It’s that time of year again! The light and warmth (by Icelandic standards) of summer have now slipped far from our grasp here in Iceland. The winter darkness is creeping in at a rate that shocks even the most seasoned Icelander. Now is a perfect time to remind ourselves why we love winter, the northern lights (aurora borealis). The darkness that envelopes our isolated volcanic island brings with it optimal conditions for viewing and photographing the northern lights. To view the vibrant dance of the Aurora, **you need dark clear skies and a decent level of aurora activity.** If you’re an aurora enthusiast, you’ll keep your eye on the aurora activity forecast each night of your stay here. For additional tips, [see this complete guide to the northern lights] to add to your Iceland travel prep!
If you’re lucky, you’ll catch glimpses of the images we’re about to share with you below. If Lady Luck is not on your side, well – you still have these photos to get lost in!
ARCTIC SHOTS PHOTOGRAPHY
All the photos you are about to wanderlust at are taken by Sigurdur William Brynjarsson from Arctic Shots Photography. Siggi and his partner Bragi at Arctic Shots have been chasing the northern lights for as long as they can remember. They are so passionate about their pursuit to capture the sky bursting with life, they’ve turned it into a career. Each of these photography pros has logged many sleepless nights driving out into the darkness of the countryside. Siggi and Bragi are always looking for optimal secret spots for photographing the lights.
PHOTOGRAPHY TOURS FOR ALL
If you want to head out with Siggi and Bragi at Arctic Shots, they offer photography tours for the northern lights and landscape photography tours. If you’re a photography pro yourself, Siggi and Bragi will share their secrets to creating incredible photographs. However, if you’re a beginning photographer or just want to be pictured with the northern lights, you’re more than welcome to tag along as well!
Enjoy Siggi’s photography and self-written captions below.
The Northern Lights dance above us throughout the year. In the summer and in the daytime, the daylight renders them invisible, but as the nights grow longer and darker, they become more visible. Getting away from the city helps as well. Red is the rarest of colors when it comes to the northern lights The reason for this is that the color red is so close to the infrared spectra that its hard for the eyes to detect it.
*The northern lights do become strong enough to be visible from within the city from time to time. On those nights, it does help to have clear skies as clouds tend to light up from light pollution and overpower the display.*
THE MILKY WAY CREATES AN EPIC BACKDROP FOR THE NORTHERN LIGHTS!
The northern lights are created when particles from our sun are sucked into our magnetosphere. Here they collide with nitrogen and oxygen at different altitudes, creating a vast array of colors.
Coronas are among my favorite things to witness. They appear right above you and pulsate down streaks of lights in all directions. More often than not, they bring a vast array of colors with them.
*Photographers were completely mesmerized by the streaks of lights dancing before them.*
SNOWY LANDSCAPES LIT UP BY THE MOON AND LIGHTS CREATE MAGIC!
*Christmas lights are on the edge of the city. Snow-covered the landscape and the moonlight danced hand in hand with Lady Aurora to create this spectacular display.*
*Sometimes they stay as a thin arch or line across the night sky. A panorama shot in Hvassahraun. An arch of lights stretches from the city of Reykjavik to the left, to the town of Keflavik on the right.
The lights can be seen as early as August and as late as April, although it’s easier to see them as it gets darker.
A panorama of the Northern lights by the famous waterfall Seljalandsfoss. They often take on the appearance of arches and if you are truly blessed, they grow stronger until they gather start dancing before you.
A corona appeared above some of my customers at Lake Thingvellir.
A wide panorama of a massive display of lights at lake Thingvellir.
ADDING REFLECTIVE WATER BODIES TO THE SHOTS CREATES A WHOLE NEW EXPERIENCE!
A panorama of the Northern lights reflecting in the lake at Kleifarvatn.
Lights reflecting in the lake at Kleifarvatn.
Moonlight does affect visibility, but sometimes they are strong enough to outshine even our moonlight.
A lone photographer waits patiently for the lights to grow stronger at the lake in Thingvellir.
As you can see, this photo was shot during such a moment of incredible aurora strength. Not even the sunset was able to overpower them.
Seeing the magnificent display of lady Aurora dance before you can create all kinds of emotions and make people react with all kinds of craziness…
Another burst of a corona. This time above the frozen lake at Thingvellir.
ADDING LIVE SUBJECTS TO THE PHOTO IS DIFFICULT, YET VERY REWARDING!
Everybody loves the Icelandic horse and it was no easy feat to get it to stand still for the duration of this long exposure.
Here they are dancing above the moon with the light pollution from Reykjavik tightly wrapped in clouds. It’s residence oblivious to the beautiful display in the skies above them.
Having weak lights doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing, as that makes it possible to see the Milky Way as well.
A big wave of lights dances above a calm lake on the Reykjanes Peninsula.
IT’S ALWAYS A GOOD IDEA TO GET A NEW PERSPECTIVE!
In my years of chasing the lights, I’ve always tried to push my limits and come up with new ways of capturing this phenomenon. This is a 360° shot of the lights in Thingvellir.
Lady Aurora dancing above the church at Thingvellir national park as a shooting star appears above the church tower.
If you’re interested in photography, having the moon to light up the foreground can add a lot to the photo.
Lake in the dead of winter.
Clouds aren’t always a bad thing, sometimes they add to the drama of the shot.
Rare phenomena where a lunar rainbow and the northern lights come together.
Sometimes the window of opportunity to witness the lights is very slim as the clouds can hide them from us. That’s when you need to be in the right place at the right time and be ready when the skies open
Clouds getting all dramatic with the lights.
Waiting for the lights to pick up in strength can test your patience, however, it also creates the perfect opportunity to play around with light painting.
And there you have it! Want to see more stunning images of the northern lights over Iceland?
Would you be up for a photography tour while in Iceland? Are you a photography pro or just want the best souvenir shot of you with the northern lights? Have any photography related questions for Siggi check out Arctic shots or Instagram
Pathfinder & Adventure Guru