INDIA'S No.1 ' TRAVEL AND PHOTOGRAPHY' COMPANY

Land of Ice and Fire - Winter Landscape Photography Tour
Iceland, Europe Iceland, Europe Iceland, Europe Iceland, Europe Iceland, Europe

Iceland, Europe
22 to 29 January 2017
Bookings Closed: Please note that bookings for this Tour have been closed. Please get in touch with us if you have questions.


TOUR HIGHLIGHTS



  • Seven nights and eight days of mystical winter landscape experience under dancing Northern Lights
  • Limited group size to ensure exclusivity and unrestricted photography
  • An epic photography experience on a wonderful and isolated island in the frozen north
  • Extensive learning on using filters, making time-lapse videos, HDR photography and processing, and panoramic shooting
  • An exotic time in a truly untamed wilderness and amazing part of our planet
  • A productive Tour guided by experienced professional photographers



This is a Toehold Special

High up north just outside the Arctic Circle, underneath a magnetic sky that weaves auroras violet, red and green, there is a land where glaciers and geysers, and fjords and volcanos intermingle to forge a land of ice and fire.

Navigate through this mercurial land this winter to reach a state of landscape photography bliss. And in the land of the opposite forces, achieve unity with the magic that spins around the sun by the name of Earth.

How is it?

Iceland defies categorisation. It's neither bucolic nor Utopian; neither hostile nor placid; and neither entirely frozen nor oppressively warm.

Iceland is nothing if not alive. It's a living, changing landscape that breathes through its volcanos and bubbles through its geysers. And when things go south, looks cheerfully at you with its lush pastures and gushing waterfalls.

It wasn't always like this. Iceland is one of the planet's youngest landmasses, with all this geological bustle having mushroomed as recently as yesterday plus 25 million years ago. And it's still growing, at a positively pubescent 5 cm every year.

That rate of expansion for so long would make even an ant a giant, and surely enough, that's what Iceland is: the second largest island in Europe (after Great Britain) and the 18th largest on the planet. And the giant wears many robes.

In the southwest, moss-covered steaming lava fields are the choice outfit for some contrasting Arctic sizzle, while in the northwest, soaring fjords are the pick from the wardrobe for that flowing look. The coveted centre is attired in barren highlands to offset all the razzmatazz, while the terrain generally is bedizened with impressive peaks, plateaux and lowlands.

But the most striking aspect of this accoutrement is the dark hemline, in the form of black-sand beaches on the tortuous 5000 km coastline, striking enough to evoke memories of The Swan Queen and peculiar enough to feel like a scene from medieval fantasy, Game of Thrones, large and impressive parts of which are fittingly filmed here.

And with a sparse population and over 80% of Iceland's area reeling in joyous desertion, experience pristine seclusion as you set about witnessing a dazzle that's uniquely Icelandic in its 'Arcadian rhythms', and the convergence of elements in all their untamed colours: red, green and violet in the sky, blue and brown underneath — held together with lots of ice and a little fire.

What you will see and photograph:

With so much going on, it's little wonder that the subject of this Tour is the land itself, in all its glorious forms.

SNÆFELLSNES

Our voyage will begin with an unforgettable experience in the Snæfellsnes Peninsula, famously known as a miniature model of Iceland, due to the way it encapsulates all the magnificent landscapes seen on the island, and home to the iconic Snæfellsjökull Glacier, a 1446 m-high active volcano that starred in Jules Vernes' classic, Journey to the Center of the Earth, and is the subject of much intrigue as alleged possessor of many mysterious attributes.

The glacier is surrounded by the Snæfellsjökull National Park, Iceland's first national park, with amazing lava formations, gorges and waterfalls, lovely towns and harbours, and an assortment of fascinating attractions.



GOLDEN CIRCLE

You will then journey to the Golden Circle and onwards to the South Coast and travel through the Thingvellir National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site considered Iceland's 'national shrine'.

In history it's home to the country's first parliament, from 930 to 1798 AD, and in the Game of Thrones world, backdrop to Arya Stark and Sandor Clegane's memorable journey through mid-Westeros, and birthplace of the rare 'Dragonglass' Obsidian, which is actually a piece of cooled lava from the wilderness of Thingvellir.

