The Illumine Sky


The Illumine Sky

Northern lights at Kleifarvatn

You only need two things to witness the northern lights: a clear sky and a little bit of luck. Published in the 2013 October-December issue of Iceland Review – IR 05.13. Words and Photos by Páll Stefánsson.

How do you capture the northern lights? First you need a clear dark sky. Checking out the Icelandic Met Office’s aurora forecast on should be your first step in planning the perfect shot. Next you need a sturdy tripod that won’t shake in the Icelandic wind and long exposure. Then put a wide-angle lens on your camera and focus the lens at infinity.

The first image in this article was exposed for 49 seconds, at f: 2.2, and the ISO was 400. The trick is to be patient. That night, the aurora forecast was perfect and when I arrived at Lake Kleifarvatn at 8:30 pm in early March, the road was lined with cars, waiting for the spectacle. By midnight, everybody had left because nothing was happening. Then, an hour later, as I was standing alone by the lake¡¦s shore, the sky lit up and the northern lights started to dance for me for a brief moment. Then they left, as suddenly as they had appeared.

You can read the remainder of this article and view the accompanying photographs in the October-December issue of Iceland Review – IR 05.13. Five times a year the print edition of Iceland Review & Atlantica brings you a wealth of articles on all aspects of life in Iceland including Páll Stefánsson’s latest images of the country’s majestic landscape. Click here to subscribe and here to view a selection of pages from the current issue.