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Abandoned Elements and northern lights tour

October 17 – 24, 2024

Southeast Edition

Iceland is a magnificent natural wonder, with dramatic landscapes and equally dramatic weather. In such a sparsely populated country, it is unusual to find abandoned structures. And yet there are almost 800 of them. On this trip, we will explore just a few of them in the southeast.

On the evenings of our 6-day exploration we will hunt for the fabled "Northern Lights" (aka Aurora Borealis), which will be planned around an abandoned element to make these aurora photographs even more unique. Highlights of this southeastern journey include ruins of an agricultural farm, an abandoned factory, and an entire abandoned village!



Our tour begins in charming Reykjavik, where we will enjoy a welcome dinner before hitting the road the next day. The 6-day journey will explore southeastern Iceland in a private vehicle, with planned stops at locations featuring abandoned structures/elements. Time and weather permitting, we may also stop for landscape features. There will be regular food and bathroom stops, with a significant amount of driving time, as everything is remote. If vigilant eyes spot an unplanned abandoned element near the road, we might explore it if time/weather permits. Our adventure ends in Reykjavik with a farewell dinner.


We will be hiking in abandoned and remote locations, and walking over uncertain terrain while carrying our photography equipment.

  • Small group (max 8)

  • Designed by photographers for photographers

  • Explore remote areas to photograph abandoned structures

  • Evening aurora shoots with abandoned structures**
  • All guests will be provided with 2-way radios


**Your most important equipment is an adventurous spirit, and flexibility to adapt to itinerary/location changes due to weather conditions. There is no guarantee we will see an aurora

Meet the Team


Southeast Iceland Workshop - October 17-24, 2024


August 15, 2024: $1,250 Deposit* deadline

September 15, 2024: $1,250 balance deadline

September 15, 2024: proof of insurance (REQUIRED)

September 15, 2024: signed liability waiver (REQUIRED)

*Non-refundable deposit; may be applied to March 2025 Iceland Workshop

Northwest Iceland Workshop - March 13-22, 2025

Pricing TBD

Deposit* deadline: January 31, 2025

Balance deadline: February 20, 2025

*Non-refundable deposit; may be applied to future workshops


  • Tour van for road trip

  • All vehicle-related expenses

  • Guides for the road trip

  • Lodging (2 nights in Reykjavik, 6 nights on the road)

  • Breakfast

  • Welcome and farewell dinner in Reykjavik

  • Water


  • Transportation to and from Iceland

  • Transfers to and from airport.

  • Insurance (cancellation and medical) REQUIRED

  • Meals other than breakfast.

  • Snacks

  • Alcohol

  • Hotel incidentals

  • Gifts and souvenirs

  • Gratuities for services not provided during workshop

  • Optional/Add-on activities

  • Tips (tips for exceptional service are appreciated)

Both cancellation insurance and medical insurance are required for this trip. In addition, because we will be visiting/entering abandoned structures, you will be required to sign a liability waiver.


How much money should I bring. How much should I convert.

Credit cards and ATM cards are accepted almost universally. You will very rarely need cash, but if you feel you must have some on hand, you can withdraw cash from ATMs. You can use one of many currency converting apps available to figure out pricing.


I don’t speak Icelandic!!!

No worries, just about everyone in Iceland speaks English! Thor - our Icelandic guide - thinks of himself as American (he’s not, but we humor him) and speaks (almost) perfect English. However, if you would like to try communicating with the locals in their language, there are a lot of apps that can translate for you.


Will we see the aurora?

There are no guarantees that we will see the aurora. But Iceland is so extraordinary that many people have visited it repeatedly despite not having had the good fortune of seeing the aurora. And we will have fantastic abandoned locations to photograph independent of the aurora making an appearance.

What if the aurora doesn’t appear during our night shoot?

Our trip is scheduled during a full moon, so night photography of our abandoned locations is still entirely doable, weather permitting. We will also have some creative contingency options planned in the event the aurora does not appear. As with all outdoor activities, everything is weather dependent. If there is a severe storm, your safety is our greatest concern.

Wait, this trip is planned during a full moon!? Won't that wash out the aurora?

Absolutely not! In fact, most aurora photographers, experts and guides prefer a full moon because it adds to the landscape and photo opportunities. The thing to remember about the moon is that in relation to the vastness of space, it is absolutely tiny. Unless it is a very weak aurora, and the moon is behind it, the full moon will enhance your aurora images.

Is it safe at night in these remote places?

Iceland is one of the safest countries in the world. But being out in the dark anywhere does bring some risks with it. Our guests will all be provided with two-way radios which will not only enhance our safety, but also help organize departures from each stop, and update each other on available positions at each location.

How much free time will we have?

That will depend on whether you are extending your trip beyond the tour dates. We highly recommend doing so, if that is feasible for you. While on the road, we will be covering long distances so there is no “free” time.

What if it rains??

Winter in Iceland is unpredictable, and we may get rain. Or not. Or briefly. The weather is also extremely variable which makes long-term forecasts pretty useless. We may get clouds (very photogenic), fog (extremely photogenic), mist/drizzle (annoying but workable), downpours, and/or snow. What we undoubtedly WILL have is wind. Night clouds/rain would, of course, prevent us from seeing any auroras.

What's the food like?

While jocular friends may try to intimidate you with tales of fermented shark and smoked sheep's head, most Icelandic food is quite basic, unless you dine at pricey restaurants. Due to its location and climate, most food is imported, and thus expensive. Variety might also be more limited than you are used to, but everything is delicious. There are no fast-food chains either (not even Starbucks!) but you will not starve! We've even had some awesome tacos in Reykjavik! Iceland is quite up to date on specific dietary needs.

Do I need special clothing?

If you live anywhere it snows, you probably already have what you'll need. A complete list of suggested items will be provided to participants once they've made their deposit.

How much camera gear should I bring?

We strongly recommend resisting the urge to pack everything you own. Remember, you will be carrying your gear with you to all our locations. A detailed list of suggested items will be provided to participants once they've made their deposit.


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