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Epic Timelapse of the Northern Lights During the Solar Maximum

by Michelle Rae Uy on 04/03/2014

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All photos taken by and used with expressed permission from Henry Jun Wah Lee.

Iceland’s mesmerizing, almost surreal landscapes are easily some of the most photogenic places in this world. Unfortunately, Iceland’s unpredictable weather doesn’t make them so easy to capture. As Evosia StudiosHenry Jun Wah Lee puts it, “just being at the right place is half the battle. The other half, timing and weather, is up to Mother Nature.”

Good thing Mother Nature was kind enough to Lee during his last visit to the Land of Fire and Ice. Going back to Iceland just in time for the solar maximum, the Los Angeles landscape photographer and filmmaker managed to capture its incredible night sky without a single hitch:

I have never seen northern lights in person before. That first night I was greeted by a spectacular display of lights that extended across the entire sky. The sky was crystal clear. Five days later, a strong x-class solar flare hit the Earth’s atmosphere, producing trippy, psychedelic lights. You’ll see them in the film at 3:10. Typical lights are green, but these were shades of red, orange, pink and purple. It was really crazy. I thought I was in an episode of Star Trek!

On and off for 16 glorious days, Lee sought the best spots and spent his nights in the middle of the Icelandic wilderness, shooting the even more spectacular light shows of the Aurora Borealis during this peak solar activity for hours on end.

Lee’s the first to admit that despite the clear skies, it still wasn’t easy shooting in Iceland in the wintertime – the roads were icy and he only had his sleeping bag and the back of his 4-wheel rental for refuge.

I shot most nights and spent the days sleeping and/or scouting and driving. Many of my locations were far from hotels so I slept mostly in the back of my truck. Plus with timelapse, you need to let the cameras run from 15 minutes to several hours out there. Sometimes I would set up my cameras and let them shoot while I sleep.

Judging from his latest timelapse creation that resulted from his Icelandic adventure, however, it’s clear that it was more than worth it. Eye of the Storm is the perfect display of just how magnificent the landscapes and skyscapes of Iceland can truly get. Witness the epic-ness of it and some cool stills after the jump.

Lee and timelapse photographer Thorvadur Arnason are planning on holding an exciting Icelanding timelapse workshop in the fall. Email him for details at info@evosia.com.

 

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