Photography

Ethereal auroras inspire awe in Northern Lights photography competition

Ethereal auroras inspire awe i...
Convergence by Agnieszka Mrowka, taken at Jökulsárlón in Iceland. The aurora is mirrored beautifully in the still waters.
Convergence by Agnieszka Mrowka, taken at Jökulsárlón in Iceland. The aurora is mirrored beautifully in the still waters.
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Convergence by Agnieszka Mrowka, taken at Jökulsárlón in Iceland. The aurora is mirrored beautifully in the still waters.
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Convergence by Agnieszka Mrowka, taken at Jökulsárlón in Iceland. The aurora is mirrored beautifully in the still waters.
The Hunt’s Reward by Ben Maze, captured in Tasmania, Australia. A brilliant display of colors lights up the sky, with the starry core of the Milky Way threatening to steal the show.
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The Hunt’s Reward by Ben Maze, captured in Tasmania, Australia. A brilliant display of colors lights up the sky, with the starry core of the Milky Way threatening to steal the show.
Antarctic Night by Benjamin Eberhardt, snapped in Antarctica. The aurora paints the southern sky in greens and pinks, above the IceCube Neutrino observatory.
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Antarctic Night by Benjamin Eberhardt, snapped in Antarctica. The aurora paints the southern sky in greens and pinks, above the IceCube Neutrino observatory.
Gate to the North by Filip Hrebenda, captured in Iceland. This image was the culmination of a tough day and night’s work as well as some wild winds, but the end result was well worth it.
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Gate to the North by Filip Hrebenda, captured in Iceland. This image was the culmination of a tough day and night’s work as well as some wild winds, but the end result was well worth it.
Turbulence by John Weatherby, shot in Iceland. A masterclass example of picking the perfect foreground subject, the stunning streaks of the northern lights are even more eerie over the Sólheimasandur plane wreck.
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Turbulence by John Weatherby, shot in Iceland. A masterclass example of picking the perfect foreground subject, the stunning streaks of the northern lights are even more eerie over the Sólheimasandur plane wreck.
Flames in the sky by Risto Leskinen, snapped in the Finnish Lapland. A haunting image shows a lone figure holding a lantern, beneath snow-capped trees and a green glow in the sky.
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Flames in the sky by Risto Leskinen, snapped in the Finnish Lapland. A haunting image shows a lone figure holding a lantern, beneath snow-capped trees and a green glow in the sky.
Dragon Eggs by Roksolyana Hilevych, shot at the Lofoten Islands in Norway. The name no doubt comes from the eye-catching ice structures in the foreground, set against the backdrop of a mountain and beyond that, streaks of green light in the sky.
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Dragon Eggs by Roksolyana Hilevych, shot at the Lofoten Islands in Norway. The name no doubt comes from the eye-catching ice structures in the foreground, set against the backdrop of a mountain and beyond that, streaks of green light in the sky.
Heavenly Dance by Sergey Korolev, taken on the Kola Peninsula in Russia. The northern lights dance above scattered stones draped in fog over the waters of the Barents Sea.
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Heavenly Dance by Sergey Korolev, taken on the Kola Peninsula in Russia. The northern lights dance above scattered stones draped in fog over the waters of the Barents Sea.
Hafragilsfoss Aurora by Stefano Pellegrini, shot in Iceland. The gorgeous Hafragilsfoss waterfall is captured in a four-minute exposure for the foreground, painting a peaceful scene below the greens and yellows of the aurora overhead.
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Hafragilsfoss Aurora by Stefano Pellegrini, shot in Iceland. The gorgeous Hafragilsfoss waterfall is captured in a four-minute exposure for the foreground, painting a peaceful scene below the greens and yellows of the aurora overhead.
Aurora Eruption by Tor-Ivar Næss, captured in Norway. On a freezing February night, the northern lights appear to be erupting from the mountaintops of the Lyngen Alps.
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Aurora Eruption by Tor-Ivar Næss, captured in Norway. On a freezing February night, the northern lights appear to be erupting from the mountaintops of the Lyngen Alps.
Natural Mystic by Virginia Yllera, snapped in Iceland. A dramatic cliffside and foggy waterfall stand in contrast with the gentle green aurora above.
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Natural Mystic by Virginia Yllera, snapped in Iceland. A dramatic cliffside and foggy waterfall stand in contrast with the gentle green aurora above.
View gallery - 11 images

Auroras are among the most beautiful sights we can experience on this planet – so it’s no wonder they’re a favorite subject for photographers. Travel photography blog Capture the Atlas has now published its list of the best aurora images of the year, in the 2020 Northern Lights Photographer of the Year competition.

There’s more to aurora photography than the stunning colors and shapes that streak across the sky. It’s the thrill of needing to be in the right place at the right time. It’s the mystique of knowing that this right place has to be near the chilly, sparsely populated poles at either end of the planet. And it’s the skill of setting that beautiful backdrop against a worthy foreground. But as these photos attest, it’s all worth it.

The images in this year’s Northern Lights Photographer of the Year come from 25 photographers hailing from 18 different countries, and they’re not just judged on the images themselves. Dan Zafra, editor of Capture the Atlas and curator of the collections, takes into account the story behind the shot, as well as how much it might inspire others to pick up a camera and head to higher latitudes.

Heavenly Dance by Sergey Korolev, taken on the Kola Peninsula in Russia. The northern lights dance above scattered stones draped in fog over the waters of the Barents Sea.
Heavenly Dance by Sergey Korolev, taken on the Kola Peninsula in Russia. The northern lights dance above scattered stones draped in fog over the waters of the Barents Sea.

Among the highlights are Heavenly Dance by Sergey Korolev, snapped on the Kola Peninsula in Russia. In this stunning shot, the northern lights dancing in the sky are almost upstaged by the mesmerizing sight of the scattered stones fading into the fog over the waters of the Barents Sea.

The Hunt’s Reward by Ben Maze, captured in Tasmania, Australia. A brilliant display of colors lights up the sky, with the starry core of the Milky Way threatening to steal the show.
The Hunt’s Reward by Ben Maze, captured in Tasmania, Australia. A brilliant display of colors lights up the sky, with the starry core of the Milky Way threatening to steal the show.

At the opposite end of the world, Ben Maze captured The Hunt’s Reward near the southernmost tip of Tasmania, Australia. Here the aurora paints the night sky brilliant hues of pink, orange and yellow, with the rainbow completed by blue bioluminescence in the waters below. Better yet, the Milky Way core – itself the subject of another annual competition by Capture the Atlas – lurks overhead.

Marvel at the wonders of the northern (and southern) lights in our gallery, and check out the full list at Capture the Atlas.

Source: Capture the Atlas

View gallery - 11 images
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