WPY 2013

Photograph Details

Runner-up 2013


Ellen Anon, USA

Ice aurora

The plan was to drive out to photograph the northern lights over the icebergs in Jökulsárlón, Iceland. But when she arrived, the sky was thick with cloud. 'Not expecting anything extraordinary, I set up close to the car, which was not an ideal location,' says Ellen. So when the clouds suddenly parted, revealing a breathtaking aurora borealis, she grabbed her gear and ran, stumbling in the dark, down to the water's edge. 'I was lucky,' she says. 'The aurora kept swirling, and I had time to set up again.' Lying on her stomach at the edge of the icy water, she used an extreme wide-angle lens to capture the reflection, and placed a lens cloth in front of part of the lens, then slowly raised it, to balance the exposure of the sky against the reflection (the magic-cloth technique). 'It was quite a challenge to force myself to think about the technical details while I was, in fact, feeling overwhelmed by the intensity of the display,' she says. 'This was my favourite image - the swirl of the clouds complementing the unusual colours in the aurora, all mirrored in the lagoon.'

Technical specification

Canon EOS 5D Mark III + 14mm f2.8 II lens; 36.2 sec at f3.5; ISO 1600; Gitzo GT2531 tripod + Really Right Stuff ballhead.

Jökulsárlón, Iceland: latitude 64.0703, longitude -16.2117 Jökulsárlón, Iceland: latitude 64.0703, longitude -16.2117

Jökulsárlón, Iceland

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Ellen Anon

Ellen Anon, USA

I’m a freelance photographer and writer who specializes in expressive photography. Initially I was a clinical psychologist and photography was a hobby. A broken foot 17 years ago forced me to take some time away from work during which I concentrated on learning more photography. After I could walk again, doors started opening for me in the photographic world and for awhile I had two careers. Then the place I worked as a psychologist closed just as photography had become a full-time career. My goal with my photographs is to go beyond the ordinary in ways that hopefully stimulate others to pause and appreciate some of the beauty and wonder of our earth to help balance some of the stress of everyday life.  I am the co-author of nine best selling books on photography and photo related software including "See It: Photographic Composition Using Visual Intensity" (Anon & Anon, Focal Press, 2012), "Aperture 3.3, Portable Genius" (Anon & Anon, Wiley 2012) and the interactive ebook "iPhoto for iOS" available on iTunes.  I also am a frequent featured speaker and give workshops. My images are included in collections in several countries, are used by several major companies as well as in numerous publications and stock. Additionally I am honored to be part of the SanDisk Extreme Team.

  • The pull of the sea