WPY 2011

Photograph Details

Highly commended 2011


Stephane Vetter, France

Heavenly light show

A major peak of solar activity in March triggered spectacular auroras over Jökulsárlón, the largest glacier lake in Iceland. 'Auroras are highly dynamic, and the lights move very quickly,' says Stephane. 'So you need long exposures to smooth out their beautiful draperies.' He waited for four hours in the bitter cold for the light show to begin, his tripod weighed down to prevent it blowing over in winds of 40kph (25mph). 'The aurora stretched all the way from the southwest to the northeast and up to the zenith, draping itself right over the Milky Way.' Using long exposures, he created a series of eight photographs that he could then assemble into a single stitched image to recreate the magical scene. 'Another gift from heaven.'

Technical specification

Nikon D3S + 14-24mm f2.8 lens at 14mm;15 sec at f2.8; ISO 3200; Bilora C283 tripod + Ninja Nodal 5 panoramic head.

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

Jökulsárlón, Iceland

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Stephane Vetter, France

  • Celestial arch