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14 November 2017 / leggypeggy

Mother Nature treats us to two performances

Northern Lights in Iceland

We’ve had only two really clear nights since we arrived in Iceland last week.

When the weather report looked good for the first of those two nights, we booked to go on a three-hour Northern Lights tour. Our first stop was at the Þingvellir (Thingvellir) National Park, east of Reykjavik.

We trudged through the snow and onto a viewing platform, but there was no activity in the sky. In fact, the garden around a farmhouse down to the left was well-lit so we didn’t really have the darkness that would make the Northern Lights stand out.

After 15 minutes or so, the guide suggested we reboard the bus and move on to a more likely spot. It was a wise decision, because the next site delivered a nice show of lights that lasted about 10 minutes. Unfortunately, I was having a brain meltdown and fumbling with my camera settings. I could enjoy watching the lights, but couldn’t get a single pic.

Northern Lights in Iceland

Not long after we reboarded the bus, I figured out what I had been doing wrong, but it was too late.

I decided the only answer was to book another tour on another clear night.

In the meantime, we booked a 14-hour bus tour along the south coast of Iceland to the Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon. It was a super cloudy day but that didn’t keep us from enjoying the scenery along the way as well as the lagoon (more about that trip soon).

Iceland waterfall

A waterfall at night

But the big bonuses came on the way home. We’d passed a large waterfall earlier in the day, and the guide promised that we’d stop briefly on the way back because the cascade was illuminated at night.

I hadn’t brought my tripod this night, so I couldn’t get a great, steady shot of the waterfall, but one pic turned out nice enough.

As we reboarded the bus, the skies started to clear and the guide urged us to keep our eyes focused towards the north. Luckily Poor John and I were on that side of the bus on the way home!

Northern Lights in Iceland

When we were about 45 minutes outside of Reykjavik, Mother Nature began her show. 

I think the guide was as excited as all the passengers. He got the driver to pull over at a safe spot and we all piled out to watch the show.

What a joy, what a bonus! A tripod would have helped me to get sharper pics, but I was thrilled to get any and even more thrilled to see the lights—and without having to book yet another tour.

We were lucky enough to see the Northern Lights last year in Alaska and now again in Iceland. Woo-hoo! I’ve heard that people are seeing the Southern Lights in Tasmania, so we may have to try that next year.

Northern Lights in Iceland


Leave a Comment
  1. theorangutanlibrarian / Nov 14 2017 9:28 am

    Stunning!! I’ve always wanted to see the Northern Lights!!

    Liked by 3 people

    • leggypeggy / Nov 14 2017 9:28 am

      They really are breathtaking.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Sy S. / Nov 15 2017 12:39 am


      Weee Oooo you got to see the northern lights once again (first time in Alaska).. what a nice treat.
      On the photography websites there are people who camp out in vans and have some fantastic images of the Northern Lights and scenes of Iceland in the nighttime! Some day I would love to do that.. Glad your end of your traveling from Beijing, Mongolia, Russia, Scandinavia and now Iceland was a beautiful finishing touch to you adventures. Thanks for the pics and commentary.

      Liked by 3 people

      • leggypeggy / Nov 15 2017 3:20 am

        Thanks so much, Sy. We’re thrilled and privileged to get another hit of the Northern Lights. Glad I got some pics from the second night’s performance.


  2. dinosaursdonkeysandms / Nov 14 2017 9:46 am

    Your pictures are amazing! I really want to see the Northern Lights one day. 🙂 xxx

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Curt Mekemson / Nov 14 2017 10:25 am

    You are a regular Northern Lights, groupie, Peggy. 🙂 –Curt

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Vicki / Nov 14 2017 10:32 am

    I am just so pleased you eventually got to see the Northern Lights (and what good fortune to have a guide willing to stop the bus). I can well believe how magical they are to see in person.

    I didn’t know Tasmania had some.

