Visionary Wild, LLC • 2200 19th St. NW, Ste 806, Washington, DC 20009

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Justin Black – Managing Director: 1-202-302-9030 • Email:

Jennifer Woolley – Director of Operations • Email:

We look forward to hearing from you!


Limit 10 spaces | $12,500* Closed
Expedition July 7 - 16, 2017 | View other workshops

Birds of Iceland with Chris Linder and Gerrit Vyn

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Join arctic explorer Chris Linder and Cornell Lab of Ornithology photographer Gerrit Vyn for this unique photographic experience during prime puffin chick-rearing season on a diligently customized route around northwest Iceland.

Iceland’s steep, rocky coastline explodes with life in the summer months. Atlantic puffins, black guillemots, northern fulmars, and kittiwakes all raise their chicks here before returning to a life at sea.  Our primary subject will be the colorful, charismatic Atlantic puffin, and we will be visiting some of the best locations for puffin photography in the world. In addition to Iceland’s cliff-dwelling seabirds, we will also spend time looking for tundra breeding birds including red-throated loons, tufted duck, black-tailed godwit, whimbrel, European golden plover, red-necked phalarope, and redshank.

Renowned bird photographers Chris Linder and Gerrit Vyn will lead this nine-night photo workshop for ten participants, which will be focused on the remote Westfjords region of Iceland. Chris is a repeat visitor to Iceland, making his familiarity with the best photography locations, timing for optimal light, and personal contacts there a great benefit for the expedition. He is the 2015 Nature's Best Photography Windland Smith Rice International Awards winner for the birds category and recently completed an assignment on climate change impacts on Icelandic puffin populations. Gerrit's 2016 photography book, The Living Bird, was a New York Times Bestseller and he continues to travel around the world to document wildlife and conservation stories. He is well-experienced in creating powerful photography, particularly showcasing birds as they can show affects from climate change and environmental challenges.

The itinerary has been carefully crafted based on numerous assignments to photograph Iceland’s puffins with Icelandic bird researchers, and includes some unique locations you won’t find on any other Icelandic photography tour.  The expedition was developed with the focus of puffin chick-rearing in mind; mid-July is the best time to capture images of puffins bringing bill-fulls of spaghetti-like sand eels back to their burrows.

Our small group will travel in comfort in a specially customized bus with room for everyone to have a window seat, complete with Wi-Fi and numerous power outlets to enable us to edit our images while we're on the road. When traveling to the next location, we will take advantage of photogenic opportunities of the Icelandic landscape. Chris and Gerrit scheduled exceptional locations for more instruction inland, such as tiered waterfalls, and will look out for serendipitous moments as the bus rolls onward.

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We will make the most of light and weather conditions each day. Accommodations will be at quality hotels, with all meals and beverages included. On the last evening of the trip, we’ll return to Reykjavík, enjoy a final celebratory dinner together and spend the night at the excellent Hotel Holt, located in the city center.

The focus of this expedition is photography in the field. Chris and Gerrit will provide generous hands-on mentorship, sharing their expertise and professional insights on developing creativity and personal vision, composition, working with various qualities of light and changing weather, capturing wildlife behavior, and working landscape scenarios to best effect.

Constructive critiques will be included in the schedule to help participants identify where they are succeeding and how they might focus their energies to advance their vision and skills. During critiques, emphasis is first placed on identifying what participants are doing right with regard to chosen subject and composition, followed by discussion of ways to improve the execution of the image in light of the emotional response, concepts, and aesthetics that led the photographer to make the image in the first place.

Attentive group support during the expedition will be provided by experienced Icelandic guides, Sigurður Einarsson (Siggi) and his wife, þorbjörg Guðrún Markúsdóttir (Bogga), who are used to catering to the needs and requirements of photographers, anticipating how to make this expedition a first-class travel photography trip.


July 7 – Arrival day in Reykjavik: Transfers to Reykjavik’s Hotel Holt will be arranged for inbound guests from Keflavik International Airport (KEF). During the afternoon, there will be group introductions and orientation at the hotel's private library where wine and coffee will be served, as well as a photography session at the city pond. Our first dinner as a group will be held at one of our favorite restaurants in Reykjavik, with a menu designed especially for us by the restaurant's chefs. Overnight in Reykjavik at Hotel Holt.

