Northern lights photography near Myvatn

Gyda Henningsdottir setting up a shot at Hverarond. Suddenly an arch of lights appeared above her. Of course I found my wife to be a great foreground subject.

Everything is black after dark if there is no moonlight. No moonlight, no details in the mountains or the landscape. I prefer having some moonlight when photographing northern lights. Those were the conditions we had when we went from Akureyri to Myvatn few days ago. It takes less than one hour to drive from Akureyri to Myvatn.

Photo by Gyda Henningsdottir (

The frame Gyda shot when she was the foreground subject of the above photo. The steam makes a interesting subject together with the northern lights.

Photo by Gyda Henningsdottir (

The steam goes to the left, the northern lights placement also appear like a steam. Early in the sunset the sky has more bluish tone. One hour later it´s completely black.

It takes less than one hour to drive from Akureyri where we live to Myvatn. Late september the colors of autumn are getting stronger.  This is a tree near the lake, at the camping site (closed in september) in Reykjahlíð. The iconic Vindbelgur mountain in the background.

The hotsprings at Hverarond near Námaskarð mountain make a powerful sound in the stillness of the night. When we arrived there was a strong wind, making the white column of steam heading 45 degrees up. In the background northern lights and the Milky Way add the second and third column.

This photo is taken with a help of headlight. The trick is not to use too much light. Actually my technique is to look away from the scene, turn the headlight on and turn quickly 360 degrees in one or two seconds. It also works fine to hold the palm over the light, turn it on and flash it for less than a second. This way few details become visible in the otherwise total darkness. My aim is to copy the effect of moonlight.

It is never boring to photograph northern lights. Only when they don´t show up. Bursts of light can suddenly appear and often the greatest shows get missed since it takes a few seconds to change the settings of the camera – or the tripod.

Later near Kálfaströnd and Höfði. When the conditions offer thin clouds the lights appear mushy and everything turns green.

A selfie in the reflection of northern lights in Myvatn. It´s not a composite or a cloned fake selfie. Be careful if you want to take your own selfie at this location. It does not take much climbing, but requires you to take every footstep carefully. Short burst of the headlight from Gyda offers some details in the rock – a fictional moonlight.