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Nov 14 2017 6:05 pm

      We were so grateful the guide had the bus stop. A real bonus for us. And yes, the Southern Lights are visible in Tasmania. A few weeks back, someone even photographed them in the south part of Canberra. I’ll be alert next winter.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Forestwoodfolk / Nov 14 2017 10:41 am

    You are indeed lucky, Peggy! But you should also visit Thingvellir during the day! It is glorious. Have you dipped your toes in the Blue Lagoon yet?

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Nov 14 2017 6:06 pm

      We did visit Thingvellir during the day, but we’re missing the Blue Lagoon. Forgot to bring bathers!


  6. Miriam / Nov 14 2017 10:51 am

    How very special Peggy. Yes, Tassie’s meant to be a good place to see them. We’re hoping to get there next year. Enjoy 💫

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Sharon Bonin-Pratt / Nov 14 2017 12:03 pm

    How utterly gorgeous. I read somewhere that the colors indicate what chemicals (?) are in the sky.

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Nov 14 2017 6:09 pm

      You’re right. The atmosphere affects the colour.


  8. Sharon Bonin-Pratt / Nov 14 2017 12:08 pm

    Just looked it up – gaseous particles colliding with electrically charged particles from sun’s atmosphere. And each color indicates the level of the most gas – oxygen or nitrogen. I’m ready for the test now. 😀

    Liked by 3 people

  9. PantryPortfolio / Nov 14 2017 12:58 pm

    Iceland is on my travel wishlist! What a treat to see the lights. That green color is stunning.

    Liked by 2 people

    • leggypeggy / Nov 14 2017 6:11 pm

      We were thrilled to see them here in Iceland. A real treat. I think I could become a Northern Lights junkie! 🙂


  10. theunassuminghiker / Nov 14 2017 1:14 pm

    What a wonderful experience. We absolutely loved Iceland this summer, but will have to go back so we can see the Northern Lights.

    Liked by 2 people

    • leggypeggy / Nov 14 2017 6:12 pm

      Oh yes, have another visit. And remember that the lights are visible in other places such as Alaska and Canada.


  11. thewonderer86 / Nov 14 2017 5:31 pm

    You are lucky. Gorgeous. Would love to see these someday.

    Liked by 2 people

    • leggypeggy / Nov 14 2017 6:13 pm

      I hope you get to see them. A truly special experience.


  12. Missgitravel / Nov 14 2017 6:09 pm

    Great capture!! That has always been on my bucket list!

    Liked by 2 people

    • leggypeggy / Nov 14 2017 8:30 pm

      Thanks. The lights certainly deserve a spot on everyone’s bucket list.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. amindfultravellerblog / Nov 14 2017 8:09 pm

    What a great experience…I’ve heard too that there are some great views down in Tassie at the moment! Would love to see the Aurora one day. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  14. poshbirdy / Nov 14 2017 8:41 pm

    Oh fantastic. Must get to see them one day

    Liked by 2 people

  15. derrickjknight / Nov 14 2017 9:05 pm

    That waterfall shot is particularly intriguing

    Liked by 1 person

  16. beetleypete / Nov 14 2017 10:18 pm

    I know so many people who have been disappointed to go on tours and not see the lights. So, it was great that you got to see them. Whatever the outcome of the photos, they get the effect across well, and those memories are in your head anyway.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 2 people

    • leggypeggy / Nov 15 2017 3:23 am

      Northern Lights tours are like wildlife safaris—there’s never a guarantee that you’ll see anything. We feel so lucky to have seen the lights two nights in a row. And yes, the memories are there for good. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  17. MichaelStephenWills / Nov 14 2017 11:01 pm

    What an experience….so want to see a full blown aurora. So far, only a dim one from upstate New York….it was fascinating.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Sy S. / Nov 15 2017 12:28 am

      Upstate New York in the Adirondacks would be good, lots of dark skies and few lights from towns.
      Also, the northern part of Maine… and I guess Wisconsin as well. Sometimes I think the lights can be seen in states south of NY State?

