Tassie photographer named as finalist in 2021 Northern Lights Photographer of the Year – Australian Photography

13 December 2021

Travel photography blog Capture the Atlas has published the latest edition of their annual Northern Lights Photographer of the Year, a collection featuring the best 25 photos of the Northern (and Southern) Lights.

© Larryn Rae - Lake Tekapo, NZ
© Larryn Rae – Lake Tekapo, NZ

This 25-strong list of finalists is always published in December to coincide with the Northern Lights season in the Northern Hemisphere and the end of year, and it is aimed at inspiring and sharing the beauty of this natural phenomenon.

© Jacob Cohen - Sutton, Alaska
© Jacob Cohen – Sutton, Alaska

This year’s list includes images that were taken around the world, in countries like the United States, Canada, Australia, Russia, Finland, Norway, and Iceland, by 25 photographers of 13 different nationalities. The competition is also open to images of the Southern Lights, or Aurora Australis.

This year, Tasmanian photographer David Oldenhof was named as one of the finalists, with his image titled Aurora Australis, which was captured in Tasmania. 

© David Oldenhof - Tasmania, Australia
© David Oldenhof – Tasmania, Australia

“Tasmania is the most southern state in Australia. As well as having beautiful coastlines, World Heritage rainforests, and national parks to photograph, we also have the added bonus of being able to witness the most intense auroras in the country because we are the furthest south.”

“I have only witnessed three auroras and this one was the most beautiful and longest-lasting of them. On the other two occasions I photographed the aurora, most of the brilliance could only be seen through the back of the camera, but on this night, it could be seen without it. Nature showed off her brilliance and I stood there in amazement for many hours. I can’t wait for Lady Aurora’s next dance.”

© John Weatherby - Iceland
© John Weatherby – Iceland

The quality of the image, the story behind the shot, and the overall inspiration behind  the photograph are all taken into account when selecting the images every year. 

The Northern Lights season ranges from September to April in the Northern Hemisphere and from March to September in the Southern Hemisphere. The best time to see and photograph the Lights is during the fall and spring equinoxes because of the orientation of Earth’s axis. 

Besides the timing, the other requirement for seeing the Northern Lights is a dark sky that is far away from light pollution. However, big displays of Northern Lights can be visible to the naked eye, even from light-polluted areas like cities. 

© Flilip Hrebenda - Iceland
© Flilip Hrebenda – Iceland

Dan Zafra, editor of Capture the Atlas, curates these photos throughout the year. While he does search for photographs captured by some of the world’s most renowned photographers, he is also always on the lookout for new talent and for new locations where the Northern Lights haven’t been photographed before, such as in the sky above the Iceland “Fagradalsfjall” volcano which is featured in this year’s shortlist.

Capture the Atlas is a travel and photography blog that helps others plan their trips and improve their photography. Their main focus is landscape and night astrophotography, and their articles include photography guides, tutorials, and inspiration.

You can see a selection of the 25 finalists below, and the full selection on the Capture the Atlas website.

© Amy J Johnson, Alaska
© Amy J Johnson, Alaska
© Marchall Lipp - North Dakota, USA
© Marchall Lipp – North Dakota, USA
© Herry Himanshu - Saskatchewan, Canada
© Herry Himanshu – Saskatchewan, Canada
© Frank Olsen - Reine Lofoten Islands, Norway
© Frank Olsen – Reine Lofoten Islands, Norway