Tomer Razabi is a passionate freelance landscape photographer and owner of Wild Travel—an adventure and nature expeditions company. Tomer guides photography expeditions in Israel and around the world.

To see more of his work, pay him a visit at his 500px profilewebsite, and Facebook page.

Aurora Explosion by Tomer Razabi on

The northern lights (Aurora Borealis) is by far one of the most amazing natural phenomenon to witness on our planet; and, over the last few years, I’ve had the opportunity to see and photograph the northern lights several times, mostly in Finnish Scandinavia.

However nothing could prepare me for what I saw last October when I guided a group of travelers and photographers to one of the best places in the world to see amazing landscapes and the northern lights: Iceland.

Iceland is well known for its extraordinary and diverse landscapes and also as one of the top places in the world to see the northern lights. I have long planned to get there to see and photograph the volcanoes, huge waterfalls, glaciers, mountains, and the northern lights as well.

In October of this year, I arrived there with a group of travelers and photographers for a 9 day tour around the island. The plan was to travel during daytime to the best and most famous locations, and go out at night to hopefully see the northern lights.

On the first day we arrived we already had great luck and saw the northern lights right outside our hotel:

Garden of Demons by Tomer Razabi on

We were pretty happy and excited, as no one could promise good weather and solar activity conditions during our stay.

Over the next few days, we traveled the southern coast of Iceland and visited famous locations like Landmanalauger, Jokulsarlon (Glacier Lagoon), volcanic beaches, and several stunning waterfalls.

Landmanalaugar Hills by Tomer Razabi on

Jokulsalon by Tomer Razabi on

Unfortunately, the weather was pretty cloudy and rainy so there was a very low chance we would see the northern lights during night time.

On our fifth day, we headed towards lake Myvatn in the north part of Iceland which is generally less cloudy than the south part. As always, when traveling to places where you can see northern lights, I had an app (“Aurora forecast”) on my iPhone with Aurora alerts and predictions, and I was constantly looking at weather websites to see cloud coverage predictions.

The forecast that day was clear skies and Kp=4/Kp=5 Aurora activity, which means there is a very good chance of seeing strong northern lights in Iceland, especially in the north part.

On our way to Myvatn we stopped for dinner at a restaurant and a few minutes later one of my co-guides rushed in and said there were northern lights outside. Everybody went out and we all saw the beautiful lights display. It was so strong we saw it even though we were in the middle of a town.

No need to say we ate our dinner very quickly and hurried towards our hotel at lake Myvatn, hoping to see more of the action in a better location. As we arrived to the hotel we quickly got outside and the Aurora did not fail.

We had several hours of very strong and ongoing Aurora displays, right on the lake shore. It was definitely the best Aurora display I had ever seen, dancing all over my head in different colors.

Dancing over the Lake by Tomer Razabi on

The next Day we traveled around lake Myvatn and everybody was talking about last night’s Aurora show. During the afternoon we found out that the Aurora predictions for the night were Kp=9!

To put that in perspective, Kp=9 means there’s a chance to see Northern lights in England…

Kp index, source:

Kp index, source:

A screen shot from my iPhone that night. Iceland is the middle of the bold red.

A screen shot from my iPhone that night. Iceland is the middle of the bold red.

After last night’s Aurora show I wasn’t sure it could get any better, but I was very excited to find out. We came back to the hotel early that evening and went outside, I was definitely not ready for what happened next!

It is hard to describe in words, and the photos will do the job much better. Try to imagine blazing lights dancing 360 degrees and all over your head. We had stripes of Aurora from east to west, over head coronal Aurora, and different colors (Green, Red, Purple).

Coronal Twister by Tomer Razabi on

Aurora Explosion by Tomer Razabi on

Stripes of Light by Tomer Razabi on

Pyramids of Light by Tomer Razabi on

At some points the Lights were so strong that I had to lower my ISO and shutter speed so I didn’t blow out my photos. I usually set my ISO to 1600 or higher and my shutter speed to 10 seconds or slower when shooting the northern lights, but this time I had several shots I took at ISO 1250 and 6 seconds exposure.

We ran around like crazy that night, not believing what we were seeing, admiring our luck, and taking lots of photos.

Me and my partner/co-guide Yoel Schlaen also shot timelapse of the Aurora displays we saw, you can see it here:

After two almost sleepless nights we left lake Myvatn and headed towards the Snaefellsnes peninsula at west Iceland.

We spent another two days there and saw the beautiful fjords, the famous Kirkjufell mountain, and high cliff shore lines. We were even lucky enough to see the northern lights again there:

Mountain of Myst by Tomer Razabi on

Cosmic Trio by Tomer Razabi on

Monster of the Mountain by Tomer Razabi on

Flow of Light by Tomer Razabi on

I had no idea I’d be so lucky to see the northern lights so many times on this trip, not to mention one of the strongest solar storms seen in the last few years.

I searched several websites and found out it was rated to be about Kp=6/Kp=7, which is very strong, only matched by this year’s solar storm in March.

You never know what will happen or what you will see when you go out to capture nature in one of the most beautiful places on Earth, but always be prepared for great surprises : )