"Life can only be understood backwards;
but it must be lived forwards."
...in others´ words
I hope you're doing well. I’ve been meaning to write you a thank you note for a wonderful workshop. I had a fantastic time during our trip to the Highlands and South Coast. This was my first landscape photography workshop, and it exceeded all expectations. We had participants with varying levels of photography knowledge and experience, and you were able to provide a perfect balance of time in the field, hands-on teaching, post-processing education, plus a few brief stops for sightseeing. Your attention to detail, monitoring of the ever-changing weather patterns, and concern for our safety were much appreciated. From the first day, your warm camaraderie, fun banter, and humor set a great tone for our trip, and our group responded very well accordingly. Despite the weather being a little tough at times, I'm very glad we still went out every day looking for a few moments of nice light to get a good image (especially at the blue lake in the Highlands). An extra bonus I did not expect was your role as “tour guides” to teach us about the amazing and beautiful land we were visiting. I want to thank you again for an awesome workshop and an experience I will not forget. I hope to join you for another workshop in the future. Save a spot in the van for me!
All the best,
Thor/Thomas, just wanted to thank you guys again for a great workshop in Iceland..
Thor, I know that you personally might have been a bit disappointed that the conditions were not better for photography, but I wanted to let you know that the workshop overall exceeded my expectations. You guys were always available to help with photography tips, insight to this wonderful place, and with good humor too. Really appreciated how you both went "above and beyond" trying to maximize our experience given the conditions. You were always a couple steps ahead in your contingency plans. I was challenged not only with the photography, but also getting to some of these places in less that ideal conditions (wind, waves, hills, rocks, and rain). It would have been disappointing if you had limited that. It has inspired me to not only up my photographic "game", but to be more physically prepared the next time as well. Hopefully with a better choice of clothing layers too..
I do hope that our paths cross again in the future, but until then, I will follow your ventures online. I wish you much success in achieving your personal and professional dreams! And as the famous saying goes:
"Not all who wander are lost, but they sometimes leave nasty foot prints in the sand.."
The entire workshop was fantastic. You and Mike worked seamlessly together and gave the group a feeling of home away from home. You both put the needs of the little lambs before your own and I am truly grateful for that. On top of that, Y'ALL worked tirelessly as meteorologists and navigational stewards to find us the best light in the best of locations while also avoiding large touristy crowds. I enjoyed the personal approach you each took in helping each of the lambs to individually achieve their goals. The accommodations were also great (during the short time we spent there haha).
I wouldn't change a moment of it for anything. Again, I am so incredibly lucky and beyond grateful to have been given this opportunity and I cannot thank you enough. Please, if you ever need anything, I will do all that I can to help. (Visit DC!?)
This Tour exceeded my hopes and expectations by a mile/kilometer (pick one…). A marvelous agenda of landscapes to visit, with lots of time at each location to explore the possibilities. Impressed and appreciated Thor and Tom’s agility to swiftly come up with a brilliant Plan B, and C and so on, as mandated by Iceland’s notorious fierce and changing weather. At each of the many epic locations, Thor and Tom would circulate among the group with helpful photo support and encouragement, and share their thoughts on the photos they were shooting themselves. Additionally, I was so fortunate to be part of a warmhearted, talented and generous group of follow photographers – no doubt I learned something valuable from everyone. Thank you for a true adventure …looking forward to the next!
All the best,
I want to thank you and Mike Mezeul for a fantastic experience in Iceland's Highlands and South Coast this past month. I have thought long and hard about why the tour was so successful - here are my reasons: You and Mike provided the best experience possible by emphasizing safety at all times, collaborating continually to ensure we had the best opportunities for great photos given the constantly changing weather patterns (using more Apps than I knew existed), providing excellent information regarding the places we were going to and through, challenging us to compose our shots more thoughtfully; providing great tips on gear use (especially use of the 10-stop ND filter and the grads as well), communicating with all of us to ensure we were all on the same page, and creating an atmosphere of community within our group. I also noted your ability to listen to intuition and experience to guide your suggestions. Bringing us into the decision making was also a first for me - and most appreciated. I'll never forget the group deciding to go shooting instead of "weathering in" for a post processing session. As I recall - we got some of our best shots when we all decided to get out there and do the dance with the weather! You and Mike also moved me to "get right" with Lightroom and Photoshop to bring out the best in my photos. Your demonstrations showed me what was possible with a little bit of work in these programs. The vehicles and other gear you brought to the party is excellent and well suited to travel in the Highlands especially. I was very comfortable in these vehicles at all times - and enjoyed the great views passing before our eyes!
