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Northern Lights Photographer of the Year names two Welsh winners

06 Dec 2023 2 minute read
Goleuadau’r Gogledd. Image: Matthew Browne

Stephen Price

Travel photography blog Capture the Atlas has published their annual Northern Lights Photographer of the Year winners, with two Welsh entrants making the coveted list.

Matthew Browne from Carmarthen was recognised for his capture of Paxton’s Tower, while Kat Lawman’s snap of Penmon Lighthouse also made the cut.

The Northern Lights Photographer of the Year features a collection of the best 25 photos of the northern lights.


The compilation is published each December to coincide with the northern lights season and the end of the year, and is aimed at inspiring and sharing the beauty of this natural phenomenon.

This year’s list includes images that were taken from across the world including Wales, Canada, Norway and New Zealand, with photographers from 13 different nationalities.

As we get closer to a solar maximum (the period of greatest solar activity during the Sun’s 11-year solar cycle), we are seeing northern lights displays at lower latitudes and Aurora images in unique places where they’ve rarely been photographed before.

Island of Aurora. Image: Kat Lawman

The quality of the image, the story behind the shot, and the overall inspiration that the photograph were the main factors judges used for selecting the chosen images.

The northern lights season ranges from September to April in the Northern Hemisphere and from March to September in the Southern Hemisphere.

The best time to see and photograph the lights is during the autumn and spring equinoxes because of the orientation of Earth’s axis.

A double win for Wales

Matthew said of his win: “I live in Carmarthen and Paxton’s Tower is my favourite local photography haunt. I’ve captured it in all seasons and weather conditions, night and day, but the night of September 25th is the only time I’ve been lucky enough to photograph it with the northern lights dancing vividly behind.”

“I’m thrilled to have my photo selected as one of the best northern lights images from around the world in 2023, alongside many professional photographers who live and work in the Arctic Circle. It’s also wonderful to see another Welsh photographer Kat Lawman on the winners list, with a stunning image taken at Penmon Lighthouse that same evening.

The full list of winners can be viewed at

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