Dream Job: Shooting In Iceland

The first time I went to Iceland it changed my life. Literately. To understand how, check out this post I did on exactly that here. The images I captured on that trip influenced the Iceland-based adventure tour company, West Tours, to hire me to shoot their marketing images to rebrand themselves. So in July, 2016 I packed my bags, camera, and enthusiasm to head back to this magical land.

My first time to Iceland I took two weeks to travel around the ring road, but never made it to the Westfjords… one of the most remote parts of Iceland. So I was incredibly excited to have the opportunity to spend 2 weeks exploring this area that was unknown to me.


Along my drive out to Ísafjörður
Morning commute.
The boat... to the other boat.

From Iceland’s capital, Reykjavik, immediately after landing I set out on a 6 hour drive through Iceland’s incredible countryside to make it to my homebase for the next 2 weeks, the tiny little town of Ísafjörður. Each day would start off with a bike ride from the house I was staying into town to catch a boat… which will probably remain one of my favorite morning commutes. From there the boat would take whoever happened to be going on the tour that day and myself 1-2 hours away, to a drop point in the Hornstrandir Nature Reserve where we would start the hikes from.

One of the tiny little
Mid hike break with West Tour's brand manager Geiri.

The hikes each day varied in length from 5,10, and 15 miles through valleys, over mountains, and along beaches in this area considered one of the most remote places in all of Europe. I had the opportunity to hang with the tour group, hang back, or forge ahead to get the shots that I needed in order to document what the experience was really like on these tours.

Spliced between the days I spent hiking, I got to document some of the other tours that West Tours offers including a walk through an island covered in puffins and a very territorial bird called the Arctic Tern, a whale watching tour, and a 20-mile bike ride between towns in the fjords.

Standing at the famous Hornbjarg cliffs after hiking in the pouring rain for hours... resorted to wrapping myself in that space blanket flapping in the wind to try to stay dry.

Every single day I was there I was outside (sometimes in pouring rain) doing very physically demanding work in order to capture these experiences. Midway through my trip every muscle in my body was sore and I developed tendonitis in my Achilles tendon from overuse in the cold whether. But there wasn’t one complaint coming out of me, I felt lucky to be able to pack so many amazing experiences into the two weeks I was there… even if by the end I was limping up the mountainsides. The idea that just over the next ridge could offer one of the most breathtaking landscapes I have ever seen kept me motivated.

The view from my bike ride into the tiny town of Ísafjörður every morning.

If you ever make it out to Iceland I highly recommend taking the time to venture into the West Fjords. And through West Tours you have the opportunity to access lands that not even many Icelanders have visited. No matter how experienced in the outdoors don’t act like you’re too cool to take a group tour… especially in a place like this were weather can change in an instant and you’re completely exposed to the elements without shelter. Plus you’ll learn so much more about the area from the guide as opposed to venturing out on your own. This trip will probably remain one of the most incredible jobs that I had the opportunity to do for quite some time. Big shout out to Geiri Hoskuldsson, the brand manager for West Tours, for bringing me out to Iceland for this job and letting me stay with him and his lovely family there… fully emerging me in the Iceland experience.


On the beach of Vigur island... home to thousands of birds.
This little puffin is real, trust me. One of the locals on Vigur Island.
Sometimes all you need is a rock to keep a kid entertained.
After a 10 mile hike, these little rolled up pancakes and coffee tasted like the best things I've ever consumed.
The Arctic Terns are incredibly territorial of their nests... they swoop down and attack the highest point, so we had to hold up these little flags to protect or noggins from their sharp beaks.
Every stream along the hikes provided cold, crystal clear water for refilling your water bottle.
The world's most picturesque outhouse.
Rare eagle sighting.
These little berries were everywhere... edible and delicious.
An empty pool juxtaposed against the dramatic landscape.
Can't help but chase waterfalls in Iceland.
Self portrait in the middle of an incredibly foggy drive.
Love all the little structures you find along the road in Iceland... especially pointy ones.
Whale watching... up close and personal.
Geiri mid-bike ride from town to town in the fjords.
The wet hike up to Hornbjarg.
River crossing mandatory on some of the hikes.
Dynjandi waterfall.
In this incredibly dense fog, I didn't dare to walk past this sign.
Geiri peering over the bird cliffs on the way up to the Horn.
Bye Iceland... see you again real soon I hope.

You can view more photos from this trip here. I'm thinking about planning a group trip to Iceland... if you're interested in coming along e-mail me at laura@lauraaustinphoto.com