When you saw the title of this blog post, I expect there’s a good chance you were anticipating the ‘classic’ Northern Lights shot of a ribbon of shimmering green winding across a clear night sky.
Well, as you can see, my Northern Lights experience didn’t quite work out that way.
Admittedly, this being an urban environment – in Vogar, on the outskirts of Reykjavik – it was far from being the ideal place to see them. The pictures here reflect that our experience of them is simply not comparable to the footage shot in documentaries, or the results you get in Google Images. You have to be in truly remote wilderness for that to happen. But it was still a great and dramatic experience to see them all the same.
The lights faded in and out of view over a 20 minute period for us, and it was very hard to tell if we were getting good pictures of them! But as you can see, a few of them have managed to come out OK.
It’s hard to describe this most spectacular of natural phenomena without lapsing into cliché, so I’ll simply say they are truly dramatic…even, in one incarnation, a bit terrifying, when two bands of green were split down the middle by a gaping, sharpened chasm of pure inky black, giving them an almost apocalyptic look.
The rest of the time they resembled a distant, vast, naturally-occurring lava lamp, blooming against the crystal clear night sky – itself dramatic with its low-hanging, yellowed moon – that simply took our breath away.
They may not have been as spectacular as they can be. But we still felt lucky and privileged to have seen them, and that it was not a ‘failure’ in the least. Sure we would have liked to have seen them in a more glorious way, but it was better to have seen them in a ‘reduced’ format than to have not seen them at all. A fitting way to bring our Iceland trip to a close.