The 25 Best Northern Lights pictures - Capture the Atlas
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THE 25 MOST AWE-INSPIRING NORTHERN LIGHTS PICTURES

Photographing the Northern Lights is one of the most incredible experiences in any photographer’s life. There are no words to describe the feeling of witnessing the celestial fantasy show with your own eyes when the Aurora Borealis dances across the sky. 

At the same time, it is one of the most difficult topics to photograph: It requires good planning, decent photography gear, and some luck. In addition, a good inspiration is also necessary: Magical, soul-stirring photographs that show us the beauty of this phenomenon, which drive us to travel and chase the breathtaking “green lady” ourselves

From the Arctic regions of Iceland and Norway to the end of the world in South Pole Antarctica, passing through the Northern regions of Finland, Russia, and Canada, this dance will take you to the extreme latitudes of our planet, captured by some of the best photographers in the world. They dreamed of taking these pictures one day, and we hope that they make you dream today.

 

“PRINCE CHRISTIAN LIGHTS” – Daniel Kordan

Northern Lights Aurora Borealis Greenland Daniel Kordan Photograph Northern Lights

“Prince William lights” – Daniel Kordan

  • Prince Christian Sound, Greenland

Last September we experienced a unique night in South Greenland. Probably the night with the most intense Northern Lights I’ve ever seen in my life.

The tiny bright light on the right side of the fjord was our yacht. We started the hike in the afternoon as soon as we received a promising Aurora forecast. It took us almost four hours to reach to the top of the mountain through rough terrain and strong wind gusts. Once there, we were rewarded with the strongest Aurora borealis display I’ve ever witnessed. The sky was full of deep blue and red colors, all dancing above us.

Taking photos was a real challenge because of the wind, but Just 1-3 seconds of exposure was enough to freeze the insane Northern Lights shape. After taking some photos, we started the descend in the middle of the night. We were very tired and exhausted, but happy, with huge smiles on our faces. This is one night we will never forget.

 

“Phoenix from the Ashes” – Nicholas Roemmelt 

Northern Lights Iceland Aurora Borealis Arctic

“Phoenix from the ashes” – Nicholas Roemmelt

  • South Iceland

I took this Northern lights picture in Southern Iceland some years ago during a G4 storm, a rare natural event caused by solar winds which usually create a significant activity of Aurora Borealis.

I called the picture “Phoenix from the ashes“, as it reminded me of a giant phoenix bird rising in flames and combustion. It was with no doubt one of the most impressive Aurora Borealis displays I have ever witnessed. 

 

“Aurora island” – Michael shainblum 

Northern Lights Stokksnes Aurora Iceland Island

“Aurora Island” – Michael Shainblum

  • Stokksnes – Iceland

Northern Lights photography comes with many difficulties, and predicting where the Aurora borealis is going to show is one of the trickiest. On this night, our goal was to shoot the Northern Lights from the stunning Stokksnes beach in Iceland, even though the conditions were not very promising given the amount of cloud coverage and low Aurora prediction. 

However, to our surprise, the Northern Lights started showing from the north in the middle of the night, filling the entire sky above Mount Vestrahorn.

In the end, patience and persistence is what Aurora Borealis photography is all about.

  

“eyes to the skies” – Ryan Dyar

Northern Lights Senja Aurora Borealis Norway

“Eyes to the skies” – Ryan Dyar

  • Senja island – Norway

The island of Senja in Northern Norway offers the best background scenes for shooting the Northern Lights over jagged peaks and otherworldly fjords. 

During this night, we enjoyed the perfect conditions for shooting mellow Auroras dancing over the sharp peaks, with the swirling tidal pools creating eyes as the perfect witness of the show.

 

“The other world” – simon roppel

Northern Lights Greenland Aurora Borealis fjord

“The Other World” – Simon Roppel

  • Greenland
I took this Northern Lights image during my Greenland travel about two years ago. We were camping at this location for two days hoping for some unique light and magic at night.
 
The Northern lights activity was not very intense that night, but sometimes you don’t need a strong forecast;  With some Auroras and a good composition, you can still create a stunning image. For me, sometimes a weak aurora is much more balanced for the whole image than a very intensive one. 
 

“SOUTH POLE” – Hunter Davies 

Aurora Borealis Antarctica Southern Lights South Pole

“South Pole” – Hunter Davies

  • A-Scott South Pole Station – Antarctic

The South Pole Telescope (SPT) looks terrific under the dark skies of an Antarctican winter.

When I heard a huge solar storm was heading to our base, I ran out of the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station to set up my shot. I took my Canon 6D attached to a Nikon 14-24mm lens stuffed in a styrofoam box for warmth and wandered out to the telescope. It was -85ºF (-65ºC) and my styrofoam camera case was packed with a hot water bottle and towels for warmth. That night the auroras blew up the sky and were so bright that It was even difficult to see the Milky Way.

I decided just to lay back and enjoy the storm. With no doubt, Antarctica will always be my favorite continent.  

 

“Angel wingS” – Dmitry Arkhipov 

Northern Lights images Russia Yamal Aurora Borealis

“Angel Wings” – Dmitry Arkhipov

  • Yamal Peninsula – Russia
The Yamal Peninsula is located in the far Russian arctic, and it is one of the most important Reindeer herding areas in the world. There is an ancient indigenous culture intimately linked to these animals, who are still living the same way as their ancestors did hundreds of years ago.
 
On top of that, Yamal is also one of the lesser known best places for photographing the Northern Lights over the endless tundra.
 

