We were surprised too. Northern lights already? It's not even winter yet...
But, like almost everything about nature in the Nordic Region, the northern lights are unpredictable. So here we are with a winning northern lights photo before the season has even officially begun.
We've written about this brilliant natural phenomenon here before, about how to photograph them and other viewing tips. But perhaps the best advice we can give is to have an open mind, be patient and bring plenty of warm layers for northern lights excursions, as you will need to spend some time outside in the cold. Colin also shared some of his photography tips with us:
I have photographed the night sky before, never the northern lights, but I have four tips to anyone who wants to photograph them:
1: Buy a tripod, you will need one!
2: Research how to photograph the night sky in advance and practice at home, you won’t regret it and won’t be fumbling around in the dark!
3: When driving around Iceland, keep an eye on the weather and aurora forecasts, look out for special places that would make a beautiful image, remember where they are and try to capture that special moment.
4: Enjoy one of the spectacular beauties of the natural world, it’s free and will stay with you forever!
On his lucky photo (seen in cover image), Colin explained:
Along with many other sights, seeing the northern lights was a 'must do' for me and I was so lucky to catch them so early in the season. Every day when we reached our hotel I would check the weather and aurora forecast on the Icelandic Met Office website and plan my night. On arriving at Lake Myvatn halfway through the trip it was cloudy, but it was clear and the aurora forecast was good so at midnight I checked out the hotel room window and saw what appeared to be a slight green tint to the clouds - my patience had worn off. We drove to Hverir to where we knew it would be dark and the rest is in the image, such a beautiful night and one we will treasure forever.
Colin and his co-adventurer Sarah added some extra adventures to their self-drive package, including a guided glacier walk at Sólheimajökull (part of the vast Mýrdalsjökull glacier in South Iceland), a boat ride around the icebergs at the Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon and luxury massages at the Mývatn Nature Baths, a geothermal lagoon in North Iceland.
On photographing landscapes in Iceland, Colin also had this to say:
This trip to Iceland was our first visit to Iceland and certainly will not be our last, we plan to return next year, again with Nordic Visitor, to see other parts of Iceland that we didn’t get round to or missed during our full circle tour, which was absolutely amazing...landscape photography has always fascinated me but is a relatively new avenue for me when it comes to taking images. Iceland was my testing ground as previously my work focused on automotive photography based around the worlds finest cars. I had taken a few landscape images but nothing that would prepare me for a crash course of photographing the natural beauty of Iceland, every corner, every twist & turn revealed an idyllic vista that that my eyes couldn’t get enough of…
Congratulations again to Colin. We can't wait to see more of his pictures when he returns!
GOOD TO KNOW: The "northern lights season" is generally considered to be the winter months, October through April, when there's ample darkness in the evening. But as soon as the summertime midnight sun phenomenon eases off, it's possible to see them as early as mid-August. Check out Iceland's sunrise and sunset times at our website.
And don't forget to hashtag #NordicVisitor on your Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pictures!
- See more #NordicVisitor photos from our travelers and staff
- Find your own northern lights tour from among our many Nordic destinations
- Get to know a little more about Iceland before you travel