Iceland as you’ve never seen it!

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Since silent arctic…

After wrapping up Silent Arctic in Greenland, Icelandic explorer and I knew that we had completed a truly epic adventure. We realised that the basis of this journey was Opal; the magnificent, silent schooner of the Arctic.

When we found out that Opal would be spending the winter in Reykjavik, we saw the opportunity to create a different kind of adventure: one which would give you the ability of see Iceland in a totally different light and angle, with all the joys of being at sea on a journey which very few have ever taken.

Sail the western winds

Here, the photography opportunities are immense, we will sail around the Snæfellsnes Peninsula, the famous Snæfellsjökull glacier and volcano combo and experience some of the most dramatic and jagged coastlines in Iceland.

The following day, we will get to know some of the fjords of this peninsula, which are remarkable for the fact that they bare host to schools of herring, which attract Orcas. This is one of the main reasons why we are undertaking this journey, and we seek to experience a feeding event and be with the Orcas.

Western Winds Photographic workshop Iceland
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The dark side of kirkjufell

As we progress around the pensinsula, we will sail past the iconic “Church Mountain” “Kirkjufell” and continue to the Breiðafjöður area, and huge and unique cluster of islands and islets with a population of Eagles, which we may be lucky enough to see. On the third day, we head back to Reykjavik and on the final day, we edit, print and unwind at The Space.

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Scaling Within Aboard the Schooner

Embark on an internal expedition as well. Meredith Kathleen Neumann of Scaling Within will be joining to guide us on an inner journey to connect to the truest parts of ourselves. We will disconnect from the noise and learn to be present to the majesty around us and within us. One thing you can be sure, you will not return home the same.

Learn a simple but cutting-edge framework from the field of neurobiology that will expand your capacity to:

  • Act from intention rather than reaction with increased self-awareness

  • Eliminate self-doubt and silence your ‘inner critic’

  • Make clear and rational decisions without feeling overwhelmed or withdrawn

  • Maintain meaningful relationships with improved communication

Meredith Kathleen Neumann, MS, LMFT

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Meredith helps entrepreneurs and business leaders identify and overcome internal barriers & limiting mindsets, access their inner potential and turn challenges into opportunities for success. She calls this work Scaling Within. With 10+ years of experience as a Licensed Therapist, Meredith brings to the marketplace a deep understanding of brain neurology, individual wiring, and practical tools to enhance performance. This background helps her quickly identify underlying issues, enabling her clients to level up both professionally and personally. Meredith is based in Minneapolis, MN and has a deep passion for the Nordic nations.

Meredith will be onboard the Opal for the duration of our journey. She will facilitate an evening learning session and be on hand to answer any questions you might have, with a possibility for brief 1-1 consulting sessions if the schedule allows.  

AN EPIC GROUP DYNAMIC, ALL-INCLUSIVE.

Equally as important as the journey itself, are the people that you do it with.

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A group for the ages…

Each of our teams of participants is carefully chosen from the applications that we receive, and we do our utmost to ensure that we create that most diverse, dynamic group possible. Many times, we represent nearly 10 countries between us!

Having so many new experiences with so many new people creates very powerful bonds between everyone involved, fomenting powerful and lasting friendships.  Below, you can see previous workshop participants reflect on the impressions that the workshop left on them.

A lasting impression

Silent Arctic was beautifully organized - the gorgeous schooner, the crew, the itinerary and most of all an amazing collection of like-minded individuals in the workshop! This experience with Gunnar & Joe took us deep within... the high arctic, the fjords, and yes - self-reflection. In a way, everything slows down for a week, and yet there is so much to absorb - valuable insights from the guys, the other participants, and the jaw-dropping beauty of the nature around you! With no distractions of everyday life, your focus is heightened and you can really think about how you want to grow your photography skills. Oh and chilling in the hot tub on deck isn’t bad either. They said there is life before Greenland and life after. They were right. I’m definitely going back!
— Ashwini Gupte, Silent Arctic 2018
The photography workshop led by Joe Shutter and Gunnar Freyr gave me depth and insight on the world of wildlife photography. The experience allowed me to grow as a photographer. From shooting to editing, Joe and Gunnar provide insightful, honest tips and tricks on how to navigate the overwhelming world: camera, equipment, social media and Lightroom. In addition, the lifelong friends I made in the workshop have challenged me to be a better creative
— Mia Nguyen, Melrakki Arctic Fox Workshop in Iceland's Westfjords, Nov. 2017.

PURE TRANQUILITY.

In a world where we are constantly at the mercy of notifications and the next bite-sized piece of information, it is easy to forget what it means to switch off. On board our glorious schooner, we will be humbled by a true sense of disconnection from the outside world. This is silence, through and through.

Western Winds Photographic workshop Iceland
Western Winds Photographic workshop Iceland

Shoot. Sail. Edit. Print.