On balance, I'd do it ALL over again in a minute!
Thanks for everything!
Quite simply if you are considering any type of photographic tour or workshop in Iceland you need to use Thor...FULL STOP!
My family recently enjoyed an absolutely wonderful week with Thor touring Iceland. He came highly recommended by some of the best workshop leaders and landscape photographers around such as Nick Page and Thomas Heaton and we were certainly not disappointed! In addition to being a terrific teacher, his genuine enthusiasm and local knowledge were infectious and really helped to provide a wonderful context for the photography. His demeanor puts everyone at ease regardless of their level of competency. He retains a wonderful sense of humor, patience and seemingly endless creativity in the face of ever changing weather conditions and requests!
In summary, I would unreservedly recommend Thor.
G.B.Smith, Maryland, USA
With a name like Thor, you’d expect a lot from your guide! And you won’t be disappointed. Knowledgeable in so many aspects of the guiding process needed for a dedicated photographic experience, in and around Iceland. Our group, eleven in all, were subject to the realities of an Icelandic winter – storms, both sleet and snow, howling winds, sideways blizzards and the occasion glimpse of solar colour. But though it all we were offered an opportunity to shoot sunsets, sunrises and some of the most dramatic landscapes on earth. Thor’s local knowledge combined with his great personal photographic skill, enabled us to go home with memorable shots and a lasting positive impression of his homeland. On top of that, a sense of humour – needed at times to keep our ‘crowd’ based in reality. I don’t think you could find better, and if you choose Thor you’d never be disappointed.
Dr. Chris Underhill
Phoenix, AZ USA
Definitely an outstanding Photographic Workshop/Tour of Southern Iceland. We had all kinds of weather thrown at us but inside the Ice Cave all was calm and quiet - at least for us humans. No doubt the ice in the cave was feeling the huge amount of pressure it was under from its parent glacier. Thor was a top man as far as tours go - knowledgeable about locations, knowledgeable about cameras (he seemed to know where everything was no matter which camera you were using), even helped us poor helpless folk who couldn't bend over far enough because of being trussed up like a turkey in winter gear, to put on crampons. AND to cap it all, he is an all-round nice man.
Retired and enthusiastic about photography - I’ll never stop learning.
We, a group of 4 friends, joined Thor's 4-day photo workshop from 18-22/10/2014. Our main concern had always been the weather as it rains a lot in October in Iceland. To our surprise, Thor could always keep us away from the rain despite the weather was not good in the 4 days. Since the weather changes quickly in Iceland, the weather forecast cannot tell every details for every moment. That's why Thor kept tracking the weather condition in the area we traveled on the phone all the time and drove to areas where we could take photos without getting wet.
The last day we supposed to have a long drive from Akureyri, the city at North, back to the Capital, Reykjavik so that we didn't expect to shoot much that day. However, Thor still managed to squeeze some times for us to shoot a snow covered waterfall, horses under snow storm, sunset at the Dinosaur Rock. The most amazing part happened that evening when we're having a quick meal in a refilling station, Thor spotted there would be a short period of time of clear sky in that area and the aurora forecast seemed good that night. He asked us finish our food quickly and drove us to a lake nearby. That night, only around 7pm, we witnessed a very strong and beautiful aurora, green, pink and purple jumping around. Thor gave us a clear guidance on how to shoot auroua. Everyone was very satisfied and happy.
Before we traveled to Iceland, some friends suggested us to drive ourselves as the road system was quite simple in Iceland and it would be cheaper. But after this tour, we consider it's a very, very wise decision to join a local photo tour. You will need someones who know the area well and know how to keep track of the ever-changing weather condition in order to get to the nice spot at the right time. More importantly, he drove very steadily even under snow storm that would however be a great challenge to us.
Once again, I would like to take this opportunity to wholeheartedly thank Thor's professional service and advice. Without his dedication and professionalism, we won't be able to get some stunning photo shots in such bad weather and short period.
Visiting Iceland in Winter had been on my bucket list for ages but I didn’t have the confidence to hire my own vehicle and drive everywhere in extreme conditions, nor did I want to join a large group of photographers because with only 4 hours shooting time per day, I knew I would not be prepared to compromise.I decided to hire a knowledgeable, local guide with a background in professional photography for a one-to-one tour and I’m so glad I did. He was worth every penny.Thor is a creative photo-guide with a positive, can-do attitude who listens carefully to what kind of shots you want to get and alters the itinerary to try to achieve this for you. He is flexible, easy-going and a skilled driver. I felt very safe and would heartily recommend him. Can’t wait to go back.
