Some dreams might take a while to materialise, but we must never give up on them. I’ve spent a few years trying to photograph the Northern Lights, with my first attempts starting in 2009 in Iceland and then in Finland about two years later. Both times the conditions were never ideal: when the nights were clear and starry there was not enough solar activity, and when there was a strong chance to see the Aurora Borealis the weather conditions would not cooperate!
The same thing happened in December 2013, during a photographic tour I was leading in Iceland. Once more the Northern Lights continued to be evasive and it seemed that our mission to photograph them would fail once again. We couldn’t complain, though, since we’d spent many fantastic days shooting the most diverse and incredible landscapes. But there was that strange sense of emptiness, the feeling that something had just slipped through our fingers…
Despite this photographic state of mind, it was time to party, since New Year’s Eve was just a few hours away. But the Aurora Borealis was nowhere to be seen. Instead we rejoiced with the frenetic Icelandic fireworks, with hundreds of thousands of coloured explosions filling our field of view. The night was long and the morning required some relaxing moments bathing in the warm turquoise waters of the Blue Lagoon, near the capital of Iceland, Reykjavik, before flying home.
However, at around 8pm, my mobile phone vibrated inside its waterproof casing, showing a notification from my preferred app dedicated to the Northern Lights activity: a big solar explosion had just occurred and there was a high chance of a level 5 to 7 Aurora Borealis! It was time to make haste, pick up the towel, dry the body, dress up and contact an Icelandic friend to go out into the night looking for the Northern Lights. While driving all of us felt butterflies in our stomachs… the adrenalin was certainly high and all our senses were devoted to finding even the faintest green light in the sky. But once more it remained black… and we started wondering if the Northern Lights were even real or just a myth.
But suddenly, desperation gave place to euphoria. Just before midnight, magic finally happened and the skies lit up, showing a level 7 Aurora Borealis dancing above us! Tripods and cameras flew out of the Jeep into the soft snow, quick exposure adjustments were made and, a few seconds later, an unbelievably beautiful Aurora Borealis was glowing on our LCD screens. Yes!!! Yes!!! Yes!!! There’s nothing like this feeling. A new unique moment was recorded, fuelling the passion for photography even more. A dream came true and new dreams were born instantly. Where will they take us?