Amazing winning images from Northern Lights Photographer of the Year are out of this world!

Northern Lights Photographer of the Year 2023 entry
Storm Over Sukakpak [Sky: 3.2 Seconds, F/2.8, ISO 2500, 3 Frames Foreground: 8 Seconds, F/5.6, ISO 800, 3 Frames] (Image credit: Nickolas Warner)

Few natural phenomena can match the enchantment of the Northern Lights so it’s no wonder Capture the Atlas has a whole photography competition dedicated to it. The Aurora Borealis, with its mesmerizing hues of green and violet, transforms the night sky into a canvas of ethereal beauty, casting its spell on everyone fortunate enough to witness its dance.

As we approach the solar maximum of our current solar cycle, anticipation is building for Northern Lights displays at lower latitudes and in novel locales where the Aurora has rarely been captured before. This cosmic spectacle is inspiring photographers worldwide to plan and execute nighttime shoots that result in these awe-inspiring images.  The 6th edition of the Northern Lights Photographer of the Year (NLPOTY) showcases the 25 best captures from around the globe from locations known locations such as Iceland to more unexpected places like Wales, UK. 

Northern Lights Photographer of the Year 2023 entry

Lost Who I Want to Be [ISO10,000 f/2.8 16mm 20sec, 8 portrait shot panorama] (Image credit: Jordan McInally)

The NLPOTY offers a visual journey that spans the globe, from the remote boreal forests of the Arctic to the expansive landscapes of Australia and New Zealand. Along the way, witness the Northern Lights gracing the skies above spectacular lakes, majestic mountains, and pristine beaches, creating a symphony of colors that transcends borders and cultures.

Among the top 25 images is Nickolas Warner’s Storm Over Sukakpak (shot on a Sony A7R IV) taken in Alaska, USA on a night when the sky exploded with more energy than he’d ever seen in a decade of photographing the Aurora. Lost Who I Want to Be taken on a Canon 6D by Jordan McInally captures the Aurora Australis (the southern lights)  over the Brooks Mountain Range in glorious hues of purple, pink and yellow while a photo by Frøydis Dalheim titled Circle of Life (taken with a Canon EOS 5D Mark IV) perfectly embodies what we dream up when we think of the Northern Lights with the forests of Lapland, Finland lit up by greeny turquoise light. 

Circle of Life [14mm, f/1.8, 10s, ISO 4000] (Image credit: Frøydis Dalheim)

Choosing a favorite entry is incredibly difficult when they’re all so stunning but for me, The Dance of the Green Lady shot with a Nikon Z5 by Luis Cajete has the slight edge. Taken in Haifoss, Iceland, it captures not only the beauty of the greenish-pink northern lights that dance in the sky but a breathtaking waterfall situated beneath them. He explains, “When we saw the first green lights through the window, we jumped outside. The sky exploded above us; the Northern Lights moved swiftly, and the strong wind continued to put us to the test.”

Seeing the Northern Lights in person is a bucket list item of mine but until I can afford to go to one of the places best known for them, I will continue to marvel at these glorious photos. 

(Image credit: Alex Wides)

The Dance of the Green Lady [Two row panorama: 3 photos per row. Foreground: 24 mm-f/2.8-Iso 6400-30 seconds. Sky: 24 mm-f/2.8-Iso 6400-6 seconds] (Image credit: Luis Cajete)

March Michigan Nights [4-row panorama, Sky: 3 rows, 12 images per row, ISO 6400, f/2, 8 seconds, Foreground: 16 images, Blue hour blend ISO 800, F14, 8sec] (Image credit: Justin Miller)

Fleeting Moments of Ice [This is a blue hour and focus stacked blend to capture the details of the ice. Cave – ISO 800, 1-second, F/11, Sky – ISO 3200, 4-seconds, f/2.8] (Image credit: MaryBeth Kiczenski)

Check out the best cameras for astrophotography and start capturing the majestic night sky

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Hannah Rooke
Staff Writer

Having studied Journalism and Public Relations at the University of the West of England Hannah developed a love for photography through a module on photojournalism. She specializes in Portrait, Fashion and lifestyle photography but has more recently branched out in the world of stylized product photography. For the last 3 years Hannah has worked at Wex Photo Video as a Senior Sales Assistant using her experience and knowledge of cameras to help people buy the equipment that is right for them. With 5 years experience working with studio lighting, Hannah has run many successful workshops teaching people how to use different lighting setups.