This might not be the sexiest of subjects, or the most interesting of blog posts, but if I told you it could save you $5000 would you read it then? It could well do!
Iceland is out to kill you. For real. You may be used to coastal photography and challenging conditions, but you'd struggle to find anywhere as potentially deadly as the Southern Coast of Iceland, especially around Vik, the southernmost tip of the country. Please please PLEASE do your due diligence and research the tides and the sneaker waves (also known as sleeper or king waves) that make this such a dangerous place, and then consider whether it's worth putting yourself and your gear at risk to capture a single shot.
Never turn your back to the ocean. If you can't predict the waves, don't turn your back on them! We saw scores of tourists and photographers, caught up in the splendour of the place, catch a soaking from rogue waves. One woman had to dig her fists into the ground to avoid being pulled out to sea, whilst I saw two photographers waist deep in the surging waters. I saw others running out to sit on an iceberg only to be thrown off when the bigger waves arrived. If you are there with someone else, I would strongly advise you to ask them to be your wave-spotter. If you're not, then be aware that there's a very strong chance that your camera gear will be destroyed if you're not extremely vigilant.
Don’t put your camera bag on the ground. We saw a guy at Jokulsarlon get caught out by a sneaker wave at dawn. He'd also made the terrible mistake of putting his camera bag on the ground behind him, and the ocean ran right through it, Mavic Pro and all.
Be prepared for sudden changes in the weather. The weather here can turn on a dime at any time of the year, but in winter it can be especially brutal. Sunshine can give way to dumping snow and wind can come from nowhere carrying savage rain and all kinds of gritty volcanic debris. The landscape here is truly wild and breathtaking, and this is how it's sculpted. It's just not for the faint-hearted!
Just because someone else is doing it, don’t think that this makes it safe. I saw people who had just seen someone pounded by the waves head straight to the exact same point just a minute or two later. Over-estimate people’s intelligence at your own peril!