After writing about my 6 favourite Northern Lights pictures of 2016, I decided to make this kind of posts an annual happening. So here are my top 7 Northern Lights pictures of 2017! This year I focused on the area of Inari in Finnish Lapland, so all the photos originate from this region. I learnt so much with all these night time photo sessions, that it also allowed me to update in-depth my guide to the best camera settings for Northern Lights photography.
So here I present my Top 7 in reverse order, so make sure to read until the end to discover my favourite picture of the year!
#7 – A simple band
This is the Aurora as you will see it almost every clear night in the north of Finnish Lapland. A simple band, or arch, stretches above the northern horizon. Sometimes it will undulate a little and show some faint vertical shapes. Despite the full Moon, it usually remains very visible to the naked eye. I personally really love these soft displays. They are very calming for the soul. Nothing fast or crazy, but just a green light in the sky, giving you all the time for your deepest thoughts as well as for composing your shots.
#6 – Venus, evening planet
Coincidentally, I took this picture at the very same spot along the Inari-Utsjoki road as photo #7 above. That week the planet Venus was gracing us with a magnificent glow in the western sky. Also, the Aurora came to dance every single night of my entire stay in Lapland. A week to remember.
#5 – The Moon joins the show
This is my go-to place just outside of Inari when the sky is clear. It only takes about 15 minutes to drive there and offers endless photo opportunities. It’s not a surprise that the next 2 photos of this list will also originate from this place!
#4 – The calm after a much bigger storm
Believe it or not, but at that point, the Aurora was almost not moving at all. It looked like the sky was just reverberating from much crazier activity as shown on the following picture. I took this photo on the river bank, just under the bridge on which I was standing on picture #5.
#3 – 6 minutes earlier
There was so much pink in the Northern Lights at that moment that I think this picture does not even do justice to reality. The most notable thing in this extremely strong display is that it happened during the so called “solar minimum”. As I keep repeating, the solar minimum will never be an obstacle to seeing the Northern Lights in Inari, as we ideally located to benefit from the slightest disturbances in solar wind.
#2 – Award winning picture
This was a completely surreal scene on the frozen lake Ukonjärvi, between Ivalo and Inari, still in the north of Finnish Lapland. I entered this in the Prix de la Photographie Paris and won Bronze Medal for it in the Nature/Sky category! It would have been number one of this list, if I hadn’t shot the following picture in November during my last trip to Lapland. Or shall we call it a tie?
#1 – The best that Lapland has to offer
Can you believe that I took this picture on the same night as #3 and #4? This was however some 60 kilometres further North. These trees are not always as much covered in snow and frost as on this picture. I had seen them a couple of days earlier, but there was so much fog that it did not give the Northern Lights pictures I was hoping for. So despite it being such a drive from my previous location, with such strong Aurora and a positive weather forecast, I decided to give it a chance anyway. Truly the highlight of the year for me!
What will be the best Northern Lights pictures of 2018?
You already guessed it: in about one year, I am hoping to write about my top 8 Northern Lights pictures of 2018! In between, you can come along on an Aurora chasing tour with me to get a chance to take your own pictures. Or check out my Northern Lights Photos Portfolio for more inspiration.