Northern Lights Photographer Of The Year 2023: The Best 10 Photographs Of The Aurora Borealis

Northern Lights Photographer Of The Year 2023: The Best 10 Photographs Of The Aurora Borealis

Categories: Beauty | Nature | Photo project | Travel | World

The travel photography blog Capture the Atlas has recently unveiled its sixth annual edition of the Northern Lights Photographer of the Year. This collection showcases the finest 10 photographs of the aurora borealis. Traditionally released in December to coincide with the Northern Lights season, these images aim to inspire and share the beauty of this amazing natural phenomenon.

This year, the list features pictures from all over the world, taken in countries such as the UK, the United States, Canada, Germany, Italy, Finland, Norway, Iceland, Australia, New Zealand and more! Scroll down to enjoy stunning photos of the Northern Lights!

More info: capturetheatlas

10 PHOTOS

Northern Lights Photographer Of The Year 2023: The Best 10 Photographs Of The Aurora Borealis

#1 "Aurora Explosion" By Jason Perry

Tasmania, Australia

"Taken in Tasmania back in April 2023, the Southern Lights displayed their strongest presence in a long time. The celestial show commenced right after dark, coinciding with the emergence of the Milky Way core. This is undeniably a convergence of people and space.

The house lights on the right side, closest to me, contrast with the mountains of Freycinet National Park across the bay. I positioned myself as close as possible to the rocks, where the rising tide caused water to swirl around them. Despite having to reset the tripod a few times, the resulting reflection made the effort worthwhile."

The Northern Lights are visible from September to April in the Northern Hemisphere and from March to September in the Southern Hemisphere. The ideal time to witness and capture them is during the fall and spring equinoxes due to the Earth's axis.

Northern Lights Photographer Of The Year 2023: The Best 10 Photographs Of The Aurora Borealis

#2 "Blåvatnet" By Lukas Moesch

Tromso, Norway

"On the way to the location where I took this photograph, I had a magical encounter with a rare white reindeer – which is a sign of good luck.

Despite this good omen, I wasn’t entirely sure I could capture the Northern Lights that particular night. After waiting for several hours, I began to witness a very faint glow during the blue hour. What happened after that was mind-blowing! The whole sky turned green, purple, and red. The show lasted the whole night, and my hike back was lit by the bright green sky."

Northern Lights Photographer Of The Year 2023: The Best 10 Photographs Of The Aurora Borealis

#3 "Waning Sun" By Alex Wides

Senja Island, Norway

"A 300° panorama captured on Senja Island (Norway) featuring the setting sun and an intense kp7 Northern Lights display.

Embarking on a three-month journey from Italy to the Great North, you anticipate witnessing incredible sights, but this trip surpassed all my expectations. Arriving at Senja Island, my personal favorite among the places I’ve been fortunate enough to visit, we encountered the most powerful Northern Lights of the year, exactly as predicted.

The horizon is glowing with the light of the setting sun; in September, it sets at 11:00 PM, painting the sky in vibrant shades of green, purple, and red. This shot encapsulates the essence of the journey, capturing the beauty of an extraordinary adventure on one unforgettable evening with my family and two dogs, witnessing an awe-inspiring spectacle."

"The quality of the image, the story behind the shot, and the overall inspiration that the photograph can provide are the main factors for selecting the images every year. The competition not only helps other photographers who want to capture the Northern Lights but also brings this phenomenon closer, allowing everyone to learn and discover more about one of nature’s most spectacular light shows," say the organizers of the 2023 Northern Lights Photographer of the Year.

Northern Lights Photographer Of The Year 2023: The Best 10 Photographs Of The Aurora Borealis

#4 "Circle Of Life" By Frøydis Dalheim

Lappland, Finland

"This is a magical place in the forests of the Finnish Lapland that I was fortunate to capture during an evening in late March.

A pair of swans were further down the river, and occasionally I could hear them singing. Even though it was cold, at almost -30° Celsius, I enjoyed being embraced by the peace and harmony of this beautiful night!"

Northern Lights Photographer Of The Year 2023: The Best 10 Photographs Of The Aurora Borealis

#5 "Infinity" By Giulio Cobianchi

Lofoten Islands, Norway

"In the last few years in Lofoten, I’ve captured several “double arc” panoramas, but each time is a complex endeavor as many factors must align, and in the Arctic, it’s no easy feat. The aurora needs to be visible only to the north, it has to be a moonless night, and clear skies are essential. Additionally, the conditions must allow you to reach the peaks without excessive risk.

Picture yourself at the summit of a mountain, positioned between the Northern Lights and the Milky Way, aware that this ephemeral moment may last only seconds or minutes.

Being focused on such a situation, and not wasting the moment, is challenging. The planning involved in capturing this type of photo brings immense satisfaction, watching the elements of this intricate puzzle slowly converge. This photography style has become one of my favorites."