When it comes to the best that Iceland has to offer, Thor sets the bar. He was informative and helpful in teaching us the tricks to get the perfect tack sharp shots as he took us to some of the best and some lesser visited (but extremely beautiful!) sites. He expertly adjusted our plans based on the unpredictable weather that we continually ran into and we managed to get 90% of our planned shots and some awesome unplanned shots as well. There is just no comparison when choosing whether to join a group tour or get an expert guide like Thor. We learned so much from him!
Sr Product Marketing Manager at Microsoft
Working with Thor was a real highlight of my recent trip to Iceland. I truly believe we would not have seen half of the places we saw if it wasn’t for him taking us there, and the pictures we got were magnificent.
He knew so much about the area as well as photography and was very willing to share that knowledge with myself and the rest of my friends on tour with me. He even recommended a few pieces of equipment that have made a difference in my day to day photography work.
Thanks for the tour Thor!
Director / Photographer
Hi Thor, We missed those days in Iceland... your tailor made photography tour this Oct and the beautiful scenic spots in Northern Iceland. With your professional advice and local expertise in Iceland, take us to the best photography spots and arrive at the right time for shooting. Waterfalls, Northern lights, Iceland horses...etc, these are all we are looking for. Though we encountered a snow storm and extreme weather on one day, you managed to find places with nice shooting opportunity for us, we're lucky and happy to see this as a great adventure. Thanks for taking us in this nice photography journey.
Fanny Hui, from Hong Kong
Hi, I, with Carl, Fanny, and Andrea from HK, joined you in a 4 days' tour to the North-Western part of Iceland, incl. Snaefellsnes Peninsula. Despite of the fair weather, you had been trying hard to bring us the best of the route. We went to the Dinosaur Rock twice, simply because there was a chance to capture the sunset light. There were many scenic spots, waterfalls, but timing was just well spent without pressure. The mystical Northern light was the highlight to end up our tour, and you had been kind to let us record it disregarding the late hours that you would suffer. That occasion happened to be the best for our whole stay in Iceland. I've no doubt to recommend your tours. You had displayed the best patience, professionalism, and our safety.
Sanford Lee, from Hong Kong
On our third trip to the otherworldly island of Iceland, my husband and I did a seven-day photography tour covering the Ring Road with Thorarinn Jonsson in the beginning of November 2016. In addition to expanding our love for Iceland, we came to hold Thor in the highest regard. Thor was very attentive to our desire to see the iconic waterfalls, the northern lights, ice caves, and the glacier lagoon. Specifically, we covered Kirkjufellsfoss in the West, Kolugljúfurfoss, Godafoss, Dettifoss, Aldeyjarfoss, and the Myvatn mud pools in the North, Vestrahorn, Jokulsarlon, the Blue Diamond Ice Cave, and Svartifoss in the South East, and Dyrholaey, Seljalandsfoss, and a brief stop in the Highlands around Vik.
From a photography perspective, without Thor’s guidance, we would not have gotten as many prized “keeper” shots as we had hoped for. Thor – a top-notch photographer – met the needs of my husband – an avid amateur photographer – and myself – who barely knew the location of the shutter button. He enhanced our understanding of photography gear, technical concepts and settings, composition, and post-processing. Although we could’ve visited most of the sites on our own, Thor planned which spots we should tackle based on his predictions for rain, wind, sunrise/sunset, what the sunlight would illuminate, high/low tide, and the type of cloud coverage. Additionally, by following his smart tips and safety advice, we were able explore unique perspectives and venture into the water for better framing.
In addition to photography, Thor also made the rest of the experience enjoyable and comfortable. His skilled maneuverability and deluxe car gave us peace of mind when facing challenging driving conditions, which, at times, included high winds, rain/sleet/snow, one lane roads, and pot holes. His knowledge of Iceland’s geology and history also complemented the sites we saw during our road-trip. Notably, Thor’s flexibility, humor, and hospitality made it easy to forge a friendship with him. For example, Thor roughed it with us when it came to food, he secured early breakfast for us so we could hit the road early, he didn’t hold a grudge when I lost his coffee mug or my husband short-circuited hotels, and, most importantly, he used his connections to upgrade our ice cave tour to a private tour.
No criticisms of the tour or Thor come to mind at all. In an ideal world, the only things we would’ve changed were: 1) perfect weather all the time (thankfully, we only had two days of major rain), 2) discussing our previous trips to Iceland and specific “must sees” with Thor prior to the trip (we did get to see our “must sees,” but this may have helped Thor with planning if we notified him earlier), and 3) really heeding his safety advice (suffice to say, his projected consequences were accurate).