“athabasca ice burning” – javier de la torre

Northern lights Athabasca Glacier Canada Ice cave

“Athabasca Ice burning” – Javier de la Torre

  • Athabasca Glacier, Alberta – Canada

During our trip across the Canadian Rockies, one of the challenges of the trip was taking a nighttime photo of the Athabasca Glacier ice cave. 

After locating the Ice cave and checking for access and good condition,  we saw that in two days we would have partly cloudy skies and a KP4 level of Northern Lights activity in the forecast.

The lighting of the cave was a significant challenge made possible thanks to the help and collaboration with other photographers and friends. This, together with a sky tinted in green by the Aurora, made the Athabasca ice cave night an unforgettable experience.

 

“frozen rainbow” – martina geBarovska

Northern Lights Canada Northwest Territories Yukon Aurora Borealis

“Frozen Rainbow” – Martina Gebarovska

  • Northwest Territories – Canada

On a – 35 Celsius night in the Northwest Territories I looked up to the sky outside my tent and saw the Northern Lights going wild – dancing and changing colors in a fast rhythm. I ran down to the frozen lake and lit up a few candles in an igloo we’ve built on the previous day.

After taking a few shots, I sat down, snuggled up in my polar parka and watched the miraculous show above my head until my toes went completely numb.

 

“And she danced” – felix inden 

Northern Lights Vik Iceland Reynisfjara Aurora Borealis

“And she danced” – Felix Inden

  • Reynisfjara beach – Iceland

This image was a lucky thing that happened to me. The Aurora forecast was very low, and the sky was cloudy the whole day while roaming across the east coast of Iceland.

Suddenly, our rental Jeep had major problems at Jökulsarlon glacier lagoon, and we had to drive to Vik for a new one. In the end, I was happy that we did, as all of a sudden, the sky became clear at night and the Aurora started going nuts.

The cherry on top was the Northern Lights corona over Reynisdrangar sea stacks. All alone in the howling wind…priceless moments of life!

 

“Eystrahorn northern lights” – mads peter iversen

Northern Lights Eystrahorn Iceland Aurora Borealis KP6

“Eystrahorn Northern Lights” – Mads Peter Iversen

  • Hvalnes – Iceland

Eystrahorn is one of my favorite landscape photography spots in Iceland, located in the outstanding eastern rugged coast of Iceland.

Since I visited this area, I’ve wanted to capture the Northern Lights above these characteristic mountains and the black volcanic beach. I spent 14 hours at this location on this day, and the wait paid off during the night.

 

“transcendence” – mark jinks

Northern Lights Canada Northwest Territories

“Transcendence” – Mark Jinks

  • Northwest territories – Canada

Last September was a very intensive month in terms of Northern lights activity with many nights of big Aurora displays.

One of the greatest nights of Aurora Borealis I’ve ever experienced happened on one of the nights during my trip across the Northwest Territories in Canada.

The reason I love shooting the Northern Lights is that it’s different every time as you never quite know what shapes and lights you will get.

 

“Levi northern lights” – timo oksanen

Northern Lights Finland Levi Boreal forest tundra

“Levi Northern Lights” – Timo Oksanen

  • Levi – Finland

In Northern Finland (aka Lapland), the probability of seeing the Northern Lights are very high as long as the sky is not covered. The Aurora season starts from the beginning of September until the end of March. During the summer, nights are not dark enough to see the Northern Lights.

In the winter months, it is best to be prepared with very warm clothes as the temperatures can drop down to -30Cº. I personally love getting snow-covered trees in the foreground of my Aurora photos. Another interesting way of shooting the Aurora Borealis in Finland is during Autumn nights by the lakes when the reflection creates beautiful “double auroras”.

 

“dance of the spirits” – yiannis pavlis 

Northern Lights Alaska Aurora Borealis Dalton highway

“Dance of the spirits” – Yiannis Pavlis

  • Dalton Highway, Alaska – USA

Dalton Highway is one of the most isolated roads in the USA. Alaska is with no doubt an extraordinarily but hostile environment. Weather is frigid, the roads are coated in ice, and the wildlife can be dangerous. Cell phone service is not available between Fairbanks and Deadhorse and, even if you could summon assistance, the nearest professional help would often be hours away.

So, in this setting, even small mistakes can be extremely costly. However, not everything is tricky and dangerous in Alaska. If you are lucky, you get to see beautiful landscapes and epic displays of Northern Lights.

Seeing the Northern Lights always create a euphoric feeling in one’s life.

 

“LONELY WRECK” – NiCO RINALDI

Northern Lights Iceland US Navy DC-3 Wreckage

“Lonely Wreck” – “Nico Rinaldi”

  • Sólheimasandur – Iceland
The story behind the realization of this photo will always remain in my mind. 
 
A friend and I walked in the late afternoon to reach the famous airplane wreck. The weather was not very promising, with an upcoming storm in the forecast.
Despite the storm, we went ahead, and once we reached the wreck, we took shelter near the plane. We waited for hours hoping that the weather would get better. The wait was long, but at 2:00 am the sky started to open, and when I saw the Northern Lights I felt euphoric, as we got to capture the Aurora Borealis and all the details of the wreck.
 

“dancing in the night” – isabella tabacchi

Northern Lights Lofoten Norway Uttakleiv

“Dancing in the night” – Isabella Tabacchi

  • Uttakleiv beach , Lofoten Islands – Norway

I took this picture during on a cold February night in the impressive Lofoten Islands.

There was a very strong wind, as it is usual on this beach, but also a fast-dancing show of green lights.

It doesn’t matter how many times you photograph the Northern Lights, the Aurora Borealis is always captured with a different shape which makes every image unique and magical.