You will also visit the Gullfoss (Golden Falls) Waterfall and take a walk through the geothermal active area, Haukadalur, where you'll see the geyser Geysir, the etymological mother of the English word, and the excitable Strokkur, which is given to erupting every ten minutes.

In the South Coast, one of Iceland's most scenic regions, you'll discover the island's volcanic action first-hand, visiting such landmarks as the black pebble beach of Reynisfjara with its pyramid-shaped basalt columns, and the basalt sea stacks, Reynisdrangar, which, according to folklore, were trolls before sunlight turned them stolid.

This element of mythology, of trolls, elves and assorted supernatural creatures, which is an integral part of Icelandic culture, will be a constant companion on the Tour, adding an enchanting dimension to your experience. And in suitably dramatic environs, nothing will ever seem incongruous.



VATNAJÖKULL

Lying next to Europe's largest glacier is Iceland's largest national park of the same name, Vatnajökull, also encompassing Skaftafell in the southwest, and Jökulsárgljúfur in the north, which is considered one of the country's most romantic and magical places. In all, the park covers some 13% of Iceland's area, and is among Europe's largest national parks.

Here you will be treated to fantastically diverse landscape despite a large part of it being underneath the icecap of the Vatnajökull Glacier, due in part to the constant interplay of volcanic activity and glaciers. In George Martin's universe, Vatnajökull is the mysterious land Beyond the Wall, home to mythical creatures and White Walkers. It's as mythical in the real world as it's real in the mythical world.

Here, spectacular photo opportunities are the byproduct of icebergs from Vatnajökull Glacier falling frequently into the lagoons and floating around until they melt or are small enough to be carried by the river to the sea.

The southern part of Vatnajökull, which envelops Iceland's highest peak, the mouthful Hvannadalshnúkur, is punctuated by the majesty of mountain ridges, with outlet glaciers gracefully descending betwixt them onto the handsome lowlands.

As for wildlife, Arctic foxes are the only originally native mammals on the island, while Icelandic horses, although not wild, are an absolute joy to photograph, particularly against such exquisite backdrops, and birdlife is rich to the teeth, although winter's not the best time to find them.

And amongst all this, whenever the weather conditions are conducive, we'll be hunting for the Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis) with enticing Icelandic nature in the foreground — just because we can, and because an outstanding thing can always be made even more surreal.

Especially if it's on the marvellous island of Iceland.

Important Prerequisite: Participants of this Tour must mandatorily take out travel insurance and be covered under a valid medical insurance policy.

PHOTOGRAPHY SKIPPERS





WHY GO ON A TOEHOLD PHOTO TOUR?

At Toehold, we are passionate about photography just as you are, which lets us understand your travails and needs perfectly. And we use this insight to specially design our Photography Tours so they give you a toehold to excel at the art and set you up for success.

The Toehold team at your disposal will keep you tuned and geared, so you come in empty-handed but go out with bagful of images and tales of an experience that is better lived than heard.

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TESTIMONIALS BY OUR PREVIOUS TOUR PARTICIPANTS

Photography enthusiasts who were a part of a similar Tour previously said:

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Please click on any thumbnail and use the left and right arrow keys to navigate between photos in the gallery.



Please note: We assemble for this Tour on Sunday, 22 January 2017 at Reykjavik, Iceland, and depart from the same place on 29 January. Travel between your home and Reykjavik is not included in the Tour fee, but all requisite assistance with air travel will be provided.

  •   DAY 1   22 January 2017, Sunday: Arrival and Overnight in Reykjavik

    Participants in Reykjavik arrive from various places, and once everyone has checked in to our hotel, we meet before dinner for a round of introduction and orientation, where Skipper Jayanth Sharma will set the tone for the Tour and brief the group on what to expect over days to come. We dine and retire for the night in hot anticipation of the icy-cool time to come.

  •   DAYS 2 and 3    23 and 24 January, Monday and Tuesday: Snæfellsnes Peninsula

    Our exploration of Iceland will start with the Snæfellsjökull Glacier and the charming villages and friendly people who nest around it. For two full days we enjoy the nature and the wildlife the area offers, and photograph the exceptional lava fields and formations, and fill our eyes and memory cards with its gorgeous gorges and waterfalls, lovely towns and harbours.

