The Northern Lights are quite the scene to catch – if you are lucky. I just returned from a week long trip in Iceland, where my primary goal was to catch these beautiful lights that dance across the sky.
Unfortunately, my tour was cancelled every night that I was there because of the overcast and little to no visibility of the sky. But as luck would have it, on my way back from a tour of Southern Iceland, they appeared and my tour guide was so gracious to make a few stops for us to get out and see them.
So how do you catch the Northern Lights in Iceland? The first thing that needs to happen is that there needs to be a completely dark and clear sky. If you are lucky, you will see many colors dancing across the sky in beautiful waves. Second, the time of year is everything – from about September to the middle of April, give or take. It is not guaranteed that you will see them, but the longer you stay in Iceland the better chances you have. The weather clears up eventually.
There is an art in Iceland travel photography when it comes to the Northern Lights. You cannot capture these beauties with just a camera phone.
Photographing the Northern Lights:
A common misconception is that you can just film or photograph these from a phone. In some cases you can – but the reality in most cases is that you need a tripod and you need to set up your camera correctly. Long exposure is going to be crucial in catching this on photo paired with the stillness of the tripod. There are various settings that you will need to work through with your camera to set this up and I would highly advise a tutorial online prior to setting off (if you don’t already know).
There was one person on my entire tour who was able to catch one green ray of light on their phone and everyone with a camera and without a tripod was unsuccessful. If you are just after seeing them and not photographing them – enjoy your time out there, its truly magical.
- You can book a tour here with BusIceland Travel
- Book at the begining of your trip. If your tour gets cancelled you can keep rescheduling for the following day. Do NOT wait until the last day of your trip for this – try early to get the best results
- Tour of the Northern Lights lasts about 3-5 hours as you adventure out for them – there needs to be complete darkness, so plan to stay up late that night
- Current cost for tour is about $57 dollars usd
- Dress warm and bring layers – it gets very cold at night and the winds could make it feel colder
- If it is windy, stay with your tripod – you do not want it to knock over with your camera