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Northern Lights Photographer of The Year

Updated: Sep 28, 2023

The travel photography blog Capture the Atlas has published the spectacular northern lights photographer of the year collection. Coinciding with the northern lights season at the end of the year, it aims to share the beauty of this natural phenomenon. Here are some of OGN's favourite images.

Northern lights over mountains in Norway

The Northern Lights Cathedral – northern Norway. “This image is the perfect representation of one of my best nights seeing the northern lights in Senja, northern Norway. The views were stunning, with snow-capped landscapes, spectacular mountains, and a dancing aurora that coloured everything green. It was truly a night to remember. The conditions were perfect this evening in March, not too cold. The northern lights appeared not long after I arrived and lasted for a long time. I returned home really happy and grateful for this amazing experience.” Photograph: Frøydis Dalheim Senja

Northern lights over the Kola Peninsula

Polar-snow Monsters – Kola Peninsula, Russia. “When I started learning how to take landscape photographs, I wasn’t impressed by images of the northern lights because most contained nothing in the composition other than the lights and the sky. But one day I saw Marc Adamus’s photographs with the aurora borealis over beautiful mountain scenery and I was impressed. Since then, I have had a new passion – taking northern lights pictures where the landscape and its composition play the main role and the aurora is in harmony. I focused on the “snow monsters” to make this shot look like an alien scene.” Photograph: Sergey Korolev

Northern lights over New Zealand

Tranquil – Lake Tekapo, New Zealand.

“I was on a photography trip when aurora alerts began popping up on my phone, so we started searching for a unique place to shoot them from. We ended up at this lakeside location, and as soon as the sunset faded and dusk fell, we could already see the colour and shape of the aurora happening. The next few hours, the sky was filled with incredible hues as the pillars danced across the sky in one of the best displays I have seen for years. The aurora is my favourite night-sky phenomenon to capture, and this night was simply incredible.” Photograph: Larryn Rae

Northern lights over Iceland

Spectrum – Vestrahorn, Iceland.

“The full spectrum of the northern lights over the iconic Vestrahorn location in Iceland. What a dreamlike experience! A G3 strong geomagnetic storm hit the earth on 31 October and produced these wonderful colours.” Photograph: Stefan Liebermann

Northern lights over Murmansk

For the Northern Lights – Kolsky district of Murmansk Oblast, Russia. “Nature is mysterious and unpredictable, and often leaves us open-mouthed at the inexplicable manifestations of its power. This image was captured in February in Teriberka, on the Barents Sea coast. This night was definitely special. The perfect conditions for shooting the northern lights came together: frost, ice, a full moon, a clear night and no wind. The weather was extremely difficult; the temperature was -34C but flames like these make you forget the temperature.” Photograph: Aleksey R.

Northern lights over Alaska

Forest of the Lights – Alaska, US.

“Wandering around these forests coated in rime ice is one of the most magical experiences but also one of the most difficult to capture. Temperatures are often -30C and below, and negotiating the easily broken, crusty snow on snowshoes with nothing but a headlamp makes for great challenges in hiking and composing. I used the last light of twilight to set up the shot you see here and returned to it hours later as the lights were dancing overhead.” Photograph: Marc Adamus

Northern lights over Swedish lapland

Norrsken over Vintergatan – Swedish Lapland. “Shooting the Milky Way and the aurora together was one of my resolutions for 2021. I never imagined I would fulfil this one so soon. It was a freezing, windy night and I went to a location where I hoped to see the lights rising between two mountain peaks. The “green lady” started dancing suddenly and then the Milky Way, in her winter dress, joined the party. I readjusted the composition to include the red cabin in the shot. The result is a photo that merges 12 vertical shots at 14mm (about 270 degrees) to fully cover the two overlapping arches.” Photograph: Stefano Astorri


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