The past 17 days I’ve been in Iceland, leading a winter tour for Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris.  My group encountered wild weather, everything from a snow storm to high winds to driving rain to clear skies and bright sunshine…and all on the same day.

For me, there were two photographic highlights.  We worked several hours in a glacial ice cave in Vatnajokull National Park, and the resulting images are pure graphic design.  And toward the end of the trip we were lucky to enjoy a spectacular aurora borealis which lasted for hours.  I’ve seen the aurora many times before, but this one was an incredibly awesome display, with extremely intense colors filling the entire night sky.

Below are my two favorite shots from the trip.  Both were taken with a Nikon D810.  I used my 24-70mm for the ice cave image (at ISO 64), and my 14-24mm for the aurora (at ISO 2500).  FYI, I’ll be leading this tour again in March 2016 and an ice cave shoot is definitely on the schedule.  While an auroral display cannot be guaranteed, we will certainly be out photographing if it happens.  For tour info, see


Ice cave, Vatnajokull National Park.


Aurora borealis display.



  1. Andrew McLachlan April 5, 2015 at 3:03 pm #

    Hi John, these are fabulous images. The ice cave looks like it would be a ton of fun with oodles of photographic possibilities.

  2. Nancy Russell April 12, 2015 at 11:43 am #

    Wow John, Looks like a super trip. I really like both images but the ice caves are spectacular. It must have been a thrill to actually be in the cave. Any special reason for ISO of 64?

    • John April 12, 2015 at 4:14 pm #

      ISO 64 is the native base ISO of the D810, and there’s no reason to use any higher ISO.