How does a huge geomagnetic storm (Kp6 – G2) look like?

This week was very good for catching the northern lights here in Iceland, not only of geomagnetic storm (huge activity of the aurora borealis) but also because the weather was really good, with clear skies and very little wind.

Those pictures were taken on 01.03.2017 and I think the northern lights were the strongest this year so far. Let’s hope, that in the remaining time, before the nights will stay bright, we get a chance to see more of them.

We were lucky on Wednesday, clear skies and very good visibility. Also we arrived at Grótta Lighthouse in a very good time, just before the northern lights become very active. They were around Kp4 and then suddenly the night was turned to a day, northern lights illuminating the ground and just dancing all over the place. It happened so suddenly, that I did not have the chance to adjust the camera settings properly and that caused that the pictures are a little bit overexposed but due to that they show really good how a huge geomagnetic storm (Kp6 – G2) looks like.

The shape of the lights just disappeared the same way it appeared, very suddenly. Leaving behind just like a cloud cover but made of northern lights, pulsating and behaving like waves.

More than a couple of my pictures was also published by Iceland Magazine and can be found here: Photos of the magnificent aurora caused by yesterday's geomagnetic storm.

Geomagnetic storm (Kp6 – G2)

Northern Lights dancing at Grótta Lighthouse

Canon Professional Network – Editor’s Choice 2017 – Public Vote Nomination

To my surprise, I have found out that my picture is nominated, in the category nature and is now online for public voting.

There are 4 different categories for this year’s Editor’s Choice: Nature, Portrait, Sports and Photojournalism.

There are many very good submissions and you should check it out and leave a vote for your favorite:

Canon Professional Network – Editor’s Choice 2017 – Public Vote

Again to my surprise, there are quite a lot of Iceland pictures in Nature category. I can easily spot 3 pictures from Iceland, 2 pictures from Markus van Hauten, ice on the beach probably taken at Jökulsárlón, another picture is the beautiful Vestrahorn.

Another picture from Iceland is taken by Andre Erlich, a beautiful combination of Icelandic lava rocks, hot springs and northern lights. I am not quite sure, but I think this picture was taken at the Blue Lagoon (also on my “to do” list).

I wanted to take some time and write some lines about my submission for this contest. The picture that I have submitted is called “Looking for Þrasi’s chest of gold”.

The idea came in the beginning of January 2016, on my first tour of the year, the South Coast up to Jökulsárlón. We stopped for the night at the famous Skógafoss.

After a nap, to charge the energy for the hunt of Northern Lights at this same location. Unfortunately, Icelandic weather does have its own behavior and was not looking promising, with snow, clouds, hail and strong wind.

Hoping that there will be an opening in the clouds, we still stayed outside and came up with light painting to not waste the time just standing in the cold surrounded by darkness and the strange deep noise of water masses rushing down the hill.

I knew there was a legend about that waterfall and this is how the idea was born: According to legend, the first Viking settler in the area, Þrasi Þórólfsson, buried a treasure in a cave behind the waterfall. The legend continues that locals found the chest years later, but were only able to grasp the ring on the side of the chest before it disappeared again. The ring was allegedly given to the local church. The old church door ring is now in a museum.

We had a quite strong light source with us but many different aspects just did not fit to capture good results. But the try gave me an idea of what settings to use and what weather conditions need to be met to capture the picture I wanted.

A month later, another South Coast tour up to Jökulsárlón. We stayed at the same hotel and went to bed to get out again later in the night and try to capture some Northern Lights.

But yet again, the weather was not on our side, sky covered by snow clouds and opening again in 10-15 minutes interval. But this time the moon was out and did share some light on the surroundings of Skógafoss.

Equipped, this time with a much stronger light source, we started to recreate my idea of the past visit. It actually did not take us that long to capture a picture that I had in mind. Main difficult part of this picture was, to try and hit that cloud opening to get the light of the moon and have some snow so it reflects the beam of the light source, a little bit of clear sky above the waterfall AND standing still for a 30 seconds exposure. Try that some time when you are in Iceland with strong winds, standing still for 30 seconds is not that easy.

But enough writing, here is the picture: “Looking for Þrasi’s chest of gold”.

Also, don’t forget to cast your votes for the public vote of CPN Editor’s Choice, there are some really good ones.