Swirling Aurora Borealis

Northern Lights, Iceland

Northern lights over mountains

Seeing the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) in Iceland was a bit of a dream come true. They’ve been high up on my bucket list for a long time.

Several factors affect the odds of seeing them: location, cloud cover, sun activity, time of year and light pollution. There was heavy cloud cover for most of our holiday and with only a few days left, we weren’t feeling optimistic about seeing them. For the last three nights, we stayed in a hotel an hour away from Reykjavik. And boy did we get lucky; we saw them three nights in a row in varying strengths.

A tripod is pretty essential for good photographs. We didn’t have one so we improvised by resting the camera on rocks and a handrail. Who cares if they aren’t perfect, we captured sun particles hitting the Earth’s atmosphere!

Green Northern Lights

Wispy Northern Lights

On the first night we stood outside watching the lights, wrapped up in as many layers as we could cram under our coats. Did you know Aurora Borealis aren’t actually bright green in real life? Cameras make the colour more vivid. The lights we saw were grey to start with, turning pale green, purple and pink as they grow stronger. Irregardless of the colour, they were magic.

Swirling Northern Lights

The lights ripple across the sky. Sometimes they dance and fizzle while changing direction, creating swirled patterns like those in the photo above.

Northern lights over mountains

Green Aurora Borealis

On the second night, we lucked out with a good view from our hotel room. No more standing out in the cold for us *smug faces*. We stood eagerly hanging out the window… for all of two minutes. It was so incredibly cold that we had to wear coats and scarves while wrapped up in a blanket — indoors!!

Rising Northern Lights

Swirling Aurora Borealis

Northern Lights in the sky

I’ve since discovered that being an Aurora hunter, is actually a thing. Where do I sign!?

8 comments on “Northern Lights, Iceland

  1. Beautiful

  2. So Beautiful and amazing pics! I would never have known that you didn’t have a tripod!! I’d love to see them in Iceland! That place is pure magic!

    I saw them once in Montana (when I lived there) and we drove an hour out of town to a field with a foot of snow, although we were slightly too far south to see them dance! They were a green haze on the horizon getting more visible and faint at intervals! It was amazing though and really put everything into perspective. Nature has a way of doing that.

    • Thank you Ellie! I agree about nature putting things in perspective. Looking out over landscapes and mountains always reminds me we are just tiny specs on the planet — and pretty insignificant in the grand scheme of things. Hopefully you’ll get see the aurora again some day.

  3. Oh, WOW! Aurora hunter? I think I’m in.

  4. Oh so lovely Gemma!
    So far I’m a failed Aurora Hunter – one day though – one day!

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