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See and Photograph the Northern Lights in Iceland

Akureyri, Iceland


Added by Wesetthesails

No matter how often you see northern lights, they keep reinventing themselves to surprise you even stronger.

After a short drive to get out of the city, find yourself under a starry sky, with bright snowy mountains visible in the dark. There you can watch the night sky crackling with the energy of northern lights.

  • Period of the year

Northern lights occur at high latitudes, they cannot be observed from mid-April until mid-August when there is no darkness in Iceland. Although they are visible as soon as darkness is back, one enjoys maximum chances from September to March. Also, we observe a peak in September and March due to equinoxes. 

  • Parameters

First thing, one should look at the aurora forecast, based on the Kp index. The scale goes up to 9, but a forecast of 3 is already promising. The other crucial element is the cloud cover: a high index will not do the job if clouds are not cooperating. The final tip is to go out of town and minimize light pollution. Northern lights may be hardly visible in a city, and stunning just 5km away: a small hike to a nearby mountain will ensure you the best spot!

  • Camera settings

Put the camera on the manual mode and set the lens to infinity. Set Aperture as low as possible depending on the lens you have (f/3.5 here), shutter speed at 15'' and ISO at 1000. Try and adjust the shutter until you get a sharp picture.

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