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My First Northern Lights Experience

Updated: Oct 17, 2022

The Aurora / Northern Lights over the majestic Kirkjufell Mountain in Iceland
The Majestic Kirkjufell Mountain in Iceland

This photo is from a night that completely changed my life. I was sitting in a small restaurant near Kirkjufell Mountain, when a group of photographers walked in and seemed extremely excited. I could over hear them talking about an incoming solar storm, but I honestly had no idea what that meant. I kindly asked one of the gentlemen if he could explain it to me, and he simply replied “Magical Northern Lights” as he enthusiastically waved his arms wide above his head. “We are all in for a special treat tonight!” he loudly exclaimed, as the entire restaurant started to cheer.

He then invited me to sit with his fellow photographers as they discussed the intricate details that go into shooting a great Aurora display. I was completely overwhelmed because I had never even taken a picture in the dark, yet alone done any sort of astrophotography. After talking with them for what seemed like hours, they graciously invited me to accompany them to Kirkjufell for a photographer’s dream shoot.

Arriving around 10pm, we all lined up our tripods and cameras across from the iconic mountain. The photographers looked like a row of soldiers ready for battle. We could suddenly see the Northern Lights dancing across the sky and you could vividly hear yells of excitement all around. I honestly was completely speechless, as this was my first time experiencing the magical Aurora Borealis. My Nikon Z6, along with a Laowa 15mm f2 lens was capturing the Northern Lights perfectly (thanks to the help of my new friends). The lights were so active that I had to lower my shutter speed from 8 seconds all the way down to 1 second as not have blurry Aurora photos.

After about an hour, I decided to leave the group and walk up the hill a few hundred yards to try some different compositions. It was so challenging not to just look up at the sky in pure amazement. I knew in my heart I wanted a wide variety of pictures that I could look back on, and fondly remember what a life changing experience this was. I ended up taking over 300 pictures that night, and they all have special meaning to me, but this one I have to consider my favorite.

Here are a few other pictures from that amazing night!

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