July 8 – Heading north: After an early breakfast at the hotel, we will drive north to the town of Stykkishólmur on the south coast of the large bay Breiðafjörður.  We will board the ferry Baldur, watching for puffins, white-tailed sea eagles, and other seabirds. Roughly halfway across the bay, we will disembark at the island of Flatey for a night on this tiny, picturesque island.  In the evening we will explore the island and photograph a variety of seabirds, including black guillemot, puffins, and arctic terns. Overnight at Hotel Flatey.

July 9 – Westfjords: After a morning photo session and breakfast at the hotel, we will board Baldur and continue transiting across the bay to the Westfjords.  Our hotel for the next three nights is located only a few minutes’ drive to the largest bird cliff in Europe, the famed Latrabjarg bird cliffs.  Early dinner and evening photo session at the cliffs. Overnight at Hotel Breiðavík.

July 10-11 – Latrabjarg: We have scheduled three nights at this remarkable location to maximize our chances of good light and interesting bird behaviors.  This is one of the few locations in Iceland where you will be able to photograph Atlantic puffins with wide angle lenses.  Their complete lack of fear of people means they will often land within touching distance.  In addition to the charismatic Atlantic puffins, we will also have the opportunity to photograph other cliff-nesting seabirds including kittiwakes, razorbills, guillemots, and fulmars. Overnight at Hotel Breiðavík.

July 12 –  waterfalls and fjords: After one final morning photo session at the Latrabjarg cliffs, we will continue driving northward through stunning Westfjords scenery. We will make a stop to photograph the seven-tiered waterfall Dynjandi  on our way to the small town of Ísafjörður.  After an early dinner we will board a boat for an evening tour of the island Vigur, where we will find black guillemots, arctic tern, and eider ducks. Overnight at Hotel Ísafjörður.

July 13 – Grímsey: After a quick morning shoot in the vicinity of Ísafjörður, we will drive around five deep fjords on the way to the town of Drangsnes, our base for the evening.  After an early dinner, we will take a short 10-minute boat ride to Grímsey Island for an evening shoot.  Grímsey has the largest offshore puffin colony in Iceland, with 30,000 puffin pairs, northern fulmars, and a cormorant and kittiwake colony on the northern shore.  Following our evening excursion, we can enjoy geothermally-heated public hot tubs right on the shore of the fjord! Our accommodation for the night will be Hotel Malarhorn.

July 14 – Drangey: We start the day with a morning shoot at the nearby ponds and then drive east to the town of Sauðárkrókur at the head of the bay Skagafjörður, where we will check into our hotel and have an early dinner.  That evening, we will visit the crown jewel of the puffin tour, Drangey Island, by boat.  We will have several hours in the evening on a private tour to explore this seabird haven.  The sound of thousands of seabirds wheeling overhead is almost deafening, and the views from the top of the island are exhilarating. Overnight in the main building of Hotel Tindastóll.

July 15 – Drangey and head south: In the morning we will revisit Drangey for another private tour to take advantage of morning light.  After a hearty lunch we will begin driving back to Reykjavik, with a stop at the massive Hraunfossar waterfall.  In the evening we will conclude with a celebratory dinner and slideshow, spending the night once again at Hotel Holt.

July 16 – Departure day: Wake up for breakfast at Hotel Holt, followed by time to see the sights and do souvenir shopping in Reykjavik's city center and waterfront for those leaving later in the day.


  • VISA: No visa is required for stays less than 90 days.
  • TRAVEL INSURANCE: We always strongly recommend arranging travel insurance. is excellent.
  • FLIGHTS: No flights are included. Please contact us if you would like recommendations regarding flights to and from Keflavik, Iceland (airport code: KEF)
  • GRATUITIES: Baseline tips are included. Our local guides, driver, and lodging staff work very hard to make our experience in Iceland be the best it can be, and Visionary Wild budgets for a healthy group tip in recognition of their services. Guests are encouraged to tip additionally if they would like to recognize exceptional service.

Chris Linder

Chris Linder is an award-winning professional photographer, filmmaker, and lecturer. Chris earned a master’s degree in oceanography from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and maintains a part-time affiliation with WHOI as an expedition photographer. For over a decade, Chris has focused on communicating science stories and inspiring the next generation of researchers. He has documented over 50 scientific expeditions and has spent over two years of his life exploring the polar regions.

