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The aurora season has finally kicked off in Iceland. While the first northern lights are usually visible from the end of August, we haven’t been particularly lucky with the weather here in Southwest Iceland up until now. That is, until Saturday October 30th, when a CME (coronal mass ejection) was forecasted to hit the Earth’s magnetic field.

I’m always a bit sceptical when a northern lights forecast of KP7 or higher is made. More often than not, such evenings are a setup for disappointment as CME’s often miss the planet, arrive during the day or just scrape the magnetic field. So that evening, I set out with a few friends with zero expectations. Our destination was Reykjanestá, a place I frequent when photographing the lights.

After waiting around two hours in the cold, it became clear that the forecasted conditions were not going to happen that evening. As I found out the day after: the CME did not arrive (or missed the planet). However, around 22:00, we did get an incredible show. The aurora suddenly became very intense and danced overhead for at least half an hour. Though no KP7 conditions, the show was incredible.

Below are a few of the photographs I made during that show.

It’s always good to remember that when you don’t have any expectations, you can’t get disappointed. And, even more importantly, when you stay home and don’t even try to get the shots, you are guaranteed to not have any photographs at all.

For those of you who are interested, I put up prints for sale of these photographs.

If you’re interested in how you can photograph the northern lights yourself, I also have a dedicated blog explaining how to do it.

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Jeroen Van Nieuwenhove

Jeroen is an award-winning Belgian photographer based in Iceland. The past years, he dedicated his photography to the Central Highlands & volcanic eruptions. Most recently, he received international attention for his work at the Fagradalsfjall volcano.

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