Photography

Awe-inspiring auroras dazzle in annual Northern Lights photo compilation

Awe-inspiring auroras dazzle i...
Forest of the Lights by Marc Adamus, shot in Alaska, US. A coat of rime ice on the trees makes for a magical landscape matched only by the swirling blues and purples in the sky.
Forest of the Lights by Marc Adamus, shot in Alaska, US. A coat of rime ice on the trees makes for a magical landscape matched only by the swirling blues and purples in the sky.
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Forest of the Lights by Marc Adamus, shot in Alaska, US. A coat of rime ice on the trees makes for a magical landscape matched only by the swirling blues and purples in the sky.
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Forest of the Lights by Marc Adamus, shot in Alaska, US. A coat of rime ice on the trees makes for a magical landscape matched only by the swirling blues and purples in the sky.
Tranquil by Larryn Rae, taken at Lake Tekapo, New Zealand. Pillars of purple, red and yellow light dance above and within the glassy waters of the lake, while a lone figure ponders them from the shore.
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Tranquil by Larryn Rae, taken at Lake Tekapo, New Zealand. Pillars of purple, red and yellow light dance above and within the glassy waters of the lake, while a lone figure ponders them from the shore.
For the Northern Lights by Aleksey R., taken in Teriberka, Russia. An eerie shipwreck along the coast of the Barents Sea juts into a sky awash with green and blue aurora.
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For the Northern Lights by Aleksey R., taken in Teriberka, Russia. An eerie shipwreck along the coast of the Barents Sea juts into a sky awash with green and blue aurora.
Aurora Sherbet in the Apostles by Marybeth Kiczenski, shot in Wisconsin, US. After seeing reports of a coronal mass ejection and M-class solar flare, the photographer drove eight hours north to escape cloud cover. The end result was worth it, with a wide range of colors and a beautifully composited image.
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Aurora Sherbet in the Apostles by Marybeth Kiczenski, shot in Wisconsin, US. After seeing reports of a coronal mass ejection and M-class solar flare, the photographer drove eight hours north to escape cloud cover. The end result was worth it, with a wide range of colors and a beautifully composited image.
The Northern Lights Cathedral by Frøydis Dalheim, snapped in Senja, Norway. The aurora snakes its way across the sky, above a spectacular rock formation that conjures images of the divine.
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The Northern Lights Cathedral by Frøydis Dalheim, snapped in Senja, Norway. The aurora snakes its way across the sky, above a spectacular rock formation that conjures images of the divine.
Volcanic Aurora Borealis by Jeroen Van Nieuwenhove, shot atop the Geldingadalir volcano in Iceland. The blue-green glow of the aurora overhead complements the yellow-orange of the erupting lava. The photographer almost gave up for the night due to cloud cover, before they eventually parted and the aurora brightened.
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Volcanic Aurora Borealis by Jeroen Van Nieuwenhove, shot atop the Geldingadalir volcano in Iceland. The blue-green glow of the aurora overhead complements the yellow-orange of the erupting lava. The photographer almost gave up for the night due to cloud cover, before they eventually parted and the aurora brightened.
When the Stars Align by Joshua Snow, taken in Yukon, Canada. The photographer spent a week chasing aurora in Tombstone Territorial Park after a personal loss, with this image representing everything he learned about finding hope.
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When the Stars Align by Joshua Snow, taken in Yukon, Canada. The photographer spent a week chasing aurora in Tombstone Territorial Park after a personal loss, with this image representing everything he learned about finding hope.
Spectrum by Stefan Liebermann, taken in Vestrahorn, Iceland. A strong geomagnetic storm produced a flurry of vivid colors, cut by a series of jagged mountaintops.
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Spectrum by Stefan Liebermann, taken in Vestrahorn, Iceland. A strong geomagnetic storm produced a flurry of vivid colors, cut by a series of jagged mountaintops.
The Aurora Cave by Giulio Cobianchi, taken on the Lofoten Islands, Norway. The photographer says that this shot required techniques like focus stacking and multi-exposure to capture all the layers and produce a three-dimensional effect.
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The Aurora Cave by Giulio Cobianchi, taken on the Lofoten Islands, Norway. The photographer says that this shot required techniques like focus stacking and multi-exposure to capture all the layers and produce a three-dimensional effect.
Santa’s Cabin by Olli Sorvari, snapped in Levi, Finland. A wispy glow appears to emanate from a snow-encrusted cabin, at the end of a difficult trek.
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Santa’s Cabin by Olli Sorvari, snapped in Levi, Finland. A wispy glow appears to emanate from a snow-encrusted cabin, at the end of a difficult trek.
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With strong solar storms forecast over the next few months, the upcoming aurora season is sure to be a particularly beautiful one. To inspire more people to get out there and point their cameras skywards, travel blog Capture the Atlas has released a new batch of stunning shots for its annual Northern Lights Photographer of the Year compilation.

The aurora borealis (or aurora australis in the Southern Hemisphere) is a favored subject for photographers around the world, for obvious reasons. It’s impossible not to be mesmerized by the shimmering streams of color dancing in the sky, and the best shots contrast the lights against an intriguing foreground.

Much of the mystique comes from the journey as well. Most people can’t just step out their back door and snap a stunner. Auroras appear best around the extreme ends of the planet, away from the city lights, in remote terrain that’s often unforgiving. Even then, it’s a game of patience and skill in composition and technique.

Aurora Sherbet in the Apostles by Marybeth Kiczenski, shot in Wisconsin, US. After seeing reports of a coronal mass ejection and M-class solar flare, the photographer drove eight hours north to escape cloud cover. The end result was worth it, with a wide range of colors and a beautifully composited image.
Aurora Sherbet in the Apostles by Marybeth Kiczenski, shot in Wisconsin, US. After seeing reports of a coronal mass ejection and M-class solar flare, the photographer drove eight hours north to escape cloud cover. The end result was worth it, with a wide range of colors and a beautifully composited image.

The annual Northern Lights Photographer of the Year aims to honor these qualities. The images are curated by Dan Zafra, editor of the photography and travel blog Capture the Atlas, and chosen not only by the quality of the image, but the story behind it as well as just how much it might inspire others to take the journey themselves.

The 2021 collection includes 25 images by photographers of 13 different nationalities and were snapped in the United States, Canada, Russia, Finland, Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Australia and New Zealand. While the aurora is always the star of the show, a variety of landscapes, like frozen forests, placid lakes, beautiful beaches, mystical mountaintops and volatile volcanoes, threaten to upstage it.

Explore a selection of the best images in our gallery, and if that doesn’t satisfy your aurora appetite, take a peek at last year’s collection.

Source: Capture the Atlas

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1 comment
RobC
Gorgeous pictures! I've tried many times to see the aurora with only slight success. Living in a city it's is getting harder and harder to escape the light pollution enough to even see the milky way. Still these inspire me to keep trying.