      Liked by 2 people

    • leggypeggy / Nov 15 2017 3:24 am

      I’d be delighted to see even a dim version. Such a great reminder of the wonders of nature.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Andrew Petcher / Nov 15 2017 1:22 am

    I saw the lights just once in Iceland – impossible of course to catch a picture but just happy that I saw them!

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Nov 15 2017 3:27 am

      The lights aren’t easy to photograph.Good thing our mind’s eye does some of the work!

      Liked by 1 person

  19. Sy S. / Nov 15 2017 4:04 am

    If you are in the right place and at the right time the Northern Lights are easy to capture.. that is if you use a tripod and the right camera setting. The human naked eye can not see all the brilliant colors, but camera film/Digital sensors can see much much more color ranges. And they can be enhanced a little using photographic software program…

    Liked by 2 people

    • leggypeggy / Nov 15 2017 4:21 am

      You’re right about the camera catching much more than the naked eye. Plus a tripod is critical. I didn’t have mine on the second night!


  20. Scott Levine / Nov 15 2017 5:01 am

    Wow! Amazing! I love that part of the world. I’m really envious you got to see the aurora.

    Liked by 2 people

  21. Bipasha / Nov 15 2017 9:03 am

    Ahh gorgeous! I was super lucky to see the northern lights on my trip to Iceland, too. Insanely beautiful, aren’t they?!

    Liked by 1 person

  22. lexklein / Nov 15 2017 1:22 pm

    Lucky you! My son was in Iceland recently and only saw the faintest of glows. I went in the summer and had no chance at all! Can’t wait to hear all about your time there.

    Liked by 2 people

    • leggypeggy / Nov 15 2017 4:43 pm

      It would be great if Mother Nature could be predictable. A while back, one of our daughters had quite a few nights in northern Norway. The lights never appeared for her either.

      Liked by 1 person

  23. Green Global Trek / Nov 15 2017 4:59 pm

    Fabulous! Lucky you! I have heard it is not necessarily a given, so great you got to experience them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Nov 15 2017 7:03 pm

      Definitely not a given. You need clear skies for starters.


  24. Gilda Baxter / Nov 15 2017 6:23 pm

    Wow…Lucky you indeed, the elusive NL don’t always show up. We spent 9 days in Iceland trying to hunt them down with no luck…another reason we will go back to Iceland. You managed to catch some good photos of them, well done 😄

    Liked by 2 people

    • leggypeggy / Nov 15 2017 7:04 pm

      Thanks. I wish I’d had the tripod with me—could have used a slower shutter speed and captured more, but I’m happy enough with what I managed.


  25. chattykerry / Nov 16 2017 2:36 am

    The northern lights are one of nature’s magical moments. Great photos and post.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Phil Huston / Nov 16 2017 3:04 am

    Northern lights are amazing. Probably Ancient Aliens. The waterfall was unexpected, and depending on how you look at it, it could easily have been a geyser!

    Liked by 2 people

    • leggypeggy / Nov 16 2017 7:18 am

      That waterfall photo really intrigues me. I saw that waterfall at night and I still have trouble connecting the pic and what I saw. The camera does wonderful things sometimes.

      Liked by 1 person

  27. artandkitchen / Nov 16 2017 11:26 pm

    Hi Peggy! I know that you know we will be there soon and we will enjoy the time with Mary Pat and Siggi.
    I loved reading your report as you are ahead of us and it’s good to know that the waterfall is illuminated. We will drive ourself to Vik and stop for the waterfall in this case maybe twice (by night and by day). We hope we’ll have the chance to see the aurora as well.
    Strong hug!

    Liked by 2 people

    • leggypeggy / Nov 18 2017 10:11 am

      Hugs back to you and your family. We had such a wonderful time with Mary Pat and Siggi. So glad you will be there soon. Hope you see the aurora too.

      Liked by 1 person

  28. adventuredawgs / Nov 18 2017 3:01 pm

    Iceland keeps getting higher and higher on my list of places to go, especially after seeing photos like yours. Keep ’em coming.

