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Iceland 2017 - Part one.

Arctic terns and blue iceburg

It seems like an age since I returned from the Nature’s images trip to Iceland which I co-led with Dan, yet it was really only a month or so ago. I had probably looked forward to this trip more than any other this year because it featured many bird species such as Red-throated divers which are almost certainly in my top ten fav birds.

Red-throated diver

As with any large island perched on a submerged volcanic ridge in the middle of the Atlantic, the weather was never the best, though by dint of hard work we did manage to exploit the all too fleeting, brief glimpses that the grey sky allowed. We concentrated our efforts in three places which allowed repeated visits to the same spots and it was this approach that allowed the best to be extracted from the grey skies.


One of the great joys of an Icelandic summer is the ability to be able to work photographically at almost any hour of the day and some of my favourite images of the arctic terns were taken late in the evening when ISO’s had to be pushed a little higher than normal.


Whenever I visit a location I have been to previously I try to work on new and different images. In some cases repeat images may mean better light or a better pov but if I already have nice images on the hard drive I will try to produce something new. This can be an issue when I am trying to help the guests with their images, I have to remember that they may have not been before, yet I also feel that they benefit when I do try new ideas, it’s always about sharing and discussing what each guest is after in terms of image creation.


Some may photograph very differently stylistically to me and if this is so I try to show how I approach the situation so they have the option, some buy into my ideas, others don’t, but are happy that I at least showed them my approaches. I do, however get great pleasure seeing someone improving their photography, though they may not be actually aware of it at the time.

Harlequin duck

Another aspect of a repeat visit is that you can compare changes, in some cases positive, others not so. I found whimbrel much easier to get close to this time and produced much better images than on my last trip. However, in contrast the harlequin ducks seemed much lower in number and far less approachable on the Laxa. Red-necked phalaropes, Slavonian grebes and red throats seemed as abundant as last time and the colony of arctic terns at Jökulsárlón seemed much larger yet the number of barnies seemed about the same yet far less approachable. In some respects this may reflect the huge increase in visitor numbers.

Blue light on the beach

Some of our best bird places, luckily still seem only to be known to us yet the popular spots like Jökulsárlón beach were positively snided with folk! Saying this, Iceland is still one of my favourite destinations globally - the birds and atmosphere are still incredible. And as a final word, a big thank you to all the guests, all great fun which makes running such a trip a perfect joy.   

Ice on the beach

Arctic terns fishing the steely cold waters

Red-throated diver

Red-throated diver, two males challanging each other