The Northern Lights, Iceland

March 24, 2016


All week in Iceland, tours to see The Northern Lights had been cancelled. Plus, it hadn't stopped snowing all day. The sky was completely overcast and things didn’t look good. By seven o’clock, my girlfriend and I had lost all hope…


But not all was lost – the weather forecast looked hopeful, the clouds would soon blow over and the tour had got the go ahead for this evening! The lovely receptionist at our hotel informed us of that. So, we filled up on food and got ready for the long night ahead of us.



At about eight o’clock, a shuttle bus pulled up outside our hotel, we jumped in and we were taken to the bus depot where we would get on a larger coach. Just like on most tours with Grayline, the coach has Wi-Fi, decent air conditioning and a tour guide. 


The tour basically consisted of an hour’s drive, and a couple of hours at a specific location in southern Iceland. There was a restaurant with hot food and drinks, a few toilets and lots of open fields. Because the tours had been cancelled all week, many more coaches with lots of other people came along to – as many as 500! It was a bit of a free-for-all at times, but I got a spot I was happy with and a coffee to warm me up when I needed to.



The aurora was visible as soon as we arrived and there were two moments when they got really bright. Everyone was amazed – you could hear cheers and wows throughout. They’re not as colourful in person, but they’re just as incredible as you would imagine. Even with a full moon washing out the sky, you could see the lights dancing across the horizon.


A massive problem I ran into was how cold it was. This is obvious and something you can prepare yourself for, but the main issue was my lens fogging up. I was also hoping for a more interesting foreground and maybe even some snow on the ground. However, with the northern lights being such an incredible phenomena and a brilliant thing to experience, it’s hard to be disappointed. With a bit of practise and existing experience photographing landscapes at night, I think everyone could come away with a photo to remember their night by. I even took the coolest selfie ever as you can see below! For those interested, I shot 20 second exposures at f3.5 and ISO 1600.




Related Links:

Full Photo Gallery   |   Reykjavik   |   The Golden Circle


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All content copyright Alex Stevenson (unless otherwise noted).

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