Behind the Photo: An Aurora Experience


After booking our flights to Iceland, what I really wanted was to have my first experience of the Northern Lights! We know many people travel there and never get to see this incredible part of nature, but I kept my hopes up!

As soon as we stepped off the plane, we were met by the pouring rain! Typical. We spent the first couple of days just praying that the sky would clear so we could see the sun, let alone the Northern Lights! We’d planned to camp for the entire trip which made the rain feel a whole lot louder and closer every night.

For days, the forecast hardly changed, but on our third night there was a small hope for a gap in the clouds, at around 1am. We decided to sleep in the car, making sure we didn’t miss any change in the weather. As it got dark, we had to eat dinner in the car too, as the rain continued to pound on the windscreen! It didn’t look too promising, but we reclined our chairs and decided to wait it out. Joshua set the alarm to go off every hour, in case we fell asleep and missed any changes.

We didn’t have to wait long though. At about 11pm, Joshua sat up quickly and said, “I can see stars. Wait, I think that’s the Milky Way!”

Excitement took over as we jumped out of the car and ran up a hill next to Jökulsárlón Glacial Lagoon to take a look. Joshua took a couple of photos and noticed a hint of green appearing across the horizon. It was faint, but it was there. Surely we wouldn’t see it on the first clearing of the clouds!?

It started off like a strange looking cloud, but then, out of no where, the incredible happened. The sky blew up and it’s difficult to put into words what we witnessed!

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I started crying! I just couldn’t believe my eyes. I was so thankful to God for letting us see this beautiful part of His creation. It was the middle of the night, but the sky was shining bright. There we even hints of white and purple. It moved so quickly that I honestly thought there was something supernatural happening! It waved across the horizon and rippled over our heads. It literally turned everything green.

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However, as quickly as it appeared, it was gone again. And what happened after those special 10 minutes? It rained for another three days straight! But, it was a night that we won’t forget for the rest of our lives.


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An Aurora Experience is part of our new blog series where we take you Behind the Photo, sharing the backstory of some of Joshua’s most famous images. Read more from the new series here.