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Iceland Photography Tour 2018 – what to bring?

This is one of a series of posts regarding the College’s upcoming trip to Iceland, the introduction to this trip can be read here.

Weather

The weather in Iceland is incredibly variable – within an hour it can change from bright sun, to  rain, snow and driving winds.

We will be travelling in February when the temperatures in Iceland vary from between -2 and +3 degrees Celsius – ideal conditions for snow but not as cold as you might anticipate given the proximity to the Arctic circle. At night however temperatures can drop to minus 7 degrees Celsius and standing round, as we will be, can make it feel very cold indeed. In London, by comparison typical temperatures in February are usually between +3 and +7 degrees Celsius.

February is also Iceland’s wettest month so there is a good chance of rain during the month, around 78% likely, so water proofs are essential for the trip.

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Clothing

The key is being able to layer up so you should choose clothes that can be worn on top of one another. This will allow you to add layers when cold and then if the weather improves remove them later. We are likely to be standing around for long periods in the cold and so it is best to be prepared.

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  • Thermal Wool or synthetic leggings and vest – avoid cotton which takes a long time to dry if wet and becomes a poor insulator (http://besthiking.net/cotton-bad-hiking/).
  • Wool hat.
  • Wool jumpers.
  • Wool or fleece neck warmer or scalf.
  • Warm gloves, or warm windproof over-mittens and glove liner. The latter works really well to keep your hand warm but allow you to manipulate your camera by taking off the mitt and using the glove liner.
  • ‘hot-hands’ or similar. (www.hothandsdirect.com).

  • Walking trousers.
  • Waterproof trousers and jacket (breathable best).
  • Waterproof walking or lightweight snow boots (ones you can wear on the plane are best).
  • Shoe grips (there is a lot of ice on roads, paths and car parks). I found these Yaktraks very good (https://www.yaktrax.co.uk) but any with metal studs will be fine.
  • Walking boot gaiters – idea for on the beach or if we have heavy snow.
  • Wool based warm socks.
  • A warm coat – a down jacket is ideal but the waterproof coat must go over it.
  • Head torch (preferably with a red light setting). The red light protects your night vision (https://briankoberlein.com/2015/04/08/blinded-by-the-light/)

You should avoid bringing jeans or other cotton based trousers as these stay wet and lose their insulating properties very quickly.

Camera equipment

In order to capture the northern lights or to take night time shots a camera which can operate manually in respect of exposure, lens aperture and focus is needed. For most of the other photography any digital camera will be fine. The site www.dpreview.com is a good starting place if looking for advice about a camera. The College also has a number of DSLR Canon cameras and some tripods that can be loaned to participants; please speak to a member of staff who can advise.

  • Camera bag (preferably waterproof).
  • lens cloth.
  • Ideally, a camera with an interchangeable lens. A wide angle lens, standard zoom and telephoto will all be useful.
  • Tripod – Essential for night photography but also for landscapes to ensure a sharp image that is well composed.
  • Rain cover for camera and for its bag (if not waterproof).
  • At least two 32Gb memory cards for the trip as they will be hard to find and expensive.
  • A laptop (optional) for editing images.
  • Spare camera battery and charger (we will be taking a lot of photographs).
  • All electrical sockets are European two pin so at least one adapter is essential.
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