By: Viktoria Komjati
Hiking photography is the best combination you can imagine. Especially in Iceland. There are so many hidden treasures that are just waiting for you to discover. You don’t need to follow the crowd and shoot the same picture that has been captured a million times. Let’s go off the beaten path with your camera!
The extreme diversity of the landscape makes Iceland a heaven for nature photographers. Among its scenic, colorful mountains, matchless lava fields, inhabited, black deserts, wild, rocky seacoasts, and numberless unique features you will surely find the settings for the best shot of your life. But before you start preparing your backpack for hiking photography, here are some useful tips from a local:
Prepare for the worst
If you are hiking with your camera you must know what you want, but when you are planning take the worst into consideration. Not as Iceland would have many ugly places but the weather can rapidly change and distress you with unfortunate lights. Prepare for the worst weather scenario and you’ll not be depressed when it comes true. Imagine your pictures in rain, thick fog, and poor light conditions, and if fortunately, sunshine blinks out, you’ll be the happiest photographer of the world.
Get familiar with the conditions
Not only for the sake of your pictures but for your own safety as well, you must inform about weather and road conditions, before you go off the beaten path. Hiking trails in Iceland are numerous and diverse, their difficulty depends largely on the weather. Choose a well-marked trail and download a detailed trail map, use Google and find articles about that particular trail and area where you plan to go. Individual trails can be checked out in details at local tourist information centers around the country.
Hiking photography requires quality equipment
This is a hike, not an ordinary photo tour. If you find quality photography equipment to be important, you shall think the same about your hiking gear. It’s not about the cool outfit, but these are important details that may save your life. Do not hit the road without windproof, waterproof, comfortable, and functional clothing, backpack, hiking shoes, hiking poles, and first-aid kit. Be prepared for all seasons, dress in layers: you can get snow, wind, rain, and sparkling sunshine all on the same day even in summer.
Careful with the weight
When guessing your carrying capacity, be modest. Bringing all your photography gear can do more harm than good. When you are walking up a steep hill or trying not to tumble down a slippery slope, you will be aware of every grams of weight you are carrying in your backpack. Suffering doesn’t help you to find the nicest compositions. When you are preparing for hiking photography, pack only the most necessary things and you’ll thank yourself when you are struggling with gravity in the extremely various Icelandic landscape.
Book your hut
If you plan a multi-day hiking photography, limited accommodation may be offered in huts along the trail. Check out the possibilities and be sure that you booked your accommodation, because these huts have very limited capacity. If you are already there and the cabin is full, may Thor save your ass. If you plan to pitch your tent in the middle of nothing, consider that it is neither possible nor allowed to wild camp anywhere, and you have to have a very steady tent to survive the turbulent weather conditions.
A GPS with the maps of the area you are heading to can be lifesaving. If you are going alone use this application to leave your hiking plan behind, so our Rescue team can find you easier if you get in trouble. If you are not an experienced hiker but want to do a real adventure on the Highlands, you’d better use a local guide then to get lost in the endless black desert alone.
Do you need a local guide? Check out our tours: we offer ultimate photography tours to Iceland’s most photogenetic areas with a professional local photographer in the lead.0