Last night I was able to experience the first Northern Lights on my Iceland trip over Ísafjörður in the Westfjords and photograph them.
After I read a short article about the first Norther Light sightings in Iceland the day before, I was gripped by the fever and studied the latest weather and Aurora forecasts. It turned out that the conditions for the upcoming night are very good.
The only problem so far up in the north is currently the sun, which doesn’t set very deep below the horizon. This time of the year there is just a nautical dawn (which means that the sun does not set more than 18° below the horizon) and the sky is thereby not absolutely dark.
Nevertheless, I prepared myself for my first Northern Lights hunting. I put my Camera with fully charged batteries and empty memory card (not the other way around ;)), my new fast wide-angle lens, a tripod, a remote release and a lot of patience into my bag. Around 23:30 the sky was still quite bright and you could just see a few bright star.
When I arrived at my observing site, I could see a great play of colors on the horizon. But not the colors of the Northern Lights, but the setting sun. I deeply enjoyed the moment. Only a few minutes later I let my eyes wander over the cloudless sky. But I could still see just a few brighter stars (Vega, Deneb and co.) and a flashing Iridium satellite. But suddenly I noticed a very faint slightly lighter ‘veil’ directly above me. I could not tell if it was a veil of clouds, or indeed the expected Northern Lights.
I immediately took out my camera and took a first test shot and … in fact, it was a first, very faint Northern Light. I could not believe it and was immediately under the spell of this fascinating natural spectacle. The minutes passed and the sky was getting darker. Now I could already see the brightest star constellations. And the northern lights were also getting brighter and more colorful.
I watched the dance of colors for a long time and took some pictures. After about 1 1/2 hours I was getting a bit too cold and actually I was not completely healthy. Therefore I decided to go back home with many awesome impressions. I will have enough chances to experience the full power of the Northern Lights the next months of my Iceland trip.