow musician (a semi-professional classical music singer). During our social times we enjoyed our conversations on the most varied topics, from photography to equipment and technology, from music to art, from politics to history, for a very rewarding social side of the Workshop!
THE PARTICIPANT’S IMAGES AND COMMENTS | The participant in our Iceland February 2020 Workshop kindly sent me a few images to share here with you, together with his testimonials about our Workshop. Enjoy the work he did in Iceland and see what he had to say about our Workshop together!
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On location, Vieri was helpful in observing how I went about photographing and offering suggestions for improving efficiency and safety. I had not previously photographed in such extreme environments as we had in Iceland, and Vieri's suggestions for how to handle the conditions were spot on. He also gives suggestions for framing and image capture but is not overbearing in his style. He gently suggests improvements in the technical methods of image capture and his suggestions are well grounded in significant experience. While I was initially hesitant regarding some of his ideas, more often than not I found them to be sagacious.
In Iceland, there was a fair amount of driving necessary to journey between locations, so there was less time in front of the computer as might be the case in other workshops. Having said this, Vieri taught me some new techniques for my post processing and helped in image selection and critiques of composition. Still, what I have found perhaps most impressive is that Vieri’s commitment to teaching does not end at the end of the seminar. I have submitted a number of photographs from the trip that I processed to Vieri for his comments. He has responded promptly and with helpful suggestions for how to improve the photographs and gives, I think, honest appraisals of the merits (or lack thereof) of the pictures I have presented to him. In my experience, it is rare to find both an honest and capable critic of one’s work and one who also has the ability to suggest ways to improve.
In sum, I have found Vieri and Zeynep to be a class act, really nice folks, and to provide an experience that represents good value for one’s money if one really wishes to improve as a photographer!
ICELAND DECEMBER 2019 WORKSHOP REPORT
In December 2019, we stayed in Iceland for our fifth Workshop, this time a 5-day Workshop One-on-One with one of our November group Workshop’s participant who booked an extension to do more photography with us. His aim was to revisit some of the locations we tackled together during the group Workshop, looking forward to having more chances at photographing them under different light and weather conditions.
Doing a Workshop One-on-One allowed me to fully customize the Workshop on my Alumni’s level and requirements, and I truly enjoyed working together during these extra 5 days on the island. During our Workshop, we revisited locations such as Reynisfjara, Dyrholaey, the Diamond Beach and Vestrahorn, where we could photograph the Northern Lights as well, and we also managed to add some new locations such as Lomagnopur and Vik’s church. As well, sharing the same equipment (the Hasselblad X1D) allowed me to show him all my workflow tricks to make the most out of the camera.
During all our Workshops, safety always comes first, and the Icelandic weather conditions make such a commitment even more fundamental than elsewhere. During this trip, we have been caught by one of the worst storms in recent years, causing the Icelandic government to shut down most roads for two days. Thanks to our experience with Iceland and the local weather, we could nullify the storm’s impact on our travels and photography, while keeping our participant and ourselves perfectly safe. In particular, I decided to change our program and rebook our hotels to spend the worst days of the storm in Vik, knowing that the coast’s conformation there would have protected us from the western winds. This turned out to be a very good call, allowing us to photograph at leisure and in total safety while elsewhere on the southern coast some 100km/h winds were keeping everyone locked inside.
Last but not least, the social aspect and the human side of the Workshop, always very important for us. During these extra 5 days in Iceland we truly enjoyed our conversations on the most various topics, from the art and craft of photography to the business side of it, from technology to equipment, from history to politics, for a very pleasant social side of the Workshop!
ICELAND NOVEMBER 2019 WORKSHOP REPORT
In November 2019 we returned to Iceland for our fourth Workshop there, the second in 2019. For this 9-day Workshop we had a full group of three participants, one of whom was an Alumnus on his third trip with us.
During our Iceland November 2019 Workshop, it was great to continue developing the work previously done with my returning Alumnus, and I really enjoyed meeting our new participants and sharing my knowledge with them. As always, I have been very pleased to see one of my Alumni coming back for more, and previously knowing him helped me tailoring my tutoring on his specific level and approach to photography.
Working together with participants all equally enthusiastic about landscape photography and the beauty of Iceland was very rewarding for us, and after nine days of intense work I was extremely pleased in seeing how everyone improved their skills, according to their different starting levels. I was very happy to see a participant starting to use filters with us in Iceland and truly enjoying the creative possibilities that filters opened for him, and I was very pleased to see a returning Alumnus keeping developing on a journey that we started together over 3 years before.
Last but not least, the social aspect and the human side of the Workshop, always very important for us. In Iceland we had a great group with very interesting people, making for always interesting conversations on the most varied topics, from photography and art to social life, politics, technology and economics, and we thoroughly enjoyed both working with them as well as our social times!
