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Northern Lights – Aurora Borealis

Northern lights – Aurora Borealis

Witnessing a powerful Aurora display will give you a deep sensation in your stomach, like being on a gentle roller-coaster or your first time in love. It is easy to fall under the Aurora spell and an amazing Northern Lights experience is something you will never forget. Photography the Northern lights with your camera will take your relationship with the Northern lights to a deeper level.

Aurora Colours

The colours of the Aurora Borealis are a geomagnetic phenomenon that occurs as a result of solar energy from the sun entering earth’s outer atmosphere. Electrons collide with different gases in the atmosphere to give a range of different colours. Oxygen emits a green/yellow colour during this violent energy event.  Reds, Blues and violets are caused by Nitrogen (the most abundant gas) although the colour depends if it is atomic or particle nitrogen.


The vikings believed that the dancing lights were the souls of the war-dead on their journey to Valhalla.  Many other cultures have seen them as omens of war.  In medieval Iceland, a pregnant woman was not allowed to whistle for fear of being whisked away by the lights.  In nearby Greenland, the aurora was thought to be a giant walrus in the sky.

Where to go

Just get away from the city lights and face North (90% of the time). You don’t have to go far outside the city if the Northern Lights are strong.

When to see them

In Iceland, Northern lights can be seen from the end of August to the beginning of April.  It is impossible to see them in the Summer because the sky is too bright.

The Weather

The perfect weather is zero clouds although a few clouds can help to add depth to the photo. The trouble is that clouds love Iceland.  It rains every other here. If it is raining, the chances of seeing Northern lights are very slim because rain clouds are very deep and this also means very big.  If you go out in the rain, you could get a window in the clouds which could let you see the aurora, but going out expecting this is close to madness.

Wind is fine, but you have to be careful with your camera tripod because it is not fun when that blows over. A steady camera is crucial for a successful long exposure.The trouble with Arctic winds is that it feels 10 degrees colder. The other problem with severe weather is that it makes travel very difficult. Those clear skies can bring black ice conditions. Even a careful driver can get into a mess very quickly and especially an in-experienced driver with a large 4X4 who is not used to Winter Driving.

How to photography Northern Lights

Multi-day tours and workshops

The best Northern lights photography experience is on our multi-day tours and workshops. Having many nights in great locations is the only way to maximise your chances of success. Our Scheduled photo tours run during new moon phases for enhanced aurora viewing. These are the best value. The workshops are for people who want to learn.

Multi-day Tours
Scheduled tours
Winter workshops

Evening photo tours from Reykjavik

Join one of these Northern Lights photo tours in South West Iceland, but only when there is a strong possibility of catching the Northern Lights. The following tours are run by our regular photo guides, Pall Jokull and Bragi Kort. Tripod rental is possible – see the extra info for more details about this.

Please note:These small group tours only go out with good aurora possibilities, so bear in mind they may cancel when the bus tours will still go out. If the conditions are not good for the evening you booked, they will try to offer a tour the following evening, but this depends on availability. If the weather is not good and your tour is cancelled, we will send you a full refund.

There are times when the weather and aurora forecast are really good, but the aurora doesn’t appear when you are out on a tour. Nobody wants this and your guide could offer a another tour, but there is no policy on this and again depends on availability. There is not normally a refund for a bad luck tour, but if you feel that your guide didn’t do everything in their power, you can write to request one. We have a 95% success rate.

  • Northern Lights Photo tour
  • Extra info

Landscape Photographer

A northern light hunt in the winter nights in Iceland with our photo guide Pall.

These photo tours are run by our local, pro photographer, Pall. He will take you to beautiful photo spots in South West Iceland. These locations are chosen carefully with cloud cover photography in mind. Sometimes weather forecasts are wrong and the tour has to keep flexible to help the chances of photographing the Northern lights. Sometimes, Pall will offer a tour the next evening if the evening you booked is not very good. You get the experience like a private tour because it is a small group n a large SUV.

  • 4 pax max
  • Assistance with your photography
  • Photos of you with the Northern Lights

Please note: Tours need minimum 2 people to run.

What’s included?

Pick-up and drop-off at your chosen accommodation in the Reykjavik area or in south Iceland, a ride in a comfortable 4×4 truck and photo guidance on location.

Please note If the weather forecast turns out to be bad for Northern lights you will be contacted before 18:00 the same day, and we can reschedule if possible. I can not offer the same level of service as the big tour companies, but on the other hand it will be more relaxed and flexible. We deal with the weather when the time comes 🙂 it is constantly changing over here.

What do I need to bring?

You should bring warm clothes and wear good warm shoes or hiking boots, bring a flashlight or headlight, your camera with fully charged battery’s, enough memory cards and a sturdy tripod. Pall has 2 tripods (medium & small). These are free for customers to use.

Cancellation policy

Activity type: Day tour / activity
Duration: 4 hours
Booking in advance: Can be booked until last minute
Physical difficulty level: Very easy
Fee of 10% if booking is cancelled a day or less before event
  • Photo infused Northern Lights
  • Extra info

Photographic experience

These photo tours are managed by our photo guide Bragi. Bragi runs these tours with pro photographers and small groups to ensure a great photographic experience with the Northern lights. These tours will take you to expertly chosen South Iceland photo locations. The guides are happy to take photos of you with the Aurora Borealis. If you want to photograph the Northern lights, they will give you help with your photography so you can capture fantastic aurora photos. The pro photographer guides could even help you with Milky way photography, steel wool and light painting.

  • 10 pax max
  • Assistance with your photography
  • Photos of you with the Aurora.

What’s included?

Pickup and Dropoff in the Reykjavik area. Warm drinks.

What do I need to bring?

Warm clothes.

Cancellation policy

  • Cancellation fee of 100.0% is charged if cancelled 2 day(s) or less before the event
  • Cancellation fee of 70.0% is charged if cancelled 5 day(s) or less before the event
  • Cancellation fee of 30.0% is charged if cancelled 7 day(s) or less before the event
  • Cancellation fee of 0.0% is charged if cancelled 8 day(s) or less before the event
Activity type: Day tour / activity
Duration: 4 hours
Booking in advance: Can be booked until last minute
Physical difficulty level: Very easy

Looking for something else?

If you already know how to control your camera at night, you can get great Aurora photos on a Northern lights adventure.

Adventures | Bus tours | Other Areas

Aurora Forecast links


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Northern Lights – Aurora Borealis


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