Northern Lights

I was lucky enough to visit Iceland this autumn, and even luckier to experience something I’d always wanted to – the northern lights. This is a collage of four images that sum up the experience for me.

The aurora had already started appearing over the city as we travelled down to catch the boat – groups of people were gathering and pointing at the sky, others were running through the streets with cameras and tripods.  The excitement was really building and finally we were on a small boat, literally feeling buoyant as it zipped us across Reykjavik harbour – out into the night to find the lights.

Then they appeared – a pale green arc formed over the boat in the shape of a rainbow, the engines stopped and we floated around silently watching as the arc of light expanded right overhead.  It’s hard to describe – but the top edge of the band of light started to move, swirling like sand does when a strong wind propels it across a beach. I noticed a feeling of childlike amazement as well as a connectedness with the people on the boat as we stared skyward.

The link to mindfulness for me, was something about the process we went through to see the aurora – planning, preparation, travelling, searching – all ‘doing’ or ‘striving’ activities, and the contrasting sense of just ‘being with’ an incredible experience.  I was keen to photograph the lights.. and I was just as keen to really experience them – to look through the lens and receive the images, rather than setting out to ‘capture’ or ‘take’ or strive for anything.

I feel grateful that rather than ending up with hundreds of pictures and little memory of what it actually felt like to see the northern lights – I can really remember the experience, the emotions, thoughts and physical sensations I had as I savoured just being there.



5 thoughts on “Northern Lights

  1. tony greenbank says:

    Marvellous Heather. Literally very “moving”. Have seen the lights in the Lakes but not as vivid as this. Your Canon G7x has really caught the moment as the lights shimmer and twist, snap. xx dad

  2. leahwhitehorse says:

    Wow, how amazing to have seen the Northern Lights! That one is on my bucket list too. Your photos are beautiful, like a painting. What a wonderful experience. Happy New Year x

  3. heathergreenbank says:

    Thanks 🙂 it was difficult to photograph the movement so I’m glad it comes across in the pictures.. the G7X has a great ‘hand held night scene’ setting for pix without a tripod, which I used for these. Apparently the aurora could be seen in the Lakes last night!

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