Dan Zafra, the editor of Capture the Atlas, selects photos year-round. He features shots from both well-known photographers and emerging talents, focusing on rare aurora sightings in new locations.

"In this 2023 edition, there are some stunning images, including photos in places where aurora images are rare, such as Wales, Germany, Italy, mainland Australia, etc. There's a lot of news now related to the Northern Lights as we are seeing stronger aurora displays lately," Zafra shared.

Northern Lights Photographer Of The Year 2023: The Best 10 Photographs Of The Aurora Borealis

#6 "Gatklettur Northen Lights" By Stefano Pellegrini

Gatklettur, Iceland

"I spent a week in Iceland, chasing the Northern Lights. Opting for total freedom of movement to track clear skies each night, I lived in a car, planning my itinerary day by day instead of booking hotels in advance. The strategy paid off, and I captured the aurora on four out of seven nights. This photo is from the first night.

Arriving at the location after dark, I parked the car and prepared my sleeping bag. Despite being up since 4 AM, I set my alarm clock to wake me every hour in anticipation of a KP5 forecast for the night. I woke up at 2:30 am on my own and spotted green hues from the car window. I hurried out, shooting frantically to seize the opportunity.

The final image is my second attempt. Initially, I framed the arch from the front down on the rocky shore but I wasn’t satisfied with the result. After a night of running around various locations, at 5 AM, I returned to the beach for another composition."

Northern Lights Photographer Of The Year 2023: The Best 10 Photographs Of The Aurora Borealis

#7 "Island Of Aurora" By Kat Lawman

Wales, United Kingdom

"I was fortunate enough to capture the Northern Lights from Northern Sweden back in March, with beautiful visible green waves overhead. However, I never expected to capture an incredible Aurora like this just a 15-minute drive from my door.

Upon reaching the location, the aurora was exceptionally powerful. I worried that by the time I had sorted all my equipment and scouted my composition, I might miss the main show. Nevertheless, I set up my tripod next to a small pool of seawater, focusing on capturing reflections. At this point, the aurora had slightly diminished, and I had to endure a few rain showers. However, my efforts and perseverance paid off around 9:30 pm when huge green and pink light pillars shot out of the sky—completely mesmerizing!"

Northern Lights Photographer Of The Year 2023: The Best 10 Photographs Of The Aurora Borealis

#8 "Aurora Flame" By Richard Zheng

Dunedin Peninsula, New Zealand

"The peninsula of Dunedin in New Zealand is a good place to observe the aurora. It not only has very little light pollution but there are many bays facing South, which is ideal to capture the Aurora Australis. This photo was taken at a lookout on the roadside of Highcliffe.

This was the first time I had the opportunity to take photos of the Aurora and emission nebulae using a special camera for astrophotography.

In this photo, you can see the Large Magellanic Cloud in the upper right corner. The red mass in the upper left corner of the picture is the Colloidal Nebula, and extending down is the Carina Nebula."

Northern Lights Photographer Of The Year 2023: The Best 10 Photographs Of The Aurora Borealis

#9 "The Arctic Dance" By Vincent Beudez

Tromso, Norway

"As Northern Lights photographers, this is the moment we live for, the strongest solar storm of the year. That particular night, the Northern Lights were so strong that they were even visible from France, my home country.

At that time, I was in Northern Norway, which meant I could see an incredible show even facing south. I was able to see the most colorful Northern Lights I’ve ever witnessed. Being a night photographer as well, I’m not only looking for the Northern Lights, but I chase shapes within a perfect environment, to create the perfect composition.

It’s hard to put into words the feeling when I saw this red curtain surrounded by dancing lights."

Northern Lights Photographer Of The Year 2023: The Best 10 Photographs Of The Aurora Borealis

#10 "Green Snakes" By Filip Hrebenda

Vikten, Norway

"This photo was taken at one of the lesser-known beaches in Lofoten, Norway, called 'Vikten.' As with my other shots, I aimed to capture something new and different. During low tide at Vikten Beach, numerous small pools emerge in the rocky paths carved by the ocean. So the first crucial step was to wait for the low tide.

Then, I sought the ideal composition with a foreground pool to create a leading-line effect. After a few minutes of searching, I found it! The next challenge was achieving sharpness, which can be challenging in low-light conditions. To address this, I needed to focus stack the foreground. I used six individual shots for focus stacking the foreground to ensure everything was sharp.

Following that, I had to wait for the ideal aurora shape to improve my composition. I captured several photos and selected the one in which it formed the ideal shape for my composition. This allowed the aurora itself to become a part of the leading lines, resembling 'green snakes'."

Keywords: Northern Lights | Photographer | Photographs | Aurora Borealis | Travel photography | Nature | Beauty

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