  •   DAYS 4 and 5    25 and 26 January, Wednesday and Thursday: Golden Circle and South Coast

    We proceed down the island from the West to the South Coast and enter the famous Golden Circle. We visit the Thingvellir National Park absorbing the nation's history, and move on to examining certain more geologically significant features of Thingvellir, and observe how the faults and fissures of the area make evident the rifting of the earth's crust. We'll walk through some of those fissures and get a glimpse of Iceland's history and learn why Thingvellir is a World Heritage site. The day includes stops at Gullfoss (Golden Falls) Waterfall and a walk through the geothermal active area, Haukadalur, where we will see the geyser Geysir and an eruption from the geyser Strokkur.

    We'll spend the next day on the South Coast of Iceland, from Reykjavík to the Vík, a charming village. We'll discover the island's volcanic activities while passing by some of the island's active volcanoes, and behold their most recent eruptions. Along the way we enjoy the sight of the black-pebble beach of Reynisfjara and the basalt sea stacks Reynisdrangar. Dyrhólaey, Skógafoss, Seljalandsfoss and Sólheimasandur and its notorious plane wreck are amongst our stops.

  •   DAY 6    27 January, Friday: Glacier Lagoon

    We'll visit the magical and romantic Jökulsárlón, a large glacial lake on Iceland's southeast coast, close to the beautiful Skaftafell and the Vatnajökull National Parks, and witness the floating of the icebergs from the Vatnajokull glacier to the lagoon.

  •   DAY 7    28 January, Saturday: Ice Caves

    We'll also visit an icecave underneath Vatnajökull (ice caves form under the glaciers in the autumn and last through the winter), venturing in with helmets, head-torches and crampons underneath our boots. Caves can be found in several different locations on the south side of glacier Vatnajökull, and the surroundings are magical.

    In the evening we're dropped off to the airport hotel, Keflavik.

  •   DAY 8    29 January, Sunday: Checkout and Departure

    After breakfast we checkout and are transferred to the airport, whence, having enjoyed an enchanting time on the exotic island of Iceland, we fly back home.

Individuals
USD 4,200*
Inclusive of taxes
Per Person on Twin Share Accommodation
Couples
USD 7,900*
Inclusive of taxes
Per Couple on Twin Share Accommodation
Toehold Patrons
USD 4,000*
Inclusive of taxes
Per Person on Twin Share Accommodation
Toehold Patrons: Customers who have participated in at least three previous Toehold Photo Tours get an additional discount of USD 200 per person.

Inclusions
  • Boarding and lodging for Tour duration
  • All local fees
  • All planned activities and excursions as per the itinerary
  • All applicable taxes
  • Services of a Photography Skipper
Exclusions
  • All airfare and transfer expenses
  • Any extra accommodation availed of outside the itinerary, before or after the Tour
  • Visa expenses
  • Any kind of personal expenses or optional tours, extra meals and beverages ordered
  • Insurance, laundry and phone calls
  • Soft drinks and alcoholic beverages
  • Tips and gratuities
  • Anything that is not included in the inclusions list


Payment Terms
  • USD 1000 booking amount (non-refundable)
  • USD 2000 before 15 November 2016
  • 100% of the Tour fee before 15 December 2016
Cancellation Fees
  • USD 1000 on or before 31 October 2016
  • USD 3000 between 1 November and 15 December 2016
  • 100% of the Tour fee after 16 December 2016


  • Please note: All figures are per person. The date of written (email) communication of intent to cancel is the date considered for calculation of the cancellation fees.

Terms and Conditions

  1. Participants who have a medical history of blood pressure, heart-related problems or asthma are advised to seek medical advice before enrolling for this Tour.
  2. Fitness to complete the Tour is the only criterion for participation.
  3. Toehold Travel & Photography Pvt Ltd. shall not be responsible for injuries, damages, or losses caused to any traveller in connection with terrorist activities, social or labour unrest, mechanical or construction failures or difficulties, diseases, local laws, climatic conditions, abnormal conditions or developments, or any other actions, omissions, or conditions outside the travel partner's control.
  4. All clients travelling with Toehold Travel & Photography Pvt Ltd. must complete and sign a reservation form and the "Release of Liability, Assumption of Risk & Arbitration Agreement" form.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Who should participate in this Tour? Are there any eligibility criteria?