The Full Creative process from start to finish, with sails added!

In the digital age, physical objects are a luxury; particularly photos, many of which never see the light of day after they’ve been shot, condemned to gathering digital dust on a hard drive forevermore.

This is why we feel it is so important to see your photos on print, and we wouldn’t have it any other way. The feeling of holding YOUR photos in YOUR hands is indescribably and incredibly satisfying.

We have teamed up with The Space Reykjavik to bring you this amazing and extra special feature of printing right after the workshop is done. The print itself will then be mailed to you once you are home, a few days after the end of the trip.

Western Winds Photography Expedition Iceland
Opal  under the northern lights in Greenland

Lady Aurora

There is a high chance of seeing Northern Lights during this period of winter in Iceland. If we were to see the lights it would indeed by splendid. 

DESTINATIONS & ROUTE

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REYKJAVIK, ICELAND

The world's most Nothern capital. A hotbed of art, music and culture. We meet here, and then venture forth. At the end of the workshop, we will also print here, at The Space Reykjavik.  

Western Winds Photographic Expedition Iceland

Snæfellsnes Peninsula, Iceland

Visible from Reykjavik on a clear day and most famous for the volcano located at the end of the peninsula, we will sail around this magnificent peninsula, glacier and volcano.

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Breiðafjörður, ICELAND

The Breiðafjörður region is a veritable wildlife oasis, itself a cluster of hundreds of small islands. There is a native population of eagles living on the islands and there will be more chances to see the Orcas again.

Western Winds Photographic workshop Iceland
Ice around Snaefellsnes peninsula
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Western Winds Photographic workshop Iceland

Grundafjörður, Iceland

The small fishing village of Grundafjordur is surrounded by remarkable fjords, many of which hold the schools of herring which the Orcas come to feed on. Our best chance of seeing the orcas will be at the mouthes of these fjords.

Orcas feeding on fish in open sea, Norway
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Stykkishólmur, Iceland

Further along, but not far away lies the town of Stykkisholmur. We will likely disembark here and get to know the town.

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Western Winds Photographic Expedition Iceland
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OPAL: THE SILENT SCHOONER OF THE ARCTIC

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Schooners are fabled for the ability to sail silently through the seas. Usually however, schooners cary a backup diesel motor for more precise manoeuvring. However, Opal has state-of-the-art technology: it is a schooner with an electric motor. Result? A blissfully silent experience form beginning to end. The Opal Schooner is provided by our incredible partners North Sailing.


Opal: Deck and Cabins

This two-masted schooner has sailed all over the world, completing several trans-Atlantic crossings, being carefully maintained through the years. Opal joined North Sailing´s fleet in early 2013 and has since undergone restoration and had interior work done to better fit her for the new purpose as an expedition ship.

SCHOONER OPAL: THE FACTS

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GROSS TONNAGE:   65

LOA:   33 M (LOD 24M)

BEAM:   7 M

SAIL AREA:   380 SQM

HULL MATERIAL:   OAK

BUILT:   DAMGARTEN, GERMANY

BUILT/REBUILT:   1951/1973–1981

PASSENGER CAPACITY:   60

ENGINE:   SCANIA

KW/HORSEPOWER:   209/288

PORT OF REGISTRY:   HÚSAVÍK

FLAG:   ICELAND

WHO ARE YOU?

Western Winds Photographic Expedition Iceland
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Western Winds Photographic Expedition Iceland

Western Winds is open to 10 wildlife, adventure and photography enthusiasts. We will focus on capturing the dramatic, humbling landscapes that surround us in these epic, barely-visited locations.

Gunnar and I will be providing a very small group experience, limited to just 10 participants. This means that we will be able to focus our attention and expertise on technique and locations, thereby making sure that our participants get the right shots.

ITINERARY

Day 1

  • Initial group meet up, breakfast and round table at The Space Reykjavik

  • Transfer over to the Harbour for boarding Opal

  • Briefing by captain and crew onboard

  • Sail north towards the Snæfellsnes

  • Arrive on main location by the end of the day

Day 2

  • Wake up to our first full breakfast on board Opal

  • Explore the western peninsula of Snæfellsnes

  • Sail into some of the fjords and hope to find Orcas!

 

day 3

  • Spend the morning exploring The Breiðafjöður

  • Start sailing back to Reykjavik

  • Arrive in Reykjavik

  • Print file handover and farewell session to say goodbye to the group.

YOUR PHOTOGRAPHY TEAM

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ICELANDIC EXPLORER

Icelandic by birth but raised in Denmark, Gunnar threw in the towel on the corporate life in Denmark to pursue his dream of being a photographer. Two years later, he has resolutely achieved that dream, embarking on a life-long mission, exploring Iceland ever since. He places adventure at the heart of his lifestyle, and his expertise will be invaluable over the coarse of the workshop

JOE SHUTTER

A Londoner by birth, Joe originally came to live in Iceland in for University, not knowing what lay ahead.