Chris's images have appeared in museums, books, calendars, and international magazines, including Audubon, Geo (Germany), Nature’s Best, Outdoor Photographer, Smithsonian, and Wired.  He published the hardcover book Science on Ice: Four Polar Expeditions with the University of Chicago Press in Fall 2011.  He was the lead cinematographer and co-producer of the 2015 feature-length documentary film Antarctic Edge: 70 Degrees South.  Chris is a Senior Fellow in the International League of Conservation Photographers and a Fellow National in the Explorers Club.

His work is represented by Aurora Photos and Visuals Unlimited.

Assignments: coverage of 44 major scientific expeditions, including 25 to the polar regions. Recent assignments include the science trials of the new Alvin deep-diving submersible, climate change impacts on Icelandic puffin populations, and thawing permafrost in the Siberian Arctic.

Awards: Winner, 2015 Nature's Best Photography Windland Smith Rice International Awards, Birds category; Highly Honored, 2014 Nature's Best Photography Windland Smith Rice International Awards, Polar Passion category; Honorable Mention, 2012 International Conservation Photography Awards, Flora category; Highly Commended, 2010 BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year awards, In Praise of Plants category; Honorable Mention, 2010 International Conservation Photography Awards, Natural Environment at Risk category; Winner, 2008 Nature’s Best Windland Smith Rice International Photography Awards, Indigenous Cultures category.


The World’s Top Wildlife, Nature, and Culture Photographers by the iLCP, December 2015, Origin Magazine:

The New Stars of Photography, Smithsonian Magazine, March 2012 issue and online:

Can photos of ice help translate the science of climate change? by Jaymi Heimbuch, Mother Nature Network, February 11, 2014:

News From DC, The Polaris Project, And Reel Grrrls: interview with Marcie Sillman on Seattle's NPR station, KUOW, about my work photographing the Polaris Project in Siberia:

Recent Articles:

After the Revolution, Living Bird magazine, Winter 2016, feature story:

Southern Exposure, Audubon magazine, November-December 2015, feature story:

Science on Ice – Chris Linder's new book on polar exploration

Photographer's Guide to Cape Cod and the Islands, by Chris Linder

Visit Chris's website

Gerrit Vyn

Gerrit Vyn is a photographer and cinematographer for the world renowned Cornell Lab of Ornithology and a Fellow of the International League of Conservation Photographers. He leads expeditions around the world to document wildlife and conservation stories, often focusing on birds because they are such powerful indicators of environmental health and change. He is recognized widely for both his imagery and the deep knowledge of natural history and science he brings to his work. 

Gerrit's 2016 photography book, The Living Bird, was a New York Times Bestseller and his images appear regularly in publications including National Geographic, Audubon, BBC Wildlife, The New York Times, and National Wildlife. In addition to photography, Gerrit is a leading DSLR cinematographer and wildlife sound recordist. His audio and video work have been featured on radio and television programs including NPR’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross, NPR Morning Edition, and CBS Sunday Morning. He was the principal cinematographer for the 2105 PBS Nature episode, The Sagebrush Sea.

Gerrit photographs and teaches with both Nikon and Canon systems and especially enjoys helping clients not only understand their camera's better, but also their subject matter. He is a firm believer that knowing your subject matter is a key component to making great images.


  • Top-notch instruction throughout
  • Icelandic coastal regions and islands offshore the mainland
  • Dramatic seascapes and cliffs
  • Waterfalls, among the most stunning and photogenic in the world.
  • Ferry rides in Breiðafjörður, and boat tours and rides to the islands of Vigur, Grímsey, and Drangey
  • Small group of ten
  • Inclusive of excellent lodging and dining
  • Specially arranged group vehicle: two seats per person, Wi-Fi, power outlets recharging and laptops.
  • First-rate local guides and logistical support
  • Additional vehicle for logistical support (for running errands, scouting, any emergencies, etc.), to maximize your time for photography in the field.

Accommodations & Travel

Single-occupancy hotel rooms, ranging from upscale accommodations at Hotel Holt of Reykjavik, to comfortable 3-star minimum guesthouse accommodations (best available) in more remote areas.

airplane iconcar iconfoot iconweather icon
Fly into Keflavik Airport, Reykjavík (KEF). Ground transportation is provided upon arrival. Hiking will be fairly easy, and no longer than three miles round-trip. Icelandic weather in July is cool and variable with a fairly even mix of sun, rain, and overcast. Typically, temperatures range between 65ºF high and 40ºF low.