Yosemite Valley and Iceland: Lands of Great Light!

Private Yosemite Photography workshops learning how to find great light.
Yosemite Falls ©MarkJansenPhotography.com

I really had time to think after returning from Yosemite Valley recently. I was struck by the similarities and quality in light of Yosemite Valley and Iceland. They both have great photographic light. We frequently hold photography workshops in both locations for one specific reason, the opportunities for great backdrops, paired with unsurpassed light.

After spending the last 2 1/2 weeks in Yosemite guiding and teaching Private Photography Workshops, I was struck by the quality of changing light from one end of the valley to the other. The weather pouring in and leaving the valley provides the best options for magic moments. It’s much like Iceland’s variations of weather, but on a delicate and compact scale. Iceland experiences extreme fluxes in weather more rapidly than Yosemite. In Iceland, you can have sun, rain, snow, and wind over a few minutes or hours that can provide amazing photographic opportunities. The cold arctic weather off the Greenland coast moves systems through quickly while colliding with the warming Gulf stream as it snakes around Iceland’s Island coastline, especially in winter.

Yosemite Valley also has extreme changes in weather, but much slower as its deep valley is subject to its own special micro-climate, not found in many locations. Its stunning beauty is locked in by 3000′ granite walls. They push and pull high clouds and fog as small low and high-pressure systems (combined with early morning and late afternoon light) paint its walls and waterfalls with magic light.

Great places to photograph in Iceland
Ice Storm Iceland ©MarkJansenPhotography.com

Iceland has a treasure trove of volcanic and glacial backdrops. Combined with the waterfalls and a chance to shoot the Aurora Borealis, it’s also an essential stop for any serious landscape photographer. If you hit it right, both Yosemite Valley and Iceland offer you the best chance of experiencing something unique and special. Both places will enhance your photographic experience. You just need to be willing to step outside your comfort zone a bit in order to take your landscape photography to the next level and we can take you there!

Mark Jansen Photographer

All the best,
Mark Jansen


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Mark’s interest in photography and love for landscape photography draws him into some amazing places and he freely shares this knowledge on his photography workshops. He researches his subjects extensively, making many trips to selected areas waiting for the perfect light, an interesting approach to the subject, and just the right moment. His goal of "freezing time for others to enjoy" is what drives him to create his visions and teach workshops.

Mark offers photographic workshops in numerous U.S. and International locations with his business, Jansen Photo Expeditions. He is an expert and personable instructor, expedition leader and award winning, visionary photographer. 

Mark has over 25 years of professional fine art and photographic experience. He has a passion for landscape and classic aviation photography and provides large scale commercial installations of his fine art photographic murals and print works throughout California. He works with both small and large corporate businesses in helping them project a powerful impact through his images.


About Mark and Holly
Mark and Holly Jansen
Jansen Photo Expeditions
(805) 701-8807 or

Email: Mark@markJansenphotography.com

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