There are many blog posts and videos about breaking the rules in photography. This post isn't actually about this. I personally believe that you should use or not use whatever rules you want to create images that you like.
No, this blog is about some of the rules and guidelines that we have in Iceland that are worth knowing about before you visit. I have picked a few common ones that I feel are the most important to be aware of. When people ignore these or break them they make national news here so they're not insignificant.
Don't Duck Ropes to Closed Off Areas...
...or ignore the signs restricting access to these areas. At many of the tourist locations you will come across areas that have been closed off. These can be marked by a simple sign or small rope barrier. Whilst they may seem easy to circumvent, and the area closed off may call out for you to hop over that rope, please don't!
There are two main reasons these areas are closed off.
For your own safety. The changing landscape here can mean that once safe footpaths may have eroded and may lead to a dangerous cliff, crevasse or other peril. In areas where there are geothermal hot springs for example, the ground can be extremely weak and the possibility of falling through into a vent is real. Honestly, even if you think the area looks safe, if it has been closed, please do not ignore the signs.
For the protection of the wildlife. We have a very delicate ecosystem here in Iceland. The extreme weather and wild swings between seasons means that there are only small windows for the wildlife to do what it needs to survive and flourish each year. As such, the authorities often mark areas off as being closed for the protection and regeneration of an area. Or they may close an area where there are nesting birds (usually July to September). Unfortunately, with the larger number of visitors to Iceland, areas are becoming damaged faster and for longer. Therefore more and more areas are being closed to allow them to regenerate.
Here is one example where Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon was closed to allow it to regenerate:
Canyon Closed to Protect Vegetation Damage
One month later, note the updated story:
Visitors Causing Serious Damage to Canyon