Awesome adult family tour with Haukur Snorrason in the highlands and glacier region of Iceland
I recently took my adult family (six of us) on a seven day tour with Haukur Snorrason of Iceland Photo Tours through the Highland and Glacier regions of Iceland. I had high expectations because my sister, who is very particular, had done a tour with Haukur a few years ago and was so impressed that she went back a second time the following year.
Haukur did not disappoint, the tour exceeded all of my expectations. His knowledge of the countryside (augmented by the fact that he is a pilot and specializes in aerial photography of the country), his ability, with his modified vehicle, to go practically anywhere, his willingness to stay out beyond midnight or get up at 3:00 am in the morning to let us capture a location in the best light, without other people, made the whole trip an experience not to be outdone. The variety of landscape and photographic opportunities he opened to us was truly amazing, made even more special by the fact that in most locations we were the only people around. Furthermore, Haukur made sure that everyone enjoyed the trip, not just those interested in photography and was very careful to meet any special dietary restrictions such as one person having coeliac disease and therefore unable to eat gluten.
As part of the tour we stayed in the wonderful Hrifunes guest house run by Haukur’s wife Hadda which I have reviewed separately.
I have previously been on excellent, photographer led trips, in Cuba, Arizona and Ireland and I can safely say that this trip in Iceland was the best. I remember saying to Haukur as we stood atop a mountain, at around 11:00 pm on the first day, surrounded by beautiful mountain ranges and valleys lit by the evening sun, that having us experience so much that day might have been a mistake because he would have a hard time keeping up that standard. It was not a problem for him. I can honestly say that this was the best, most adventurous, fullest and most successful family vacation we have been on, all of it thanks to the expertise, knowledge and warmth of Haukur.
Since I had traveled previously with Haukur, my expectations started high. Haukur delivered an absolutely amazing experience which far exceeded my expectations. He knew where to take us for the best photo experience and the times of day to avoid any crowds. We were privileged to visit some of the highly photographed spots without any other tourists to mar the view. He provided helpful photographic tips when asked (e.g. shutter speed for a particular waterfall) but gave us the space and time to explore on our own. Along the way, we learned tidbits of Icelandic history and sampled some of the best food available - volcano soup, Arctic char and lobster were a few of my favorites. Don't hesitate to book a tour with Haukur when you have the chance.
During my 10 years of landscape photography, I've been on dozens of photo tours and workshops. Hawk's eight-day photo tour of Iceland was one of the very best I have experienced.
Hawk is an excellent photographic instructor. He has an intimate knowledge of Iceland; especially its geology. He told us stories about Icelandic volcanoes going back to 1784. More importantly, he took us to many outstanding photographic sites away from the madding crowds common to Iceland these days. We shot secret waterfalls, lava fields, and the ponies and puffins unaccompanied by other photographers or tourists. That's a great plus on any photo trip -- especially a popular locale like Iceland. Before we signed up, Hawk said the guesthouses and restaurants he selected would be first class. He kept his word. We enjoyed terrific lodging, superb food and an enjoyable and productive tour.
Hawk is more than just good. He has a well trained eye, which didn't just come about from Instagram selfies! It comes from a lifetime with a camera in hand, from film through digital, and an artist's sense of composition. What isn't mentioned a lot in these reviews is that he is also a pilot. He knows this terrain not only at eye level, but from the air. His ability to fly over it routinely gives him the edge over other photo tours in that when he sees interesting locations from the air, he then follows up on the ground. This brings his clients to areas that are often far from the madding crowds of Iceland's massive tourist boon, into areas that are still pristine and without the destructive evidence of humans. And once you are there, he will guide you to THE perfect spot, no, not THERE...move over 5 meters...voila. I cannot tell you how many times that happened. It's not about trophy shooting, it's about having the knowledge from experience, knowing your subject matter to the finest detail. You're not necessarily going to hit "iconic" Iceland locations...he will give you a far better experience than that by finding equally spectacular locations, without having to battle the crowds.
Haukur is a profesional in the best meaning of this word. He made us feel at home in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere, made the effort to get to remote places despite difficult conditions (including a snowy unused road), stayed long hours at night so that we could see the Aurora and took us to beautiful places early in the morning to photograph sunrises. Also, the guest houses we stayed in were very good and the whole experience first class. Thank you Haukur!
Thank you for five amazing days of landscape photography in Iceland. Each day was a photo adventure. The waterfalls are a treasure of Iceland; they are so powerful and beautiful. To photograph the Northern Lights under your direction was a lifetime experience. The breakfast and dinner at your guesthouse was outstanding. Thank you so much for a photography trip that I will never forget and for watching over me.
Dear Hadda and “Hawk”,
I’d like to thank you both for a memorable experience in Iceland. The memories and the photos of our recent trip will last for many years. I was so impressed with Hawk’s ability to predict weather and find the most gorgeous places for us to photograph. The food was phenomenal and I congratulate you on your excellent skills as a master chef. Your guesthouse is certainly amazing, Hadda
I will certainly recommend your guest house as well as the photo tour to any of my friends interested in coming to your lovely country.
With best personal regards,
I have not had a chance to go through all of my images yet but have posted a few preliminary shots (need some work) to show some guys that may want to join you next year. Once again, thank you for showing us some of the most spectacular places on earth.
Just a quick note to let you know what a great time we had with you last week. You were amazing, Iceland was amazing, and of course Hadda, the meals and the guesthouse were wonderful as well (we liked your dog, too). I wanted to send you a couple of links to the ice tunnel picture I took of you in case you’re interested. You did a pretty good job of standing still!