Iceland Aurora PhotoTour Sep 2020 (cancelled due to Covid19)

Chase and photograph aurora borealis at one of the best times at one of the world’s best destinations for the northern lights. Aurora activity on Earth increases near both equinoxes (autumnal equinox is on Sep 20-21). September also brings back the night hours to Iceland, dark enough to capture even faint aurora and the Milky Way. Also the temperature is mild for the near Arctic latitude which still shows its green summer beauty and emerging fall colors on a few locations of the tour.

The photo workshop is led by the National Geographic night sky photographer who takes you to some of his favorite location, fills you with practical information on when to expect to aurora, what to see in the night sky, and guides you in both aurora and general nightscape imaging, while also sharing tips on day-time photography. The Iceland partner company which locally coordinates the trip also contributes with a tour leader who is both an astronomy expert and a knowledgeable person about nature and history of the country.

Iceland has much more to offer than only aurora. It’s a country like no others. Based on our highly successful annual programs since Sep 2017 this day and night adventure tour takes you along the Ring Road to both iconic and less seen parts of the country but also crosses the inland from north to south through rivers and highlands (most bizarre and colorful landscapes) with our off-road bus. We will do aurora chasing and outdoor workshop sessions throughout the trip on every clear night.

Iceland’s attractions along our route include unearthly landscapes, massive waterfalls, volcanoes, glaciers, wildlife, coastal beauties, and cultural landmarks. We begin from the capital in the southwest and end in Keflavik near the airport. Iceland weather is challenging but we depend on our mobility and excellent access to local weather information.

Magnificent aurora display during our Sep 2017 tour, photographed from a lava area in the northern Iceland.
How to Join
Step 1: Secure your spot by paying $450 deposit here with credit card or PayPal (at the page’s beginning). Email us to clarify if you are on single or double occupancy. You have the option to share a room with a fellow traveler.
Step 2: Complete the booking and fulfill the payment with a check (US) or bank transfer, or with credit card (adds 3% transaction fee).
Step 3: Babak and/or a member of our Iceland team will be in touch over emails to prepare you for the trip.

Day 1, Fri Sep 11: arrival, Reykjavik sightseeing, Aurora chasing near Grotta lighthouse (weather depending)
Day 2, Sat Sep 12: To the north, (Varmahlið). Night imaging near Grafarkirkja or Hvítserkur
Day 3, Sun Sep 13: Daytime activity in Skagafjordur, Hofsós swimming pool, tour around Glaumbær the old turf house, horse farms
Day 4, Mon Sep 14: Early drive to Húsavík with a visit to Goðafoss waterfall. Multiple night time locations available at Dimmuborgir and Mývatn volcanic area
Day 5, Tue Sep 15: Daytime activity around Húsavik, choose from whale-watching or a visit to Ásbyrgi.
Day 6, Wed Sep 16: Daytime activity around Húsavík, drive to Dettifoss waterfall with a daytime visit to Dimmuborgir lava area.

Day 7, Thu Sep 17: Early departure from Húsavík to Hotel Highland through the wilderness of the famous “Sprengisandsleið” which is the longest gravel highland road in Iceland (200km). This journey travels between the two glaciers, Hofssjökull and Vatnajökull. Night-time imaging on the highlands. 
The Quick Tour group joins us.
Day 8, Sat Sep 11: We will visit the most touristic icons of Iceland, including Gullfoss waterfall, the Geysir geothermal area, and the famous Friðheimar tomato greenhouse for lunch. 
Day 9, Sat Sep 19: Visit to Thingvellir National Park on the way back to Keflavik in the southwest corner of Iceland.
Day 10, Sun Sep 20: Tour Reykjanes Peninsula in the southwest and aurora chasing near a lighthouse and scenic coastal area. Accommodation near the Airport in Keflavik (10-15 minutes drive away).
Day 11, Mon Sep 21: Departure Day. I will lead a class between 10:00 to 13:00 on photo editing for those with late departures. You also have the option to arrange your own visit to the nearby Blue Lagoon (for bathing) or consider staying an extra day for this popular tourist activity.

Quick Tour Sep 17-21 fully booked
5 day/4 night Golden Circle & Southern Shore
Thu, Sep 17: Arrive no later than 11 am for pickup from the airport or the hotel you are staying in. Then begin a fantastic first day to iconic waterfalls on the southern shore before reaching the highlands to join the main tour in the evening. See the itinerary above starting from Thursday September 17 in the evening.

Please note the itinerary may slightly change with the aurora and weather forecast.

A group photo of the September 2017 program near the northern tip of Iceland.
All inclusive
Both programs include not only the workshop lessons and night photography lessons, but also private bus (from Reykjavik), all accommodation, main meals (breakfast & dinner), as well as side programs such as museum visits or the whale-watching tour (main tour). Lunch and alcoholic drinks are not included. We will make noon-time stops for the group to purchase food when needed.
On arrival, airport transfer to Reykjavik is easy and affordable by flybus, every 20-30 minutes from the airport. The short tour arrivals will be picked from the airport or hotel the morning of Sep 17.

Terms & Cancellation Policy
Full refund cancellation deadline was on 2020 January 31. Each participant must secure their spot by submitting a deposit via credit card or PayPal. We rely on your attendance to make important arrangements and logistical preparations for our workshop. Space is limited and most of the workshops are fully booked several months prior to the trip. Participants receive notification and statement of account indicating the final balance due date, which marks the cancellation deadline. Should final payment fail to reach us by the date specified without any communication from you, we reserve the right to retain your deposit.

If you need to withdraw from a workshop, or wish to transfer to a different Iceland Aurora workshop, please notify me in writing before the cancellation deadline (2020 Jan 31). I will do my best to accommodate your refund or transfer request.

Should we cancel the workshop (extremely unlikely), all fees and deposits are refunded in full (or may be transferred to another Iceland Aurora workshop within a year). We are not responsible for reimbursement of airline tickets or early arrival hotel bookings in the event of a workshop cancellation. I strongly recommend you purchase trip cancellation/travel insurance after booking your spot.

If you cancel before the deadline your payment will be fully refunded. We will retain all fees paid if you cancel your enrollment after the final payment deadline, unless you are able to find someone who will take your spot and reimburse you. There are no refunds if you don’t show up for the workshop, or interrupt or cancel your trip once the workshop commences.

We are not responsible for cancellations due to medical or other emergencies. Your trip cancellation/travel insurance plan should cover you in these cases. However, If an unforeseen medical issue arises that forces you to cancel after the deadline, but minimum 30 days before the trip, we will consider a partial refund on a case-by-case basis. The refund may be up to 50% of your payment in the form of a credit towards participation in another available Iceland Aurora PhotoTour.