    Liked by 2 people

  29. Midlife Dramas in Pyjamas / Nov 19 2017 3:22 am

    What a breathtaking sight to see! You are very lucky 😊

    Liked by 2 people

  30. Valentina / Nov 20 2017 1:47 am

    I have recently been to Iceland and LOVED it but unfortunately we were not lucky enough to see the Northern Lights 😦 Have a look if you fancy!

    Liked by 2 people

    • leggypeggy / Nov 25 2017 8:40 am

      Thanks for the link to your post. I really enjoyed it.


  31. milliethom / Nov 25 2017 2:17 am

    Great that you got to see the Northern Lights in both Alaska and Iceland, Peggy. I agree, watching them is an awesome experience, I haven’t seen them in Alaska, unfortunately but we saw them over Reykjavik harbour. They actually switched off all the street lights, too, so we all got lovely clear views. Your photos are much better than mine, of course, but at least we did get to see the aurora. You sound to have had a wonderful holiday up there in the land of the elves! I’d love to go back, but in the depth of winter next time.

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Nov 25 2017 8:39 am

      Oh wow, that would have been incredible to see them in the harbour AND with the street lights turned off! Photographing the lights is tricky. I read up about it before going and still didn’t have the success I hoped for. Oh well, my mind’s eye does okay too.


  32. jeanleesworld / Nov 26 2017 11:15 pm

    Those silly Northern Lights just can’t keep still! 😀 Ah, one of these days I’ll get my kids to see them. I’m glad you got your two shows in one week! xxxxxxxxxx

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Nov 27 2017 4:24 pm

      Yes, the lights swirl around the sky. They’re like magic. Your kids will love them. You too!

      Liked by 1 person

  33. Francesca / Dec 1 2017 2:37 am

    Hi Peggy

    I was looking through twitter at northern lights as I went to Iceland on 6/11/2017 and enjoy reminiscing! I did the 14 hour trip to the glacier lagoon on the 8/11. I saw your photos of the northern lights and thought they looked extremely similar to my pictures and realised we were on the same trip such a small world!! Wasn’t it a fabulous day!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Dec 1 2017 2:46 pm

      It was a fabulous day and your wonderful comment just adds to the delight. Fancy us being on the same trip. I’ll be writing about that journey soon, with plenty of pics from the glacier lagoon. Cheers to you.


      • Francesca / Dec 1 2017 10:54 pm

        I know it’s a very small world look forward to reading your next one!

        Liked by 1 person

  34. J.D. Riso / Dec 3 2017 7:38 pm

    Oh, I hope I get to see these. I’ve been reading up on camera settings, etc. Your photos turned out great even with the lack of a tripod.

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Dec 3 2017 10:20 pm

      We did this trip with Reykjavik Excursions, and I so appreciated that they made a special stop to let us see/photograph the lights. As for the camera, be sure to use a manual setting. Auto just won’t work. Want to borrow my tripod?


  35. shawnthompsonart / Dec 5 2017 4:08 pm

    Wow those northern lights are really bright. They are always really faint around here, although I have seen them a few times and come to recall it, once they were bright red and even to the south over New York State.

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Dec 6 2017 7:26 am

      The lights vary a lot. I’ve seen amazing photos of them filling the sky, but I’ve only ever seen much smaller displays. In winter, people in southern Australia can sometimes see the southern lights (aurora australis).


  36. Joel Henry / Dec 7 2017 1:07 pm

    This has always been a bucket list item for me. Your photos only motivate me more. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Dec 7 2017 5:44 pm

      So glad you like the post. I can highly recommend Iceland.


  37. potluckycom / Jan 10 2018 2:54 pm

    This is a great post and the pictures are great. Thanks Peggy :).

    Liked by 1 person

  38. Ali / Feb 7 2018 8:01 am

    Incredible images. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Feb 7 2018 5:14 pm

      You are most welcome. Thanks for stopping by and for commenting.



  1. Mother Nature treats us to two performances — Where to next? – Rex Bear
  2. Enjoying Iceland’s glacier lagoon | Where to next?

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