So, you’ve booked your trip to Iceland and now you’re wondering what camera gear you’ll need to take?
It really depends on what time of year you go but some constants remain;
- Camera Bodies – I’d always recommend two. The weather can change so quickly regardless of the time of year that there’s a risk of getting one wet, or damage. You wouldn’t want to spend all that money travelling to Iceland only to lose a camera on the first day? It happened to me in 2015 but luckily I had a spare.
- Camera lenses – if you shoot with a DSLR/Mirrorless/M43 system, it’s likely you’ll have one or two lenses to chose from. The ideal set up would involve wide to telephoto, either in a single lens, like the Sony 24-240mm for the A7 series, Nikon 18-200, 28-300 or similar, or a range of lenses that cover your required focal lengths. I shoot with primes, apart from the 14-24mm, so will pack also the Sigma 24mm f/1.4 ART, Sigma 35mm f/1.4 ART, Nikon 85mm f/1.4 and Nikon 200mm f/2. What’s the reason for having so much coverage at the wide end? I shoot time lapse too and often have both camera’s set up getting slightly different angles. Also, back to my point on time of year, you’ll want your lens to have as fast as possible aperture (smallest f/number) to let as much light in for Northern Lights.
- Tripod – don’t kid yourself that you’ll be able to rest your camera on a gate post, your partners head, the ground, and still get magnificent shots of the Northern Lights, or any other spectacular landscape for that matter. The wind can really whip up a treat so the bigger and heavier the better, and at least with a hook below to weight it down with your camera bag, or a bag of rocks. This is one circumstance where lighter isn’t better.
- Memory Cards – I shoot in raw. With a Nikon D4s and D800e, I fill up a lot of memory, very quickly, especially with the added complication of time lapse. If your camera is capable, I’d always recommend shooting in raw and then processing the photos, in a style that suits you, through software such as Adobe Lightroom or Capture One.
- Accessories – I always keep a bag of accessories with me that are useful wherever I shoot in the world. A tip I picked up from Elia Locardi during one of his workshops in Dubai was shower caps – invaluable to keep sand, light drizzle and mist, and generally the environment out of your camera gear. Coupled with an elastic band they’re easy and quick. Another item is a remote release for my camera so I can lock up the mirror and shoot without touching the camera body on a tripod. Finally, some spare batteries – specific batteries for the cameras, plus AA/AAA batteries for remotes, torches etc.