Iceland 2018: A Brief Review

In Trip Reports On Thursday, August 23, 2018

Iceland was awesome this year! I know that sounds like some terrible marketing pitch for my workshops WHICH ARE OPEN FOR BOOKING IN 2019! (see what I did there) but this year just worked out great. I’ve thought about blogging about more of my Iceland trips in the past, but to be honest I am incredibly protective of the routes and locations that I have worked so hard to discover – I don’t want to give them away easily, particularly in places that are sensitive to numbers.

Iceland has been a difficult place for me photographically in recent years. The weather can be tough and photography is not an easy job when things turn for the worse. I’ve also captured many of the grand views that drew me to these areas in the first place. Productivity drops off. Instead I’ve focused on teaching and generally enjoying the hikes familiarity can be a good thing too.

Grey skies and occasional rain were the predominant weather in Langisjor…but those greens!

This year was different somehow. Iceland did its usual – overcast with a bit of rain, many days with winds a little too strong and of course that cold, which apparently never goes away. But somehow the light came together, the melting snow was beautiful, the moss seemed super green and the hiking was, as ever, world class.

I had 2 groups of 5 this year. All men – a first. The company was great, as it so often is on these trips. Like-minded people make for good times. I ran the trips back to back, no rest, 10-20km per day and I finished wanting to do it all over again.

My wanderlust is back in a big way. Next week I’m off to run a trip in Senja with Arild Heitmann and I really can’t wait. Then straight after I’m off to Scotland to make sure I’ve left no stone unturned before the book goes to print.

Photography is never going to be an easy choice of career. It has more than its fair share of worries. It’s a constantly changing competitive industry, contracts are harder to come by and workshops harder to fill. I sometimes miss home and friends and it’s never going to make me rich.

But at the moment I just feel excited, positive and happy to be throwing myself at everything as hard as I can!

Anyway here are a ton of photos from the trips for you to scroll through – enjoy!


A personal favourite from Iceland this year. It’s not often you are presented with scenes this perfect!

A hiker pits himself against the remoteness of the Icelandic Highlands

I’ve photographed this glacier in many different guises over the years but this is perhaps my favourite – the warm kiss of the sun contrasting well with the blue of the shadowed ice.

This view always takes peoples breath away!

THE view

Another crazy view a long way from civilisation.

First snow of the season on the hills of Fjallabak in mid August. The layering and bands of early light produced a nice opportunity for an image.

One of those wild wild scenes that Iceland is known for. This spot is a lot less known however…

Grey days can get me just as excited if the conditions are right. I love the brooding atmosphere and arcing cloud. This particular day was a tough one – the wind was wild.

Swimming in ice cold water. Seb convinced me and in fairness he got in long before I had built up the courage. It was a bit like a gigantic ice bath.

The Laugavegur team – a cool bunch of guys.

KABOOOOOM! How’s that for a sunset?


The third time up Sveinstindur in as many years finally produced the outstanding view for which the peak is known. Whilst it ultimately clouded over it was rewarded to finally capture this sensational vista.

Late twilight light on Langisjor. To be honest I wasnt holding out much hope for this evening but these conditions beat a sunset any day (in my book at least!)

The lonely hikers! On both trips we spent a bit of time walking alone, taking our own images, it just happens!

The last morning at Langisjor produced a singular moment of spectacular light. Throughout our hike a gap over Vatnajokull had persisted and finally on this morning it produced the goods

A windy windy day at Langisjor. It’s amazing how the weather becomes part of the adventure!

A bit of Icelandic camouflage from Remo!

I’ve shot this view in a variety of lighting conditions now, but every time I am there a new opportunity presents itself.

The Langisjor group – 3 return customers. Stewart (furthest right) has come on 4 trips with me in the last 12 months!

A tributary stream to the Skafta flows beneath Uxatindar. Unlike the glacially fed Skafta, which is full of silt, the tribuatary streams are all snowmelt. It’s some of the purest water I have ever tasted and ice-cold as you might expect in Iceland!

Tackling the clay that the flood of the Skafta had produced. Pretty horrible – very memorable!

The floodplains of the Skafta produced some lovely foregrounds. I spent some time looking for the perfect arrangement of cracks to create this lead-in. The next challenge was getting my boots and tripod clean!

Finishing up at the Eldgja Fissure



  1. Jacob Routzahn 23rd August 2018

    Love the quick write up and images, Alex! Those greens are stunning and same for the braided streams. Some day I’d love to tag along. Looks like loads of fun. Glad I can hike a couple miles and a 1000 ft in elevation gain for something like this

  2. Good evening Mr. Nail,
    I’m writing to ask for permission to render one of your pictures in charcoal medium. Some of these pictures are breathtaking! I am particularly interested in pictures of Scotland and the architecture of yore. You see, I am a Ratrie, who’s ancestry goes back to Rattray and the Rattray castle.
    Thank you for taking the time to read this. I await your reply.
    Margie Blankenship

  3. Very inspiring images that make me look forward to another trip to the island! Best, Dave

  4. Nigel Cooke 26th August 2018

    Superb collection of images Alex, looks and sounds like a couple of fantastic trips

  5. Amazing stuff Alex! The sunset is beautiful but I got some different favorites.

  6. David McCrone 27th August 2018

    Hi Alex, hope you’re well. The Laugavegur trip was fantastic and Langisjor looks as if it was great few days as well. Slowly working through my own images with a couple new favourites already. It’s interesting to see where some of the compositions differ despite being in the same location. Cheers, David.

  7. Phenomenal images, Alex! Your Iceland work is inspiring like nothing else!

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