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Our man behind the lens, videographer Olly Pemberton, says he feels most at home in cold places. He’s driven dogsleds in Arctic Scandinavia and a Fiat Panda to Mongolia. But even for Olly, Iceland pulls out all the stops.
“It’s the sense of being totally removed from the world you know, within such beautiful surroundings, that keeps me coming back. You feel as if you are on another planet. Volcanic rock formations stretch out to distant mountains, occasional bursts of steam announce the presence of geothermal activity, and the coastal road is lined with imposing slabs of rock and powerful waterfalls.
After a night in the world’s northernmost capital city, Reykjavik, we headed east to discover Iceland’s dramatic landscape, walking with crampons on vast glaciers that look like frozen stormy seas and taking in towering basalt pillars on a black volcanic beach. There’s a lake formed by melting glacier waters, speckled with bright blue icebergs, the jagged rift valley and the famous spouting geysers.
Hunting the Northern Lights
But the drama doesn’t end with nightfall – we set aside two evenings to chase down the elusive aurora. My standout memory took place on a beautifully clear evening. We were heading for the hotel, flanked by the foreboding Vatnajokull Icecap and the seemingly endless lava fields when a glimmer on the horizon caught our eager eyes. As we pulled over, right on cue, the Northern Lights burst into action!”
Northern Lights Photography Checklist
If you’re a keen photographer and want to capture those classic aurora shots, Olly recommends
- 1. A good DSLR camera, with manual settings and a wide-angle lens is essential for Northern Lights photography
- 2. A sturdy tripod and a remote shutter release (cable or wireless) to prevent blurring
- 3. Spare batteries (they drain quicker in freezing temperatures) and plenty of memory cards
- 4. Warm layers
- 5. Gloves that you can still operate your camera with while wearing
- 6. Snacks and a Thermos flask to keep you going!
Browse our trips below and discover the magnificent Iceland landscape.