    Anybody interested in Arctic or general wildlife and/or wildlife, landscape or bird photography and is above the age of 18 (unless accompanied by an adult) can participate in this Tour. There are no eligibility criteria.
  • I am a newbie in nature photography. Am I eligible?

    Absolutely! This Tour is meant for fledgling as well as experienced photographers. Beginners get all the advantages of learning on and off the field from Toehold's eminent Skippers. In fact, if you are a newbie, you should jump on this terrific learning opportunity and sign up right away! However, in order to make the most of the Tour, we recommend that you be familiar with at least the basics of photography. Please talk to us for more details.
  • I am not into photography. Would you still recommend this Tour?

    Most certainly! While photographers will probably derive maximum value from this Tour, non-photographers will enjoy the expedition equally.
  • How cold will it be?

    The weather is variable, but the average hovers between –10 and – 20°C. There will be considerable wind chill.
  • What fitness level is required?

    Although this is not a very physically intensive Tour, some basic amount of physical fitness is required, chiefly to withstand the cold, undertake short and easy to moderate walks and treks. If you suffer from known illnesses, please consult your physician before signing up for the Tour.
  • By what mode will photography be done on this Tour?

    We'll be using vehicles to get to the places of attraction, but most or all of the photography will be done on foot.
  • Will you provide visa assistance?

    Yes. You need a valid Schengen visa to enter Island, and while the Tour cost does not include visa expenses, all the assistance you require in procuring a visa will be duly provided.
  • How sure are you about this Tour being photographically productive?

    Considering the meticulous attention to timing we pay while scheduling Tours and the local expertise we leverage, we believe that it would be extremely unfortunate if our photography were unsatisfactory. However, since we will be in an uncontrolled environment and are visiting in the winter, we do not claim that the conditions will always be conducive to photography.
  • What equipment do you suggest on this Tour?

    The focus of this Tour is on landscape photography, so a good ultra-wide-angle lens and a wide-angle zoom are musts along with graduated neutral-density, neutral density or variable neutral density, and circular polarising filters, a fisheye lens being welcome, too. For the occasional portrait and to photograph the horses, a 50mm or equivalent normal lens would be desirable. A tripod is absolutely necessary, and so is an intervalometer if your camera doesn't feature in-built interval shooting, or just a wireless or cabled remote release otherwise, for bulb photography.
  • I do not own appropriate equipment. What do I do?

    If you do not own adequate photography gear, there is no need to fret. Toehold offers an exhaustive array of cameras and lenses for hire, so you can always hire what you need. Click here to see what we offer. What's better, you enjoy a 10% discount on all equipment hired on our Photo Tours!
  • How different are your Photo Tours from ordinary tours?

    Unlike travel agents who plan your holiday from a remote destination to places they sometimes haven't experienced themselves, Toehold Photo Tours offer a comprehensive toehold to experience a place through the guidance of a professional photographer. The common ingredients in all our Photo Tours are fun and a lot of learning and knowledge sharing. Besides, most or all of our Tour participants are photography enthusiasts, which keeps the group in harmony and helps make your experience focussed.


© - All Text, Photographs, Videos and Narrations are properties of Toehold Travel & Photography Private Limited.






LOCALE

Iceland, Europe

QUICK INFO

  • Date: 22 to 29 January 2017

  • Tour Cost:
    Individuals
    USD 4,200/-
    Per person inclusive of taxes

    Couples
    USD 8,400 7,900/-
    Per couple inclusive of taxes

    Toehold Patrons
    USD 4,000/-
    Per person inclusive of taxes

    All fares excluding flights

  • Skippers: Oli Haukur
                       Jayanth Sharma

DISCOUNTS ON RENTALS

Did you know? Photography enthusiasts joining this Tour and every other Toehold Photography Tour are eligible for a nett discount of 10% on all equipment rentals. Talk to us to avail of this offer!

PAYMENT OPTIONS

We accept all major credit and debit cards.

UPCOMING EVENTS

ART AND SCIENCE OF PHOTOGRAPHY
DIGITAL POST PROCESSING
PHOTOGRAPHY TOURS
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KIDS CAMPS & WORKSHOPS