Incredible photographs of the aurora borealis by Icelandic photographer Hallgrimur P Helgason captured the moment the Northern Lights formed the outline of a phoenix the legendary bird that rises out of the ashes of what has gone before.
Hallgrimur Helgason said that the bird showed up in the night sky an hour after he got there and started snapping.
‘It’s really a thrill shooting the aurora, especially when they are so playful like they were that night,’he said. Hallgrimur 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 that the Northern Lights were mainly showing in green and yellow colours when he was shooting that night but also sported red and blue suggesting that the aurora was strong..
In Greek mythology, a phoenix is a long-lived bird that is cyclically regenerated or reborn. A phoenix obtains new life by arising from the ashes of its predecessor. According to some sources, the phoenix dies in a show of flames and combustion, although there are other sources that claim that the legendary bird dies and simply decomposes before being born again.
The phoenix can symbolise renewal in general and also paradisical life.
I saw, or rather ‘was in’, the Northern Lights in Iceland in December 2014. I felt as if I was immersed in their field rather than viewing them from afar. We took a bus that goes on a quest to find them and just as we parked we looked up and there was a mystical fluffy white streak across the sky. I thought could this be them? Then we stepped out of the bus and they came into colour.
The colours are actually paler and more ethereal than they show in photographs because, obviously, special photographic techniques need to be used to capture them. The picture here was taken by the onboard photographer. I love the down to earth attitude of Icelanders. Our bus guide explained that they don’t need stores of elves and so forth; the Northern Lights are magical and wonderful enough as they are. Holly