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.'
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.