The Magical Northern Lights In Iceland Will Take Your Breath Away


Want to know what Iceland’s skyline looks like from 60 different locations during Aurora Borealis, or Northern Lights? Three filmmakers, Arnþór Tryggvason, Petur K. Gudmundsson, and Snorri Thor Tryggvason, decided to combine their forces and find out. As a result they have created an amazing time-lapse video highlighting the beauty and vast depth of the Northern Lights shows that frequent Iceland.


Many years ago, the strange light shows associated with Northern Lights mystified and even terrified people, and while our distant ancestors came up with all kinds of stories, they didn’t have any real explanation for it.

Today we know these light shows occur when particles released by the sun enter our atmosphere and collide with earthly particles, creating a heated explosion and a ribbon of magnetic charge. The lights tend to be wavy in appearance because they are illuminated by solar wind.


Usually Northern Lights are a shade of green, but they don’t have to be. The higher up the collision occurs, the more likely they will produce a rare color. For example, when it occurs 200-miles from the earth a blood-red aurora is known to glow.


Iceland is one of the best locations to visit if you want to see Aurora Borealis, also known as Northern Lights, for yourself. These natural light shows are visible when in close proximity to one of earth’s 2 magnetic poles. The same effect on the opposite (southern) end of the globe is called aurora australis.

In recent years Mother Nature has revealed some of the best Northern Light shows. This is due to the increase in sunspot activity, which is expected to last another 2 or 3 winters.

If you want to try and catch a glimpse of the beauty for yourself, Iceland offers a number of tourist destinations and activities where you can watch the incredible phenomena. Book your trip between September and March for the best chance at catching a once in a lifetime show.


The filmmakers explain their lime-lapse video on their website as, “The Aurora Borealis and the unique scenery of Iceland captured in a mesmerizing way, where the amazing Auroras tell the story.”

On the website blog the crew recently wrote, “This film is not a representation of reality, we’re dealing with hyper-reality.” Time-lapse sequences are composed using thousands of photos taken over a long stretch of time. On average, every second of a time-lapse video equals three to five minutes in real-time.


The film was mostly shot during the winter of 2013 and 2014, but some images were taken in 2011 and 2012 as well. Petur Kristjan snapped the older shots, some of which were included in his full feature film, Heild. It was these photos that inspired the 3 photographers to join forces.

Interestingly, photographers Petur and Snorri were friends long before they decided to embark on this project together. Petur’s use of time-lapse photography, particularly in his film Heild, inspired Snorri to try this tactic with his own work. Arnþór soon jumped on board, and next thing you know the 3 talented photographers were on a mission to catch the best images of Aurora Borealis in Iceland.


The 3 filmmakers were blown away when they saw how great their collective photos were. And they knew they had to something extra special with the results: create an out of this world video by combining over 100,000 high-resolution images.

It would take you hours to sift through 100,000+ pictures, but when put into a video you can easily take it all in, almost as if you were there. It’s the closest you can get to seeing Northern Lights of Iceland without having to freeze your buns off during the dead of winter.





Want to see more than just a couple magical minutes of the crew’s work? Get excited because their first 30-minute film is scheduled for release in November 2014!

Ready to be amazed?! Check out the preview for the 30-minute video below:

See 7 years of meteor showers in one breathtaking time-lapse video!

Photo and Video Credits: Iceland Aurora Films, Vimeo