A Photographer’s Paradise.
The Westfjords of Iceland are a remote paradise for photographers and adventurers alike. The region is famous for its stunning fjords, dramatic mountain landscapes, and rich wildlife. A photography trip to the Westfjords is the perfect opportunity to discover this beautiful region and capture the beauty of Iceland through the lens of your camera.
The light in Iceland is fascinating all year round, and the colors and textures of the landscape change depending on the time of day and weather conditions.
Here are some interesting facts about the Westfjords:
- The Westfjords are the least populated region in Iceland, with a population density of only 0.3 inhabitants per km².
- The region is known for its spectacular fjords surrounded by high mountains and waterfalls.
- The longest fjord, Ísafjarðardjúp, stretches over a length of more than 70 kilometers.
- The Westfjords are home to a variety of wildlife, including puffins, arctic foxes, seals, and whales.
- The Westfjords are one of the few regions in Iceland that are still largely untouched and still offer quite some adventures.
- The Westfjords are a paradise for photographers – what explains our photography tour ;)
Our photography tours usually start in Reykjavik.
Most photography tours to the Westfjords start in Reykjavik, where the group meets, gets to know each other over a nice dinner, and prepares for the adventure ahead.
The bustling capital of Iceland surprises with colorful houses and extremely photogenic corners. That’s why many participants decide to arrive 1-2 days earlier and explore the northernmost capital of Europe extensively.
The settlement in the “Smoking Bay” was founded.
% of the total population lives in the metropolitan region.
hours of sunshine per year.
The highest temperature ever recorded.
Exploring the wild Westfjords. The journey becomes the destination.
On every photography trip, the journey itself is also part of the experience. While we have a fixed itinerary and many photography must-haves for each trip – just due to the booked accommodations – there are literaly photo opportunities at every corner. That’s why we plan for plenty of photo stops along the way.
Djupavik is one of those magical places that you’ll never forget.
There are some places with a special kind of magic – Djupavik is one of them. It’s one of my favorite places, not just in Iceland. As part of our photography trip, we have the opportunity to photograph in the old herring factory – definitely one of the highlights of the trip. I’ll be writing a separate post about it soon, but I couldn’t resist showing a few pictures.
Fun facts about the herring factory in Djupavik
Elías Stefánsson founded the first herring salting station in Djupavik.
Swedish Crowns loan to build the factory in 1934.
meter-long, the largest and most modern of its kind in Europe in 1935.
due to a decline in herring stocks, the factory was closed.
Iceland’s Westfjords are remote, untouched, and simply fabulous.
There are countless photo opportunities, and every photography trip brings new ones – like the waterfall on the picture below.
Untouched landscapes, picturesque houses, and abandoned herring factories are the ingredients for a top-notch photography portfolio. Very often participants of our photography trips create photo books from their images afterwards. In fact, the Westfjords could fill an entire bookshelf! :)
The Vestfirðir peninsula (English: Westfjords) covers an area of 9,409 square kilometers.
Permanent resident, this number is decreasing.
% of the global population of Razorbills breed on the cliffs of the Westfjords.
The Westfjords make up 30% of Iceland’s coastline.
The Westfjords are sparsely populated, with only about 6,500 people living on nearly 9.5 thousand square kilometers.
One of the main reasons for this low population is the rugged and inaccessible landscape of the Westfjords. The region is made up of a series of fjords surrounded by steep mountains, which makes access to many parts of the region difficult. This has led to many settlements in the region being abandoned over the years.
However, the small fishing villages that still exist in the Westfjords are fascinating and seem to be frozen in time. These places are a paradise for photographers, not only because of the overall setting, but also because of the details and structures, such as weathered wood, peeling paint, and corrugated iron facades. For a photographer, there are few things more satisfying than capturing the unique character of these places.
When the weather is nice, seals can be found lounging on the rocky banks off the coast.
Not only is the landscape spectacular, but on sunny days and with a bit of luck, you can observe and photograph seals on the rocky banks. There are several types of seals found in the region, including grey seals and harp seals. Seals are strictly protected in Iceland, and hunting or disturbing them is subject to high penalties. Therefore, when observing seals in their natural habitat, it is important to keep a respectful distance and not disturb them.
To take some stunning pictures, a lens with 200-400 mm does a great job :)
Hot Spot Iceland. The hot springs are world famous and a welcome treat – especially when it’s cold.
Iceland is located on one of the “hot spots” of the Earth and is known for its high geothermal activity. The energy comes directly from the Earth’s interior and is accordingly utilized.
The geothermal activity has produced numerous hot springs throughout the island. These natural pools are almost always lovely warm and invite you to relax in them. A bath with a view is always a good idea – especially in cold weather!
Shapes – Colors – Patterns: an old shipwreck.
Beloved by divers and photographers alike, old shipwrecks make for fantastic subjects. The Westfjords are home to several wrecks on shore. This one is amazingly photogenic with its colorful hues.
As with many subjects, it’s not just about capturing the big picture, but also the details that make for great compositions and collages. Here, we can sharpen our eye and unleash our artistic creativity.
Great coffee in a turf house.
The turf house, also known as a grass-covered house, is a traditional building style in Iceland with a long history. These houses were mainly built during the settlement of Iceland in the 9th and 10th centuries and were used as homes until the late 19th century.
Turf houses were constructed from natural materials such as stone, wood and turf, and were covered with grass. The grass served as insulation and protection against Iceland’s harsh weather conditions. This building style can still be found in some parts of the country, particularly in remote areas where materials and building methods were limited.
And when a cute coffee shop is located in such a house, the coffee and Pönnukökur* or waffles with blueberry jam taste even better.
*Pönnukökur are thin Icelandic pancakes that are traditionally sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar, rolled up, and served. The name “Pönnukökur” comes from “pan” (in Icelandic “pönnu”) and “cake” (in Icelandic “kaka”).
Summer is not long on Iceland, but the sun doesn’t set.
The summer is short on Iceland, the snow is often lying until the end of May and might return in September already. The nature doesn’t have much time to bring forth its fruits, like in other northern regions. However, during these months, the sun doesn’t set, and in a short time, the nature reveals itself with lush meadows and colorful flowers at its finest.
Isafjördur is the administrative center of the Westfjords region, and allthough small by our standards, it does have an airport.
There is a flight connection from Reykjavik to the Westfjords, landing at the small “Isafjördur Airport.” With a population of 2,000, the town is considered large in the context of the region’s sparse settlements and serves as the main hub for commerce and government. A photo walk through the streets of Isafjördur is definitely worth it, especially in this light!
Same, same, but different. A selfie.
Selfies are so yesterday, photographers want to be a bit more creative :)
The part one of the travel report ends with this selfie, part two will follow soon…. we will get lot of birds in front of our lenses. Additionally, we’ll watch how salt is extracted from seawater, drive to the end of the world, photograph more shipwrecks, and at the end of the trip its getting really hot.
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