Aurora Borealis

by Alison

Mention these words and the first things that springs to my mind are the song Pocahontus by Neil Young, The Northern Lights trilogy by Philip Pullman and light blazing across the sky. The northern lights were the reason to miss the midnight sun and visit Iceland as the days draw shorter.
During our 9 nights in Iceland we experienced the northern lights once, for one hour and then the clouds which were a consistent present during our trip rolled back in.
We were lucky enough to view the northern lights in a most spectacular setting. Lighting up Skogafoss waterfall. When I say we were lucky, I really mean I was lucky. Ollie was watching the cloud cover on a daily basis and seemed to have a feeling about this evening. He specifically wanted to stay here because of the chance that the northern lights might light up the entire waterfall and glacier.

I'm not going to lie the first time I saw them I wasn't actually sure what I was seeing. I had been expecting the psychedelic colours seen in photographs however due to the long shutter times the amount of light entering the camera is more then an individual eye can perceive in a moment and that is why they appear brighter in pictures. That and editing. 

However the longer I sat in the dark and allowed my eyes to adjust the more a sense of something otherworldly came over me. The sky really does dance and swirl, with tongues of colour flowing across the sky. 

I would have been happy to lie in the grass and absorb the colours but with some persuasion from Ollie we hiked back up to the top of the waterfall to take in the view of the Eyjafjallajokul. Here the view was no less spectacular and the snow capped mountains lent a totally different form of illumination to the scene.

 This is the type of experience that makes me so grateful for modern easy to use digital cameras and having someone to travel with. Without these I might start to doubt my luck.