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Northern Lights Photographer of the year awards 2022


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(Courtesy of David Erichsen)
(Courtesy of David Erichsen)

Northern Lights Photographer of the Year 2022 Releases 25 Most Dazzling Auroras: From Alaskan Ice Caves and Beyond

BY Louise Chambers TIMEDecember 19, 2022

Now in its fifth year, the Northern Lights Photographer of the Year competition, hosted by travel and photography blog Capture the Atlas, has released 25 of its best photos of aurora borealis from hundreds of dazzling entries.

The winning images were taken from locations across the world, the winners representing 13 different nationalities, and were announced in December to coincide with peak northern lights season. Capture the Atlas editor Dan Zafra was on the lookout for pictures, from both renowned talent and new photographers, that portray this breathtaking natural phenomenon in novel and interesting ways.

Top entries exhibited this chromatic spectacle in places ranging from Denmark to New Zealand, from Finland to Greenland to Russia, and even from inside a collapsed Alaskan glacial cave.

Epoch Times Photo
“Red Skies” by Ruslan Merzlyakov. (Courtesy of Ruslan Merzlyakov)

Danish photographer Ruslan Merzlyakov’s “Red Skies,” taken in Nykøbing Mors, Denmark, depicts the “absolutely insane red pillars” of the auroras that graced the skies over Limfjord, just a 3-minute drive from his house.

Merzlyakov, who has been photographing the night sky for over 10 years, told Capture the Atlas, “Many think that Denmark, being placed far away from the general northern lights activity, is not an ideal place to see the aurora. This might be true, but there is always hope for magic during the darkest months of the year … the happiness you feel when watching the sky glow like this in your hometown is unforgettable.”

Epoch Times Photo
“Michigan Night Watch” by Marybeth Kiczenski. (Courtesy of Marybeth Kiczenski)

Marybeth Kiczenski’s “Michigan Night Watch” was an opportunistic shot taken from Point Betsie Lighthouse in Frankfort, Michigan, after the photographer made the most of a favorable aurora forecast.

She said, “I was greeted with quite heavy winds but a beautiful sunset and warm weather. It was super busy since it was a Friday, and there were good conditions for auroras. It was fun to make some new friends, and we chatted while waiting for Lady Aurora to make an appearance.”

At about half past eleven, the light show began.

“We cheered. We clapped. This is what makes all of it worth it!” Kiczenski said. “Afterward, we packed up and drove the three hours back to Martin, Michigan, to start work for the day. Ah, the life of an aurora chaser!”

Epoch Times Photo
“Chasing the Light” by David Erichsen. (Courtesy of David Erichsen)

David Erichsen’s “Chasing the Light” was the realization of a childhood dream. Taken from Castner Glacier, Alaska, Erichsen’s surreal shot captures an aurora seen from inside a glacial cave and was the product of a two-hour midnight hike in below-freezing temperatures under storm-cleared skies.

“As I made my way out to the cave, my walk quickly became a full-on run as I saw the sky split open with magnificent color,” Erichsen said. “Sadly, the ice cave collapsed on itself a couple months ago, which just shows that you have to chase every opportunity before it’s gone.”

What’s not pictured, he said, are the several nights he wandered out to the cave in sub-freezing temperatures waiting for “just a hint of green to dance through this frozen window,” but struck out.

Epoch Times Photo
“Inception” by Giulio Cobianchi. (Courtesy of Giulio Cobianchi) Epoch Times Photo
“Magical Forest” by Elena Ermolina. (Courtesy of Elena Ermolina)

Other winning photos portray the majesty of the northern lights against vast starry expanses and a plethora of natural landscapes. It’s hard to choose a favorite.

Zafra is already welcoming participants to join in next year’s competition. The best time to see the lights is between September and April in the Northern Hemisphere, or between March and September in the Southern Hemisphere. Owing to the tilt of the Earth’s axis, the best time to take photos coincides with the fall and spring equinoxes.

Epoch Times Photo
“Nugget Point Lighthouse Aurora” by Douglas Thorne. (Courtesy of Douglas Thorne) Epoch Times Photo
“Towering Ice” by Virgil Reglioni. (Courtesy of Virgil Reglioni) Epoch Times Photo
“Auroraverse” by Tor-Ivar Næss. (Courtesy of Tor-Ivar Næss Epoch Times Photo
“An Explosion of Color” by Vincent Beudez. (Courtesy of Vincent Beudez) Epoch Times Photo
“Spirits of Winter” by Unai Larraya. (Courtesy of Unai Larraya) Epoch Times Photo
“Under a Northern Sky” by Rachel Jones Ross. (Courtesy of Rachel Jones Ross) Epoch Times Photo
“Queen of the North” by Pierpaolo Salvatore. (Courtesy of Pierpaolo Salvatore) Epoch Times Photo
“Polaris Dream” by Nico Rinaldi. (Courtesy of Nico Rinaldi) Epoch Times Photo
“Captain Hook” by Mattia Frenguelli. (Courtesy of Mattia Frenguelli) Epoch Times Photo
“Nordic Quetzal” by Luis Solano Pochet. (Courtesy of Luis Solano Pochet) Epoch Times Photo
“Reflections on the Ice” by Lena Pettersen. (Courtesy of Lena Pettersen) Epoch Times Photo
“Explosions of the Sky” by Kavan Chay. (Courtesy of Kavan Chay) Epoch Times Photo
“The Light Upon Kerlaugar” by Jannes Krause. (Courtesy of Jannes Krause) Epoch Times Photo
“Bridge to Dreams” by Jabi Sanz. (Courtesy of Jabi Sanz) Epoch Times Photo
“Emerald Howl” by Itai Monnickendam. (Courtesy of Itai Monnickendam) Epoch Times Photo
“The Fjord Guardian” by Filip Hrebenda. (Courtesy of Filip Hrebenda) Epoch Times Photo
“Green Balls” by Jose D. Riquelme. (Courtesy of Jose D. Riquelme) Epoch Times Photo
“Northern Lights over Dramatic Lofoten Peaks” by David Haring. (Courtesy of David Haring) Epoch Times Photo
“Elves’ House” by Asier López Castro. (Courtesy of Asier López Castro) Epoch Times Photo
“Magic Night” by Anastasia & Aleksey R. (Courtesy of Anastasia & Aleksey R)
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