Photographing Dogs in Iceland: Magical. Magnificent. Wondrous. Captivating. Perfect. Surreal. Inspiring. Epic.
I could go on and on defining the inspiring experience I had this past September while photographing dogs in Iceland. It was truly an epic adventure!
After saying goodbye to my heart dog, Kota, just last year, I felt depleted. I know Kota is behind my shoulder each and every time I pick up the camera. But something was missing. I needed some spark. Some magic. I needed to be inspired. And as Oregon pet photographer Lindsay Baca would say, “I needed to be dazzled”.
Then it appeared: An application for an epic retreat of photographing dogs in Iceland called Style Lab 2023 hosted by 3 of the best dog photographers in the industry, Craig Turner Bullock, Charlotte Reeves and Alicja Zmystowska. Iceland has always been a bucket list destination for me. I HAD to apply!
As you probably can tell…. yes, I was accepted into Style Lab Iceland! Woohoo! Now fast forward to the magical landscapes that have inspired me to dig deep and be more creative in my art. To find my “voice” in dog photography.
Honestly, I could write a book about my adventure! From the learning to the beautiful and peaceful place that we stayed, the delicious and healthy meals created by our own chef each day (thank you Svava at Eirð retreat!) – so much to share! This post I will take you to our four photography locations, giving you a glimpse of this stunning country. I hope you will be inspired, too!
Shoot 1: Sólheimajökull Glacier
If you know me and my love of cold weather and huskies, you can bet that this session was epic! Photographing huskies in an icelandic glacier= EPIC!
Solheimajokull Glacier is on the south coast of Iceland between the volcanoes Katla and Eyjafjallajökul.
It was cold. Freezing is more like it. The wind was whipping and it was sleeting. If I was at home, I would have rescheduled the photo session. Despite these conditions, it turned out to be a perfect evening for this shoot!
I’ve never photographed in sleet! I purchased a raincoat for my camera, but that was useless and flimsy. Why bother?! It was so windy anyways! Yes, my camera survived! Cameras are pretty durable these days and can weather conditions fairly well.
There were more dogs! Not just huskies! Tinna and Fura were just as gorgeous in this setting:
I would have been fine just shooting here for the retreat! This was probably my favorite location, but they all had something unique to offer.
There was more!!!
Shoot 2: Rauðhólar
The Rauðhólar (known as the “red hills”) are remnants of a cluster of pseudocraters in Elliðaárhraun lava fields on the south-eastern outskirts of Reykjavík. The colors were amazing and I enjoyed popping the reds and yellows when editing images from this location.
There was more rain here and we even saw a rainbow. (sorry,I didn’t get a picture of a dog with the rainbow)
Was it cold and rainy here? Yes it was! Notice the close-up portrait of Ninni! I decided to keep that drizzle in.
Shoot 3: Skógafoss and Kvernufoss
Skogafoss is a waterfall situated on the Skoga River in the south of Iceland at the cliffs of the former coastline. It is considered Iceland’s biggest and most beautiful waterfalls. AHHHHH AMAZING!
Kvernufoss is in walking distance from Skógafoss and we tackled these two locations one after the other. Kvernufoss Waterfall is tucked away and not clearly visible from the main road like Skógafoss is. I found them both to be equally stunning with a variety of options for creativity! I love the greens, especially with the browns for the German Shorthaired Pointer.
This location inspired me to pull out a lens that I rarely use: 24-70mm. I use a lot of prime lenses and I mostly use my 135 mm, putting all the focus on the dogs. The 24-70 mm lens was perfect for getting the stunning landscapes in the background – this was definitely outside of my comfort zone, but I”m thrilled with the results and had fun trying new things!
Shoot 4: Reynisfjara Black-Sands Beach
Reynisfjara is a world-famous black-sand beach found on the South Coast of Iceland, just beside the small fishing village of Vík. This beach was amazing! The location had a great variety to photograph from the black sands, towering cliffs, caves, and basalt columns.
We were up early for this one! A dark drive to the destination. All of the locations were busy with tourists, but this one had the most people to photoshop out of the images in post processing haha!
The basalt columns, formed by cooled lava:
Exciting news about Mitsa – just last week she had a litter of puppies! So much love between these two cuties.
The black sands (formed by cooled lava):
Gorgeous Luna – love the variety here at the beach!
A Once in a Lifetime Experience
I was in Iceland for a week. Paired with the shoots, we had classroom learning that was just as inspiring as the sessions. We tackled editing in photoshop. We even tackled Enneagrams and how they can help us with our style. I am a number 4: The Individualist.
Are you interested in learning what number you might be? Take the Enneagram Personality test here to see!
My time in Iceland truly inspired me to push the limits and get outside of my comfort zone. We had 10 minutes (yes,that’s it!) per dog to photograph at locations we were just visiting for the first time ever. Sometimes the light was crappy. Other times the weather conditions weren’t ideal. I learned that I can STILL create amazing imagery!
I’m excited to travel more here in New England for sessions. I’m ready to climb the mountains at dawn.
Are you ready to join me with your dog?
Have you been to Iceland? Is it on your bucket list? Drop in the comments and let me know! I hope to go back!