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Photo of the Week: Nov. 30, 2012


Photo of the Week: Nov. 30, 2012

Editor's note: Welcome to  Yahoo! Travel Photo of the Week, chosen from the Flickr group created by our readers — you! Each week a professional photographer will select a photo that stands out from the crowd, and explain why they chose it. To have your own photo considered, join our Flickr group and start submitting your own photos!

Iceland is a remarkable place of icebergs and volcanoes, springs of boiling water and lapis lazuli-blue fjords. Now, we can thank Flickr member Gudmundur Olafsson for sharing with us the magic of the Northern Lights above his land of fire and ice — this week's Y! Travel Photo of The Week.

January 2012 was a month of enormous solar storms. Flares flew out from the sun and raced toward our planet at tens of thousands of miles per hour. When the radiation arrived, near the North Pole, it caused disruption of certain radio and navigation signals and provided some of the best Northern Lights displays in many years.

On an extraordinary night, near Iceland's capitol city, Reykjavik, Olafsson mounted his formidable Canon EOS 5D Mark II on a tripod. He chose a wide-angle lens — 17mm — and allowed the camera's shutter to remain open for 15 seconds. With the lens aperture relatively wide, f-4, and the ISO speed set at 1600, he was able to capture not only the Northern Lights (aka, Aurora Borealis) and stars, but also the snowy landscape with the old cottage, and their windows reflecting an eerie glow of extraterrestrial light.

Something else Mr. Olafsson had, other than his camera and tripod, was determination and imagination. Not only did he have the knowledge of how to capture the event, he also had the imagination to include the snowy landscape and the cottages, with their spooky green windows.

Alabama-based Michael Clemmer has been a photojournalist/travel photographer, landscape and golf course photographer for over four decades. Once a Senior Travel Photographer for Southern Living Magazine, he has also worked as an assignment photographer for the National Geographic Society and his photographs have been used in fine publications around the world. He currently specializes in golf landscape photography — visit his web site at


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