Once upon a time, under a cold and moonless sky, showers of green and red light danced all around us, illuminating our souls and bringing joy to our rapidly beating hearts. All sense of time and place seemed to disappear, as we watched the Auroras in awe, all alone in the clear and silent stillness of the Icelandic Countryside…
Spending the day on The Snaefellsnes Peninsula, I had a feeling that the weather conditions might be perfect for The Northern Lights, and by 9:30pm, we could see a strong green glow all around the horizon. After a quick drive in Truck Norris, we were in the perfect place.
The Auroras danced in the distance and began to peaked around 11pm when we found ourselves right in the center of the activity. No longer were we watching them on the horizon. Now the lights were falling right over our heads—swirling, spinning, and cascading all around us.
For nearly 3 hours we watched in awe as I photographed this magnificent and life changing event. When I was all finished it only felt like 15 minutes had passed. I will be forever humbled by the beauty of our amazing planet.
Technical Mumbo Jumbo
Camera: Nikon D800
Lens: 14-24 f/2.8 (Shot at 14 mm)
Tripod: RRS TVC-33 / BH-55 Ballhead / RRS L-Plate
Exposure: 15 seconds at f/2.8
Technique and Details: Photographing the Aurora Borealis is nowhere near an exact science. Depending on their brightness, intensity, and the speed of their movement, a range of shutter speeds can be used to capture them. This range is usually somewhere between 10-30 seconds, and even though the Aurora puts off plenty of ambient light, be prepared to change your camera settings in total darkness.
Very little post-processing was done to this image and NO color was added. Everything you see was captured in the single RAW file. The Auroras cast a lot of natural light on the scene so I only needed to make some minor adjustments to the brightness and contrast. Using Photoshop, I also removed some of the green cast in the yellow grass. Some additional brightness, contrast, and saturation adjustments were used to balance the exposure in the sky. Lastly, I used the built in Noise Reduction in Lightroom 4.1 to mitigate the nasty effects of ISO 640.
Software: Lightroom, Photoshop, NIK Software
Espresso: Illy Medium Roast (I’m in Italy. I figured I’d spoil myself a bit.