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Current Restrictions for Travel To/From/Within Iceland

Martin Sammtleben, 2. June 2021

The following restrictions are in effect until 15th June 2021.
All travellers must pre-register before arriving in Iceland and confirm their departure day, if available. Further requirements and procedures depend on whether you’ve been vaccinated (or have had COVID-19) and what country you’re travelling from.

Travellers from UK

UK citizens must be fully vaccinated or else they won’t be allowed to travel to Iceland at all. See also the official GOV.UK Travel Advice Iceland

If you have been fully vaccinated or have had a COVID-19 infection…

you will need proof of vaccination or proof of a previous infection. You do not need a negative PCR test to board a plane and enter Iceland. However you will get tested in Iceland upon arrival. You will need to self-isolate in your first night’s hotel while you wait for your test result. After you get the clear you are free to travel onwards. To make sure you can travel the next day you should aim to arrive on a morning flight or the evening before. For more details see…

If you haven’t been vaccinated or don’t have proof of a previous infection…

you will need a negative PCR test to board a plane and enter Iceland. You will get tested in Iceland upon arrival, then self-isolate for 5 days before taking a 2nd test. After you get the clear you are free to travel onwards. For more details see…

Third-Country Citizens (not EEA/EFTA)

Third-country citizens (not EEA/EFTA) are currently not authorized to travel to Iceland unless exemptions apply.

Returning from Iceland

You might need a negative PCR test at check-in; please check the entry requirements for your country. You can book a PCR test on travel.covid.is The turn around time is usually 5–8 hours but it can take up to 24 hours to get the result. Therefore you might want to extend your stay by one day.
However rapid test centers are being set up at the moment to speed up this process.

Changes After 15th June

The current restrictions remain in effect until 15th June 2021. After that rules are likely to be eased further. Therefore we advise you not to book any flights before that date and wait what the update brings.

Aurora Photography – Photograph the Northern Lights

Martin Sammtleben, 13. March 2021

The Northern Lights or Aurora Borealis with their changing shapes and colours have fascinated people through the ages. They’re an electromagnetic phenomenon caused by the sun storm entering the earth’s upper atmosphere and magnetic field.

Luckily capturing the aurora has become a lot easier with todays cameras, that have increasingly better low-light performance. Here are few tips in brief…

  • You will need a tripod and cable-/remote release, although instead of the latter you can employ your camera’s self-timer.
  • Watch the weather – you will want a clear night.
  • Follow the aurora forecast on sites such as spaceweather.com and Alaska’s Geophysical Institute
    The Aurora can show up any time during the dark hours.
  • If possible find a nice location in advance during daytime and take note of interesting spots that provide some foreground interest. Especially reflective surfaces such as water or ice are perfectly suited as foregrounds since they can provide amazing reflections of the aurora.
  • Keep yourself and your spare batteries warm, because you will spend a lot of time standing around waiting. Bring a flask with a hot drink.
  • As the lights can stretch across the entire sky, you will in general find wide-angle lenses, fixed or zooms, more useful than longer lenses. Fast, fixed-focal length lenses are a very good choice, but also a zoom with a modest f/4.0 can be used with good results.
  • Very important: you must remove any filters from your lenses, even protective ones. If left on the lens they will cause circular interference patterns that can’t be removed afterwards.
  • You want to make sure that the stars turn out sharp in your images. This requires precise focus on infinity. The auto-focus usually won’t work in the dark, so you need to set your lens manually to infinity and tape down the focus ring to prevent knocking it inadvertently. This is best worked out during daytime by using your camera’s live view at maximum magnification and focusing manually on something contrasty in the far distance like mountains, trees etc. With a bit of practise this can be done successfully, even in the dark: point your camera at the brightest star and adjust focus until the star appears as a small point of light.
  • Unless the aurora is very bright use the following camera settings as a starting point: aperture f/2.8 – 4.0, 15 seconds exposure, an ISO of 800–1600. Adjust these values if the images turn out too dark or bright.
  • The lights can move quickly. In that case aim for shorter shutter speeds around 5–10 or less. Turn your camera’s ISO up to the highest value, that will still produce images without excessive noise and open up your lens’s aperture to let in as much light as possible.
  • Shooting RAW is highly recommended. However if you prefer to shoot JPEG make sure to enable long-exposure noise reduction in your camera. Note that this function should be turned off when shooting RAW as it has no effect on RAWs. Instead use the noise reduction features of your software.
  • Experiment with the white balance of your images. Northern Lights often look rather greenish straight from the camera and they can change appearance dramatically as you adjust the colour temperature and tint controls. I found the following values to be a good starting point…
temperature: 3500 to 4300K, tint: +30 to +50
In the end this is very much a question of personal taste and best is always what looks best to you!

Free iBook: A Guide to Photographing the Northern Lights

Much more information on aurora photography can be found in our free iBook A Guide to Photographing the Northern Lights. If you own an Apple iPad or a Mac, check it out!

If this has sparked your interest, why not join us on one of our northern lights tours in either Iceland , Norway or Greenland

A Guide to Photographing the Northern Lights

Martin Sammtleben, 12. January 2020

“A Guide to Photographing the Northern Lights” is a free iBook for iPad and Mac owners.

Viewing Requirements

  • Apple iPad with iOS 5 or newer or Macs with macOS 10.9 and newer – it won’t work on other devices.
  • Apple’s free Books app – Books comes with macOS 10.9 Mavericks and later versions.

Important: you need to use Safari to download the book directly onto your iPad. Other browsers won’t know how to handle the book. Depending on the speed of your internet connection this can take a couple of minutes or longer. Once the download is complete you will be prompted to open the book in the Books application.

Download now, 25 MB

A Guide to Photographing the Northern Lights cover

Ladakh Expedition – A Video by Paul Harris

Martin Sammtleben, 10. October 2019

Drawing on 20 years of visiting this north western region of India, this short film highlights some of the landscapes, culture and people of Ladakh as part of a Wild Photography Holidays expedition. This one of 5 different trips currently running.

Paul works with Wild Photography Holidays as a photographic tutor in Iceland, India and Greenland.

Sea and Landscapes of Northern Spain

Martin Sammtleben, 1. August 2019

4-Day Intensive Workshop

We have just run our first home based workshop in Northern Spain. Over the four days we managed to cover some lovely seascapes, wander around quaint villages with a great deal of input for our guests individual requirements both at base and in the field. The food, both home cooked or in local restaurants, was yummy and washed down with some excellent local wine and cider!

Both Martin and myself really enjoyed the flexibility of working intensively with just four guests so we have decided that we’ll do it again next year, take a look online for the dates:
Sea & Landscapes of Northern Spain Photographic Intensive

Iceland Workshops – Video by Paul Harris

Geraldine Westrupp, 21. February 2017

Iceland from phpProductions on Vimeo.

Take a peek at Paul’s latest video showing what we get up to on our Iceland Winter Workshops, a veritable fest of ice caves, glaciers, waterfalls, black sands and sparkling sea washed ice!

Paul works with Wild Photography Holidays as a photographic tutor in Iceland. He also leads our fabulous Ladakh Expedition