My third day in Iceland was certainly a busy one. We started off by shooting a new ice cave at sunrise, which was great except for when my leg broke through the surface of a frozen river. The ice caves themselves have proven to be one of the most challenging things that I’ve ever photographed but I’ll save that for a future post. Later in the day, we visited a black sand beach that was riddled with frozen burgs all along the shore. After getting more than my share of ocean water in my boots the evening before, I played it a bit safer and stayed further back for my shots. After dinner that evening, we collected our gear from the hotel room and headed to our vehicle. And that’s when Joe told me to look up at the sky.

Don’t take me lightly when I say that I was totally stopped in my tracks. Seeing an aurora is one of those things that has been so high on my bucket list. I’ve seen countless photos and videos of them but none were really special to me because I hadn’t taken the photos or, more importantly, experienced them for myself. Thankfully, that came to an end yesterday.

Above me was an apparition of light. It was glowing silk and it danced along the night sky to its own tune. I looked from left to right and saw this beautiful and delicate ribbon come and go from a dim form to a brilliant swirl. I finally checked this one off the bucket list. Once the gobsmacking subsided, the three of us sprang into action and hustled to find a location that would offer a decent foreground and a picturesque background. Fortunately, Colby chose the perfect spot to pull off the road. The aurora was still going strong in front of and behind us and we had a few frozen puddles and plenty of mountains to frame with. Shooting the aurora took a bit of practice in terms of getting the right exposure and focus but once those were locked in, it really became impossible to get a bad photo. I have never in my life been so enamored with a natural phenomenon like this one.

Camera: Sony a7R with the Sony FE 16-35mm f/4
Filter: N/A
Tripod: Really Right Stuff TVC-34L/BH-55
Stylization: Adobe Lightroom 5.7