Overall, we felt truly fortunate for the once-in-a-lifetime experience that the photography tour with Thor provided us. We look forward to our next adventure with Thor in Iceland.
-Brandon and Tanvi
I contacted Thor with a special request - turn his normal photo tour into a proposal surprise with my new Fiancée. Although he doesn't normally take "people photos" he was willing to do it! He helped me plan the special day and decide on an itinerary based on the weather forecast as it kept changing even the day before. Thor took us to many beautiful locations and took incredible photos of our proposal and of the two of us posing on the landscapes. Thor has a great sense of humour and made sure we had a perfect day.
Cheers and thanks so much for going out of your comfort zone to make our proposal a very special day!
One of the highlights of our trip to Iceland was our photography tour with Thor. Although the weather was not the best, Thor did a great job in trying to find the best places for us to take our photos under the circumstances. He was very helpful in giving us some good photography tips. We ended the trip with a magnificent view of a lovely crater lake at sunset. In addition, Thor was extremely helpful in providing suggestions about other great places to see along our Ring Road trip of Iceland.
"I'm delighted Thor was our guide for our photography tour of Iceland because he was very generous with his time and even let me borrow some of his equipment. He was very knowledgeable and was happy to spend time with me offering advice and assistance with setting up my camera. I learned a lot from Thor during the short time I spent with him and am very grateful to him. I will definitely contact Thor in the hope he is available when I next visit Iceland! I cannot recommend him highly enough."
As far as dislikes are concerned - well your choice of music for a start!!!! - just kidding. I honestly cannot think of anything I particularly disliked - we all thoroughly enjoyed our day with you.
“In August of 2015 we went on a 3 day tour of the Icelandic highlands with Thor. We covered the Landmannalaugar region, a remote canyon named Eldgja, and quite a few other brilliant locations over that period.
The tour was fantastic - My son and I really enjoyed the locations that we visited, getting the images that I had envisioned along the way. Thor has an intimate knowledge of the best locations to shoot from in the highlands, and was willing to ‘go the extra mile’ to get us to those places. We drove through very rough terrain - F roads and glacial rivers, to reach the highlands, and tour around there - Thor’s expertise in keeping us safe was absolutely invaluable.
Thor & I hiked to several vantage points over the course of the 3 days, which made for the right type of images I wanted to capture - I had expressed that I wanted to get some elevated shooting spots prior to going on the tour, and Thor was able to take us to exactly the right areas.
As a reasonably experienced photographer, I was looking for help with getting me to the right locations as part of the tour, and Thor tailored the tour very well to my needs, after checking carefully with me before the tour started about what I wanted from the tour. His photography skills are outstanding so I would highly recommend him, regardless of the level of experience you may have.”
Thor was wonderful! Both a masterful photographer and teacher but also a knowledgable and fun guide on our first day in Iceland. He was extremely friendly and relaxed as he told us all about the cool things to do and where to go while in Iceland. Thor took my boyfriend and I on a day-trip from Rekjevik around the Snaefellsnes peninsula to some amazing spots, including lighthouses, majestic cliff-sides, black stone beaches and lovely waterfalls. At our first stop, the beach Djupalonssandur, my boyfriend proposed! All the time Thor taking wonderful long exposure photos of us near the waves. The rest of the day he took photos of my fiance and I in gorgeous Icelandic landscapes, answered all our photography questions and showed us how to best set up great landscape shots. We had such an amazing time-- and have the most beautiful pictures we will cherish always. Thanks, Thor!
-McCall Vollum & Nicolas Renold
When I decided to go to Iceland, I had to options. One, to rent a camper van and explore Iceland on my own with a GPS as my only companion. Two, to “rent” a local photography guide with local knowledge and experience, and a monster truck. I’m so glad I decided on option no 2. Not only does Thor has the knowledge and local experience that’s needed, he has a great sense of humor. We laughed so hard sometimes that my stomach hurt. He has both deep knowledge about Iceland’s history and a lot of fun small facts. Trivial Pursuit knowledge.
We had long talks when driving around the island, but we also had quiet moments which is important in my mind. To be able to quietly and comfortably sit next to each other from time to time.
You never feel stressed when touring with him. We don’t like stress, Thor and I….
On a side note, he bought me some "kæstur hákarl”. He loves it, I don’t. I had 2 pieces. The first and last 2 in my life I think.
Google it if you don’t know what it is.
P.s. I think Thor hates (!) it when I call his jeep a monster truck. I don’t care. It’s a monster truck! At least when I tell my friend about it.