This year’s Northern and Southern Lights were spectacularly captured by top photographers worldwide. Capture the Atlas highlighted these magnificent auroras in its Northern Lights Photographer of the Year collection. Curated by editor Dan Zafra, the collection features 25 photographers from 13 nationalities, emphasizing both renowned and emerging talents. Notably, this year’s auroras appeared in unusual locations such as Wales, Germany, Italy’s Dolomites, mainland Australia, and Death Valley National Park, showcasing a rare glimpse of this natural phenomenon at lower latitudes.
Alex Wides documented a stunning Northern Lights display on Norway’s Senja Island during sunset. Reflecting on the experience, he remarked, “Expectations were high for incredible sights, but this trip exceeded them all. On Senja Island, we witnessed the year’s most intense Northern Lights, illuminating the sky in vivid greens, purples, and reds.”
In the enchanting Finnish Lapland forests, Frøydis Dalheim captured a breathtaking image. Despite the extreme cold, nearly -30 Celsius (-22 Fahrenheit), she found joy in the serene beauty of the night. “Even in the freezing conditions, the peace and harmony of this beautiful night were captivating,” she noted.
During the capture of this photo in Italy’s Dolomites, a rare and intense magnetic storm was occurring. Photographer William Preite reflected on the moment, stating, “I was in the right place at the right time.”
Lukas Moesch spent several hours in Tromso, Norway, for a remarkable photograph. He recalled, “After a long wait, a faint glow appeared. Then, astonishingly, the sky transformed into vibrant greens, purples, and reds.”
During Marc Marco Ripoll’s second night in Iceland, neon green arcs graced the sky. He shared, “Timid auroras began to appear on the horizon behind the well-known Mt. Kirkjufell.”
Elena Ermolina captured this stunning scene on Russia’s Kola Peninsula. Reflecting on the experience, she said, “The Northern Lights painted the sky green with their ethereal dance. My camera captured even more colors than my eyes could see.”
Luis Cajete experienced a breathtaking Northern Lights display over Iceland’s stunning Haifoss waterfall. He described the moment as a “dream come true.”
Richard Zheng captured an eye-catching and memorable photograph on New Zealand’s scenic Dunedin Peninsula. The image, showcasing the unique beauty of the region, highlights Zheng’s skill in capturing the essence of the landscape.
Paul Wilson captured the Aurora Australis from Camp Saddle in Canterbury, New Zealand. Following a demanding hike carrying 30kg of equipment, Wilson expressed his delight at the aurora’s appearance. He noted, “The Large and Small Magellanic Clouds, galaxies only visible from the Southern Hemisphere, were also visible, adding to the spectacle.”
Nickolas Warner captured the featured image in Alaska, about 70 miles north of the Arctic Circle. Central in the image is Sukakpak Mountain, which Warner describes as “one of the most beautiful peaks in the Brooks Mountain Range.”
This unique image captures the Northern Lights in South Wales, creating a stunning backdrop to the 200-year-old Paxton’s Tower, set in the beautiful Carmarthenshire countryside. Photographer Mathew Browne described the moment, saying, “For a brief, magical instance, the sky erupted with striking pink pillars, clearly visible to the naked eye.”
On March 23, 2023, Earth experienced its strongest geomagnetic storm in six years, creating a rare and spectacular display. Amidst this cosmic event, photographer Virgil Reglioni was strategically positioned in Otertinden, Norway, where he skillfully executed a unique and remarkable photograph. The geomagnetic storm provided a rare opportunity to capture the natural phenomena’s heightened intensity, and Reglioni’s expertise was pivotal in immortalizing this moment.
This stunning and vivid photo, showcasing the natural beauty of the Lofoten archipelago in Norway, was expertly captured by photographer Filip Hrebenda. His work highlights the breathtaking scenery of this Nordic region, renowned for its dramatic landscapes and unique lighting conditions. Hrebenda’s skillful composition and timing bring to life the vibrant colors and textures of the Lofoten islands, offering viewers a glimpse into the serene and picturesque environment of this part of the world.
Stefano Pellegrini dedicated a week in Iceland to pursuing the Northern Lights. Embracing full mobility to follow clear skies nightly, he chose to live out of a car, planning his journey daily instead of pre-booking hotels. This approach proved successful. “I captured the aurora on four out of seven nights, and this photo is from the first night,” he recounted.
Kristine Rose captured this extraordinary image in Nova Scotia, Canada, highlighting the stunning natural beauty of the region. Reflecting on the experience, she described it as the most impressive and unforgettable display she had ever witnessed in that location. The photo stands as a testament to her photographic skill and the captivating allure of the natural phenomena unique to Nova Scotia, capturing a moment of sheer beauty and awe-inspiring visual splendor.
Justin Miller achieved a stunning photographic feat with this heavenly capture in his home state of Michigan. The image reflects Miller’s keen eye for beauty and his ability to seize extraordinary moments in familiar surroundings. His skill in photography brings to light the spectacular and often overlooked natural wonders of Michigan, offering viewers a glimpse into the enchanting scenes that can be found close to home. This photo stands as a testament to Miller’s talent and the scenic splendor of Michigan’s landscapes.
Kat Lawman, who captured this incredible aurora just a 15-minute drive from her home in Wales, expressed her surprise at the experience. “I never expected to capture such a breathtaking aurora so close to home,” she said. Describing the scene, she added, “Huge green and pink light pillars shot out of the sky – it was completely mesmerizing!”
Vincent Beudez expressed his passion for photography with this image taken in northern Norway, saying, “This is the moment we live for.” He added, “It was the most colorful Northern Lights I’ve ever witnessed.”
Photographer Kenneth LeRose captured this image at Badwater Basin in Death Valley National Park, the lowest point in the U.S. at 282 feet (86 meters) below sea level. Reflecting on the experience, Kenneth remarked, “I couldn’t believe my eyes. This was my favorite shot from a memorable night.”
Josh Beames captured this mesmerizing image at Bakers Oven in Australia soon after observing a massive solar flare from the sun, seemingly directed towards Earth. He closely monitored the data and was thrilled to discover it would be a direct hit. This provided him an excellent chance to photograph the elusive Southern Lights.
Jason Perry took this breathtaking photograph in Tasmania, capturing a moment where nature’s wonders converged spectacularly. He shared that the celestial display began just as darkness fell, perfectly timed with the emergence of the Milky Way’s core. This serendipitous alignment allowed Perry to capture both the awe-inspiring beauty of the night sky and the distinct features of the Milky Way, adding a remarkable depth to the image. His photograph not only showcases the scenic beauty of Tasmania but also highlights the magical interplay between celestial events and our view from Earth.
Laura Oppelt captured this stunning image in the Wadden Sea National Parks, Germany, expressing amazement at witnessing such a strong aurora display far south of the Polar Circle. She recalled the experience: “At a certain point, the sky seemed to explode, and I found myself shouting out loud on the beach, overwhelmed with excitement and disbelief.”
Jordan McInally captured this hypnotic image at Moke Lake, New Zealand. He arrived just as beams of light began dancing across the horizon, coinciding with the fading sunlight. Reflecting on the experience, he shared, “I spent around five hours up here, enjoying the solitude of the ridge, and shot over 300 frames, capturing a variety of beams and colors as the show constantly evolved.”
Photographer MaryBeth Kiczenski captured this awe-inspiring image in an ice cave in Alaska, explaining its special significance: “This ice cave collapsed over the summer. Aware of its impending demise, I made it a priority to visit in March of this year. As a result, this image is particularly meaningful to me, reminding us all not to take things for granted.”
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