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POTM Winner • Dan Zafra

Uttakleiv Beach, Lofoten, Norway
Nikon D800, Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8, f/2.8, 4sec, ISO 6400

Witnessing the northern lights is always a special experience. I saw them for the first time in the Canadian Rockies in a rare occasion as it was during the month of May. A strong solar storm created some of the best display of lights in a decade.

Later I had the chance to see them in Iceland, a difficult place to see them as the skies are usually covered with clouds.

Finally, I witnessed the Aurora in Norway. I had decided to travel to Tromso and the Lofoten Islands looking for that magic winter light, where you have the endless sunrise to sunset during the winter months.

Besides scenic fjords and picturesque fishing villages, one of the things I liked the most about Lofoten were the arctic beaches. Every beach is unique with different patterns, geological formations and textures, creating endless possibilities and compositions. From a photographers perspective there are many things to photograph in the area, both popular and also off the beaten track subjects.

That day was a truly unique occasion; at Uttakleiv Beach, one of the most popular on these islands, even the rocky coast was tinted in green colour during one of the strongest solar storms of the year, creating the sensation of being in another planet far from earth.

The picture was quite challenging since to freeze the movement of the Aurora I had to increase the ISO and in the first frames, even though the Aurora was powerful enough, the pictures were underexposed. Finally, a series of strong Northern Lights illuminated the entire scene and I could finally capture the landscape with the dancing lights.

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