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RR-245-Búðir Church Aurora - A3

Búðir Church Aurora

An iconic Iceland landscape photography location and one that was high on my list to capture with the northern lights in the background. I've stayed at Hotel Búðir (I've no idea how that's pronounced) on Icelands Snæfellsnes Peninsula back in 2013 during my first visit to Iceland. That four-day adventure was amazing but did not present an opportunity to see the aurora.

Fast forward to my second Iceland adventure in 2017. With an aurora forecast that predicted zero chance of any sighting that night, I settled down in my camper van for a peaceful sleep. Just to make sure I peered through the curtains at 11 pm to make sure I wasn't missing anything. It was a perfectly clear sky and sure enough, there was a very faint green glow stretching from horizon to horizon. Not a strong aurora but better than what had been predicted.

Búðir wasn’t my first location and after firing up the camper van I drove to the abandoned house at Dagverðará on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula. The aurora was getting gradually stronger and after about an hours shooting I decided to take a chance and drive to Búðir to capture the black church. Knowing how fast an aurora can dissipate I nailed the 24km and luckily arrived with the aurora still active, consistent but not overly strong. I spent some time playing with compositions and accommodating the strong floodlight that was illuminating the church but causing compositional havoc if the bright light was in the shot.

As fickle as the northern lights can be, a sudden burst appeared which lasted only about three minutes. One of those brief moments when you happen to be in the right location with the right composition already set up.

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An example of how beautiful this image can look when framed.

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Robert Rhead

About Robert Rhead

Robert Rhead is a English landscape photographer, UX/UI designer, web developer and graphic designer. He currently holds the LRPS certificate from the Royal Photographic Society, has won English and international photography awards and has featured in various high-profile photography and lifestyle magazines.