When the right ingredients come together at the right time to put on one of the most spectacular natural shows on earth – the Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights – it’s a magical moment.

And if this light display, caused by the solar winds striking the atmosphere, happens to be taking place in the North-East, it’s more than likely that standing beneath it with his camera will be professional photographer Owen Humphreys.

Owen’s job with the Press Association (now PA Media) for the past 23 years has seen him cover some of the world’s most important stories.

He’s been at the last two Olympics; every world cup since 1998; he was the only photographer at the altar when Prince Harry and Meghan Markle got married; he’s worked in Afghanistan and has recently returned from Pakistan where he accompanied William and Kate on their tour.

But he also has a passion for landscape photography and has become an expert at capturing those moments when most of us are in bed, and when the night sky is aflame with colour. When we wake up and see what we’ve missed in our newspapers, we’re probably looking at a photograph taken by Owen.

And he now wants to share that passion and knowledge with others, by leading tours to Iceland to see the Northern Lights in all their glory amid awe-inspiring landscapes.

His iconic photograph of Sycamore Gap on Hadrian’s Wall bathed in reds and greens is probably one of the best of the genre that has ever been taken. What you don’t realise though is that Owen spent seven or eight other evenings staying up all night by the Wall, before the lights finally put on a show.

An adopted Geordie, who covers every Newcastle home game, Owen is originally from Derbyshire where he got his first taste of journalism, while helping out at the Derby Evening Telegraph.

“My dad was the deputy editor there and I was making cups of tea for the reporters when I was 13 and watching all the photographers coming back from the football matches with their films.”

This piqued his interest and before long Owen was learning his trade in the dark room, before getting on a youth training scheme with Raymonds Press Agency in Derby.

He later worked on cruise ships in America for two years and came back to the UK as a freelance photographer, and then got a job on the Newcastle Chronicle in 1993. In 1996 he joined the Press Association as its north of England photographer and has never looked back.

“The job opportunities were just too good,” he said. “It was, and is, a tremendous job. It is still the biggest press agency in the UK.

“Some photographers just cover sport, some just cover the Royal Family, some showbiz, but I love the variety. I would not want to do just one specific thing. And I want to pass on some of my knowledge to other people.”

Owen took his first photograph of the Northern Lights at St Mary’s Lighthouse on the Northumberland coast, which spawned a project to capture the phenomenon at other landmarks in the county, including Hadrian’s Wall.

“It took me about five years to get them all because with the Northumberland landscape, there are so many combinations that have to gel together – clear skies, solar streams hitting the Earth. The amount of time I have been out and not seen any outweighs the times I have. A lot of photographic hours have gone on waiting on the cliffs of Northumberland.

“But in Northumberland we are blessed with the dark skies status and we have the noctilucent clouds and the Milky Way to photograph. So this led me on and I have always wanted to go to Iceland and do the same there.”

With all of Owen’s landscape photographs, he ensures there is something else in the picture, giving scale and context, such as a person or landmark, so the focus is not just on the scenery. The picture, he said, should tell the whole story, without the need for many words.

“The landscape in Iceland is just beautiful,” he said. “I went over there and fell in love with the place – beautiful mountains, beautiful waterfalls. There were a lot of tours and I decided I wanted to do some, but take a small number of people and run a photography workshop.”

Owen can’t guarantee the Northern Lights will put on a show, but he has done enough research to give his tour groups the best chance. He checks the cycle of the moon and times the tours with the coronal hole.

“This is every 27 days when the Earth is facing the filaments coming from the sun,” he said. “It’s all down to the weather, but when the Northern Lights do show, they do put on a very good display.”

Owen went to Iceland and researched where to go for his tours and ended up going around the whole island chasing the weather. “I did this whole loop to capture the Northern Lights and saw things that were just stunning ¬– volcanoes and some of the waterfalls in the north,” he said.

He has already got bookings for his first tour, taking place in October, such is the burgeoning interest in the night sky and amazing landscapes – an interest shared by the press as well as the public.

“What I have noticed over the last 10 years is the national newspapers are using more and more landscape pictures,” he said.

“But I always like having people in the picture for scale. Like a jogger running along a beach on a winter’s morning rather than an empty beach, or an object in a field rather than just a field with a beautiful sky.

“It is the same with the Northern Lights. What I always try to bring is something else in the picture to go with it, like a lighthouse at Bamburgh with the aurora behind it.”

The tours are aimed at photographers at all levels of skill, from amateurs to the more experienced, and Owen will also be able to supply cameras for those who need them.

“I want people to go away with a picture they have taken and framed and something they have learned about photography, as well as enjoying a day of photography in a beautiful landscape.”

For more information, visit Icelandic-phototours.com