The phoenix rises! The Northern Lights take on the form of the legendary bird over Iceland


  • Incredible photographs of the aurora borealis over Iceland show the moment they formed the outline of a phoenix
  • The lights formed a near perfect shape of the fire-breathing creature which was common in ancient mythology
  • Hallgrimur P Helgason said the key to photographing the spectacle was avoiding light pollution and using no flash

These incredible photographs of the aurora borealis captured the moment the lights formed the outline of a phoenix – the giant fire-eating bird common in many ancient mythologies.

With outstretched wings and a striking bird-shaped profile, the image – captured by photographer Hallgrimur P Helgason – wowed stargazers in Kaldarsel.

Mr Helgason, 64, said that the bird showed up in the night sky an hour after he got there and started snapping.

He said: ‘It’s really a thrill shooting the aurora, especially when they are so playful like they were that night. I have to admit that I always get an adrenalin kick when the lights burst out like that – that particular shot was the top one of the night.’

He uses a camera and tripod to photograph the lights, and advises snapping in the dark away from city light pollution and never using a flash.

He said the Northern Lights were mainly showing in green and yellow colours when he was shooting that night but also sported red and blue, suggesting the aurora was strong.

The incredible photograph, taken of the northern lights in Iceland, took the remarkable form of the mythological phoenix bird

The incredible photograph, taken of the northern lights in Iceland, took the remarkable form of the mythological phoenix bird.

The animal shape formed among the famous lights was captured by photographer Hallgrimur P Helgason
The animal shape formed among the famous lights was captured by photographer Hallgrimur P Helgason

The animal shape formed among the famous lights was captured by photographer Hallgrimur P Helgason.

Other shapes quickly followed, though none were as strikingly familiar as that of the phoenix

Other shapes quickly followed, though none were as strikingly familiar as that of the phoenix.

Mr Helgason said the key to photographing the northern lights was to avoid light pollution

He also suggested using no flash

Mr Helgason said the key to photographing the northern lights was to avoid light pollution and use no flash

With outstretched wings and a striking profile, the mythical creature wowed stargazers in Kaldrsel

With outstretched wings and a striking profile, the mythical creature wowed stargazers in Kaldrsel

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