THE PARTICIPANTS’ IMAGES AND COMMENTS | One of the participants in our Iceland November 2019 Workshop kindly sent me a few images to share here with you, together with his testimonials about our Workshop. Enjoy the work he did in Iceland and see what he had to say about our work together!
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First of all Vieri and Zeynep’s detailed research and knowledge means that they know the best locations and you are driven to a location with plenty of time to access the location and set up in the best position. The small size of the classes means you get pretty much undivided attention whenever you need it and Vieri’s detailed technical knowledge means any questions or issues can be quickly answered or resolved.
I am delighted with the shots I took but have no doubt that the only reason I got them was from your expert advice. Thank you Vieri and Zeynep!
ICELAND MARCH 2019 WORKSHOP REPORT
In early March 2019 we returned to Iceland for our third Workshop there, this time a 9-day Workshop. Unfortunately, one of the participants in this Workshop had to cancel at the last minute, turning this effectively into a Workshop One-on-One.
Doing a Workshop One-on-One allowed me to fully customize the Workshop on my Alumnus’ level and requirements, in particular starting to work together on landscape photography specific techniques and the use of filters. I always enjoy working with people less experienced in landscape photography, I find their enthusiasm to be truly rewarding. More, I love to see the look on their faces when they discover the possibilities opened to them by advanced landscape photography techniques, and how they develop a new way of looking at the landscape in front of them.
After nine intense days of Workshop I found the quality of our participant’s work to be much improved, as well as his workflow in the field and his awareness of the importance of equipment, particularly support and filters.
Last but not least, the social aspect and the human side of the Workshop, always very important for us. In Iceland we enjoyed both working in the field as well as our social times and conversation on photography and equipment, for a very pleasant Workshop!
THE PARTICIPANT’S IMAGES AND COMMENTS | The participant in our Iceland March 2019 Workshop kindly sent me a few images to share here with you, together with his testimonials about our Workshop. Enjoy the work he did in Iceland and see what he had to say about our Workshop together!
Click on the photos to enlarge them:
ICELAND 2018 WORKSHOP REPORT
In February 2018, we returned to Iceland for our second Workshop there, a 3-day Workshop One-on-One with a returning Alumnus, on his fourth trip with us overall and the second in Iceland.
Doing a Workshop One-on-One with a returning Alumnus allowed me to fully customize the Workshop on his level and requirements, choosing the best locations both for great photography and to continue along our educational path together. In particular, I enjoyed working with a participant both truly enthusiastic about the Icelandic landscapes and shooting with a Leica M10, a very unusual choice of gear for this kind of photography especially in such a harsh environment.
My love for Leica M cameras made me bring my own M10 on this trip again, after doing so in December with him as well, to better help him working with the camera and to show him my tips and tricks to put it to the best use in the field. Working together was once more fun and rewarding, in three days of intense work we covered different parts of Iceland than those we photographed during our December 2017 trip, and I was very pleased in seeing him progressing some more after our first Workshop here.
Last but not least, the social aspect and the human side of the Workshop, always very important for us. In Iceland, we had a great time with our participant both when working in the field and during our transfer times, our lunches and our dinners, enjoying our conversations about photography and Leica equipment for a very pleasant and rewarding Workshop!
ICELAND 2017 WORKSHOP REPORT
In December 2017, I had the pleasure to lead our first Workshop in Iceland, this time a 4-day Explorer Workshop One-on-One. Our participant was a returning Alumnus, and this was also our first Explorer Workshop One-on-One together.
Doing a Workshop One-on-One with a returning participant allowed me to fully customize the Workshop on my Alumnus’ level and requirements, choosing the best locations both for great photography and to continue the work started during our Leica Akademie Workshop in Cinque Terre and continued during a Workshop One-on-One in Tuscany a month before Iceland. More, I enjoyed working with a participant shooting with a Leica M10, a very unusual choice of gear for landscape photography and more so in such a harsh environment.
To be able to help him make the most out of his camera as well, I decided to bring my own M10 on this trip as well, and for your reading pleasure I wrote my FINE ART LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY WITH THE LEICA M10 REVIEW as a result of this trip. Working together was fun and rewarding, in these four days of intense work we covered a lot of ground and I was extremely pleased to see his progresses continue after our first two Workshops together.
Last but not least, the social aspect and the human side of the Workshop, always very important for me. During our Iceland 2017 Workshop we had a great time with our participant both in the field and during our social times, when we enjoyed interesting and fun conversations about photography, equipment and life in general for a truly pleasant Explorer Workshop One-on-One!
THE PARTICIPANT’S IMAGES AND COMMENTS | The participant in our Iceland 2017 Workshop kindly sent me his testimonial about our Workshop. See what he had to say about our work together!