Self -portrait by James Appleton bathed in the glow of the Aurora Borealis and a volcanic eruption on the Fimmvˆruh·ls mountain pass, Iceland. "I get comments about this being the best Facebook profile picture ever taken!"
Looking NE towards the interior of Iceland. "I'd never seen ice catch the blue of the sky so vividly - incredible twilight colors. This was taken right before darkness fell and the Aurora kicked off."
"I took this on the first night on the pass as darkness fell and the aurora literally burst into life. Utterly mesmerizing, and had me jumping around punching the air."
Northward view toward the Icelandic Highlands.
Long exposure showing the volcanic eruption on the Fimmvˆruh·ls mountain pass. In the middle distance, the skidoos and lights of local mountain rangers touring around the bottom of the eruption site. "I'd chosen this spot mid-afternoon, had set a composition up and was just waiting for the light to fade. I had no idea the aurora would form so perfectly to the side of the eruption."
View from the mountain hut towards the eruption only a kilometer away.
Wide-view, three shot panoramic stitch. To the right, the Aurora Borealis over the glacier cap. "This was the closest photograph I got to the Fimmvˆruh·ls eruption - only a few hundred meters away from the cooling lava. I'd been warned about the potential for caves to form from melting in the ice and snow, and didn't fancy falling through the roof of one of these caves."
View from a small iced outcrop of rock to the SW of the eruption. "The best photograph of the trip, and probably of my career so far. The photograph needed parts of the scene selectively blocked for sections of the exposure to balance the contrast between the light sources. A Mars bar wrapper came in handy for this!"
"Appleton packed in 30kgs of winter apparel, photography gear and food for the expedition. On the fifth day, Appleton hiked out south toward the Icelandic coastline visible in the background."