Sunday, November 5, 2017

How we found the Northern Lights in Iceland [Part 5]



Seeing and capturing the Northern Lights has been a dream of mine for a very long time. Since Iceland is so very north, during the winter season it's relatively common to see them. Of course we were there during autumn, but we had general information that the season of the Northern Lights was just starting. In order to capture them you need two things: luck and clear skies. Luck would be the predominant factor. 

It's good to check online before you head out into the night. The best site would be http://en.vedur.is/weather/forecasts/aurora/ . It's the official weather site from Iceland and if you click on the link you can see the forecast for Aurora Borealis. You have to look out for the white parts of the map. Those are clear skies. Next to the map, on the site, you will see the Aurora forecast in numbers. They go from 0 to 9. Naturally the higher the number the bigger the chance of seeing the Northern Lights.


When we left from our apartment, it was a 3 on the scale, so our expectations were low, but since we had clear skies we decided to take a chance. As we approached the outskirts of Akureyri, we saw some change in the sky. It was like a shimmer in the distance. We actually debated if it was the aurora, since it wasn't that green in the beginning. We stopped at a entrance to a small church. I set up my tripod and we gazed into the starry night.

The stars were abundant, and being so far up north, you could see a lot of star formations that I usually don't get to see that detailed back home. I made some long exposure shots of the stars circling around us, and then of the sky itself. The green Northern Lights were captured, but unfortunately not that intense. I was still happy. It was a unique experience.

Here is the exact location from which we saw the Northern Lights:



We returned back to the city. I took one shot from the car of Akureyri, reflected in the fjord. We prepared our things, ready to head out the next morning.

The Next Morning

We left Akureyri relatively early in the morning. It was a cold morning. This town was the most northern part of our road trip. I will talk about the continuation of our road trip from that fourth day in Iceland in the next post, because I want to linger on the location we saw the Northern Lights from the night before. Since we saw some unusual looking houses in the landscape, we were curious to see what that place looked like in the light of day. So we drove back out.


The landscapes were picture perfect. The small church had a lovely looking graveyard, with trees coming out of the graves, a sight we would see in Reykjavik as well.








We were parked next to the Laufas Museum. The old rectory at Laufas is considered to be the prototype of the Icelandic architecture (many gables side by side), but much larger than most other such complexes. Usually, between 20 and 30 people lived at Laufas because many farmhands were needed to reap the benefits of the farm, such as the haymaking, the fishing in the river and the collection of eiderdown along the coastline.



It was time to continue our road trip. We had something very special planned for this day: the Myvatn Nature Baths, which is a lagoon of hot water. We were about to swim in hot water in 4 degree Celsius weather. We also saw another huge waterfall and many unique and alien like landscapes. As I said, the North of Iceland is strange and mysterious. But more on that in the upcoming parts.



End of Part Five
To be continued...




22 comments:

  1. Wieder so ein schöner Abschnitt deiner Reise...einfach nur toll, und einmal im Leben sollte man einfach auch Nordlichter gesehen habe. Ich hatte damals in CDN ein paar Mal die Gelegenheit und bin auch in der Nacht dafür extra aufgestanden. Es ist unbeschreiblich und du hast es auch toll fotografiert.

    Herzliche Sonntagsgrüsse

    N☼va

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    1. Danke Dir vielmals. Ich hoffe noch mehr Gelegenheiten zu finden um die Nordlichter zu fotografieren, dann aber auch in ihrer vollen Form.

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  2. Beautiful photos again from Iceland! I liked very much the one with the church. Very bright colors.

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    1. Thank you Marit! That was truly a great location!

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  3. Iceland is very beautiful.. my favorite today is the roof made of grass. just love those buildings. the lights are gorgeous..

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  4. I have only seen Northern Lights once, and they were spectacular. Your landscape photos are wonderful with great light.

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    1. Thanks. I hope to see them again some time. It was a great experience.

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  5. Loved your travel post from Iceland. Great to saw Northern Lights.
    Amazing pics. Thanks :)

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  6. I'd love to see the northern lights someday. Lucky you to be able to see them!

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  7. Mersad, es sind wahnsinnig schöne Bilder. Die gelben Lichter in dem Dorfmuseum (dort waren wir leider nicht), die starken Konstraste mit diesen weißen Bergketten...und das Nordlicht...da bin ich in dem Moment ein bißchen neidisch, daß du es gesehen hast, auch mein Wunsch ist es einmal im Leben zu sehen und fotografieren zu können.
    Liebe Grüße

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    1. Das Sonnenlicht ist wirklich toll in Island. Das kommt unter einem anderen Winkel und die Farben sind immer so toll. Auch mitten am Tag.

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  8. I absolutely love that shot with the sheep! Fantastic!

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    1. Thank you Bill. I got so used to sheep being everywhere that I didn't even notice that I took a picture of them as well. Only later in post I discovered that they were all over the landscape. :)

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  9. Such beautiful shots. Those houses with the grass roofs are amazing. We're off chasing the Aurora in Jan - but in Finland. So excitied!

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  10. Beautiful!

    The Northern Lights are on my bucket list.

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  11. Yes, strange and mysterious! How exciting to see the Northern Lights! Loved all your wonderful photos. What a great trip!

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  12. Beautiful images! We can't see the northern lights from Virginia. It would be exciting to see them.

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  13. The northern lights are on my bucket list. Maybe someday.

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  14. I can't tell you how much I'm enjoying your series on Iceland. It's such a magical place and I fear I may never see it in person. Your photos and descriptions are wonderful. I really can't get over how beautiful the scenery is. What an adventure you had!

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  15. I think your images of the Northern Lights are superb. And what a blessing it must have been to see them at all, let alone photograph them. The sod buildings are fascinating. It would have been tempting to knock on the door and meet the folks who lived there.

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