Photographer captures stunning image of volcano erupting under the Northern Lights


Check out the gallery above for photos of the eruption of the Bardarbunga volcano under the Northern Lights (originally published by TIME), and more nature photos of Iceland.


Iceland is thought of by most as an unknown, exotic place. The country has very few inhabitants-- it's the least densely populated country in Europe with about 325,000 people for 40,000 square miles. That would be like spreading out the population of Honolulu, Hawaii over the entire state of Kentucky. While the country's population isn't much, the one thing Iceland is not lacking is volcanoes.

Iceland has approximately 130 volcanic mountains. The second tallest is Bardarbunga, and it erupts about two times per century. In early September, it happened again, and Icelandic based photographer Gísli Dúa Hjörleifsson was there to capture the magic with an added bonus. The volcano erupted under the Northern Lights.

"The feeling was like goose bumps [sic]. No doubt the scenery was something that I did not see coming," Hjörleifsson wrote in an email to about seeing the eruption. "The scene only held for several minutes and I needed to get back because of sand and high wind in the area."

Hjörleifsson often finds himself in situations such as this one. His home town is Akureyi, in Northern Iceland, and like most places in the country it's just steps away from being in the thick of the wilderness. He works as a freelance photographer, but his personal passion is capturing photos of Iceland's natural scenery.

"I have seen both strange and strong situations in the nature that are similar like this one," he wrote. "But sometimes it can get really rough and you need to run. I have fallen in big rivers trying to grab a good image of a strong waterfall, or run from the high winds on Iceland's East Coast."

People from Iceland are more than used to these geographic instabilities. Hjörleifsson recounted that people in general aren't nervous about the eruptions, but that farmers and those who live particularly close are worried about their land and livestock.

Hjörleifsson started photographing nature when he was just 16 years old. Check out his photography websites here and here.

Check out the gallery below for more photos of the eruption from around the web: