Cloudy aurora hunt

Northern Lights in Iceland

Great activity above the clouds.

Last night the aurora forecast was very good, activity high and celar skies. But, as so often here in Iceland, the weather forecast was not quite spot on. I decided to visit one of my favorite areas, the Reykjanes peninsula, but despite the good forecast, it was mostly overcast. But by driving around I managed to find some openings here and there.

Aurora in Iceland.

Capturing the motion of the clouds, with the aurora backlighting.

When I got to lake Kleifarvatn, it was completely overcast, strong wind and the clouds moving fast. But I could see that above the clouds, aurora was dancing in the sky, backlighting the clouds. So what to do? Was I going to pack up my stuff and go home?

Of course not! There is always something to photograph, and dull conditions only push your creativity a little bit more. This is the time to experiment.

Northern Lights Photography tour in Iceland

Final shot of the night, a more traditional approach.

Since the aurora was not properly visible and no way I could shoot the texture of the aurora, I decided to capture the motion of the clouds with a long exposure. So I crancked down the ISO, and pushed the shutter speed to 30 sec. The result is an unusual aurora photograph, but definately something I will explore more later on. For me, the photo portrays a feeling of cold and windy landscape, wich was excactly what I experienced at the time. On the way home, I saw a big opening in the sky wich gave me the opportunity to shoot a more typical aurora photo.

All in all this was a great night out, as ususal. The tricky conditions pushed me a little bit out of the comfort zone, and instead of just hunting for the light, I was exploring more what the light could do for my pictures. And isn’t that what photography is all about?