He then discovered Iceland's remarkable landscape. Through the lens and many years of exploration, Joe connected with the landscape in a profound way, and now uses his expertise to help others to discover their own connections.

Western Winds Photography Expedition Iceland

need to know

  • Dates

    • Western Winds 1: Feb 25-27

    • Western Winds 2: Mar 25-27

  • Cost: €2995

    Places: 10 spots available for each sailing


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WHAT'S INCLUDED?

  • All accommodation onboard Opal

  • All meals, from Breakfast on day 1 through to lunch on day 3

  • Additional side excursions and stops along the way.

  • Photography guidance:

    • Wildlife Photography

    • Landscape Photogrpahy

    • Dramatic/situational portraiture

    • Aerial Photography at every opportunity.

  • Image & exposure analysis in-the-field, as-we-shoot

  • Editing and post-production workflow advice from beginning-to-end.

  • Social media advice and assistance.

  • One day of Space Time at The Space Reykjavik

  • An A2 fine art PRINT, printed on site immediatel y after the workshop at The Space Reykajvik on Hahnemule Photo Rag Fine Art: archive-quality paper.

  • Access to a range of old school, nautical and vintage themed props on board Opal for lifestyle photoshoots.

  • A personal disposable camera for you to use during your time on board.

  • Scaling Within coaching from Meredith


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WHAT'S NOT INCLUDED?

  • Your flights to- and from- Iceland.

  • Personal travel insurance, including for camera gear.

  • Provision of photography equipment.

  • Miscellaneous gear that you might need for the workshop.

  • Make sure you are well-equipped for the Icelandic climate, it can be very temperamental. See below for more queries and questions.

  • We highly recommend that all participants have separate camera insurance for their gear.

Western Winds Photographic Expedition Iceland

SOME QUESTIONS, ANSWERED.

  • WhAT LEVEL OF PHOTOGRAPHY DO WE REQUIRE?

    • We welcome all levels of photography expertise. What we want to see is that you love photography, hopefully will fall in love with Greenland and want to learn more, push it, take it to the next level, and take in the atmosphere and experience of working with other creatives in an epic context.

  • HOW FIT DO I NEED TO BE?

    • There will be some hiking once we set foot on shore from the vessel, so you need to be prepared for this, but in general there won't be much hiking on this workshop.

  • SHOULD I BRING A DRONE?

    • If you have one, absolutely! If you don't, consider getting one! West Iceland is a fantastic location to drone. Of course, we won't be doing any droning around or above wildlife because we need to be as sensitive to their environment as possible. Non-flying cameras only!

  • HOW MUCH CAMERA GEAR CAN I BRING?

    • Our greatest recommendation in this regard is that you bring a telephoto lens (which are surprisingly useful for landscape photography)Canon have a superb 100-400mm which would be invaluable. Nikon also also have a brand new 200-500mm ( which I own and use) and an 80-400mm.

    • That being said, bring what you have. In general, consider bringing a range of focal lengths: wide-angle (e.g, 24mm) standard (e.g, 50mm) and a telephoto (e.g, 85mm or above). A large part of the workshop will be about making the most out of the equipment that you already have.

    • DSLR/Mirrorless/Tripod.

WHAT OTHER EQUIPMENT DO I NEED NO BRING?

  • Down coat to spend long periods outside and in comfort. Greenland is cold as it is, so you can imagine that it will be colder at sea! North Sailing, our partner for the charter, provide war overalls for the voyage so no need to go crazy with the down insulation.

  • Good, sturdy, ankle-or-above hiking boots.

  • Waterproof coat (GORE-TEX or similar).

  • Base layer.

  • Mid-layer.

  • Backpack to carry your gear and other things you might need during the day.

  • Water bottle, or collapsible bag like a Hydra-Pak.

  • WHAT AND WHERE WILL WE EAT?

    • All meals are included on board Schooner Opal, and provided by North Sailing, our partner in this charter.

  • I'M A VEGETARIAN, WHAT SHOULD I DO?

    • Let us know! I't won't be a problem at all, but it is something that we need to know in advance.

  • WILL I SEE THE NORTHERN LIGHTS?

    • If it's dark and it is clear and we are a bit lucky then yes!

  • HOW WILL THE WEATHER BE IN iceland?

    • The Icelandic climate varies considerably, on a season-to-season and year-to-year basis. Having said that, the temperatures will range between from -5 to +5 celcius throughout the day and nights. Wind, snow and precipitation (or some combination of the three) is to be expected in an Greenlandic winter at any time.

Western Winds Photographic Expedition Iceland

secure your spot in the western winds

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We get a lot of applications for our workshops: tell us a little bit about yourselves, and why you want to come out with us.

we can't wait to see you out there!

Western Winds Photographic Expedition Iceland