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posts about aurora borealis.

this christmas, we visited ivalo in finnish lapland. we had plenty of snow, it was freezing cold (between -13 and -30 degrees celsius), and the sky was often clear – perfect conditions for auroras!

during daytime, short as it was, we did an excursion to the siida museum in inari, to saariselkä, and via utsjoki to norway.

finally, here are some aurora animations:

the night after leaving tromsø, we finally had proper and fully awesome northern lights!

here are also three videos i created. they consist of 1316, 496 and 433 single photos, respectively, each with an exposure time of one second (the first video) respectively two seconds (the last two videos). sorry for the jumps here and there, sometimes my camera makes a little break after rapidly taking a bunch of photos.

the next day we crossed the arctic circle. despite being in the far north, there still weren’t too many signs of winter, except a bit of snow higher up. nonetheless, with beautiful weather, it was really beautiful.

during the afternoon we visited bodø, the capital of nordland:

we also visited bodø’s railway station, being the end of the line: to get further north, one has to take the bus (or boat or plane).

finally, another shot of our boat:

this day, i also had the chance to photograph the sun diving into the ocean:

later the evening, we visited svolvær, the capital of the lofoten islands. there, we visited the magic ice ice exhibition:

the third night in a row there was an announcement of northern lights being visible. this time, there actually was something to see. still not as bright as i’ve seen it before, but beautiful nonetheless:

the next day, we visited trondheim for the whole morning. in trondheim, we met ms trollfjord’s sister ship, the ms midnatsol:

afterwards, we explored the beautiful city. it was a sunday morning, and whence quite empty, except for all the hurtigruten tourists:

during the afternoon, we went through the stokksund strait:

during the night, there was an announcement that northern lights are visible. well, they weren’t much more visible than the previous night (in fact less), but the light area was much larger, spanning over half of the sky:

the ship offers quite some comfort, including two whirlpools in the arctic pool area on top of the ship. it’s quite fun to sit in the warm water while it’s cold and windy outside!

we left bergen on a late evening, when it was quite dark on the outside:

the next morning we landed in torvik, a little town on an island. also, for the first time on our stay in norway, the sun came out:

the view of the sea is gorgeous:

later the day, we had a longer stay in ålesund:

on early evening, we arrived in molde. there, we took a photo of our ship:

on the late evening, we visited kristiansund for a bit longer. there, we walked a bit around in the harbor:

somewhen later, there was an announcement on the ship that northern lights could be seen. when we reached the sun deck, we only saw the leftovers, which were essentially only visible by camera and very high sensitivity settings. here’s a photo of people waiting for the aurora to become stronger (again):

later in the night, while back in our cabin, i looked out of the window before going to bed, when i saw something which looked a bit like northern lights. i put on my clothes again and went outside, and there it was: an aurora! not very intense, but it was there, and for some moments even visible to the plain eye!

tromsø during daylight.

here are some impressions from tromsø during daylight. at this time of the year, there’s not too much daylight – the sun rises around 10 am, and is gone by 4 pm. the photos feature the tromsø gallery of contemporary art, the polaria aquarium whose form represents ice floes, the rica ishavshotel with its interesting form, the polstjerna (a seal hunting ship) museum, and some views on tromsø’s harbor, in part from the tromsø bridge:

tromsø at night.

most of the time, we saw tromsø during night. this is how it looks. the first picture shows the public library.

the last four pictures depict one of the hurtigruten ships, the trollfjord which was stopping by in tromsø one night. we used the chance to explore the ship a bit and have a nice midnight snack on-board.

northern lights over tromsø.

unfortunately, we only saw an aurora once during our stay. but it was a beautiful one! we were standing close to the public library, and later to the city hall:

polaria.

we also visited the polaria, the northernmost aquarium featuring bearded seals. here are some impressions from their feeding and training session:

tromsø airport.

finally, on our last day in tromsø, the weather was fantastic. that is, there was a lot of sun and not many clouds around noon. we were already at the airport at that time, but still managed to take some nice pictures:

one reason why i like the north so much are northern lights: aurora borealis. lappland is a good place to see them, as is northern canada. thanks to the cloud cover, i missed several great auroras (judging from shots people did in this area during these days), but i still saw something. the first set of aurorae appeared when i was outside of guesthouse husky, during one night:

while visiting inari with some other guests staying at the guesthouse, we met andy keen, an aurora hunter and photographer. he gave us a lift back to ivalo, and told us a bit about his history and his fascination on auroras. well, two days later, one other guest and me went on an aurora hunting trip with andy. unfortunatley, we weren’t lucky enough to get a full-blown aurora. but we still saw something, at least! for that, andy drove us somewhere north of inari, near to a lake, where we had a great view over the lake in the direction of norway. the moon was shining bright, and without the stars it almost seemed like daylight. (i guess without the moon the aurorae would have looked more intense as well…) here are some impressions from the lake:

we later continued to another very nice spot, of which i already showed two photos here, and on the way back we stopped on a bridge where we got another wonderful view. (the last four photos of the previous post show these locations.) unfortunatley, both times without auroras. but that’s the problem of aurora hunting, you’re depending a lot on luck. (according to murphy’s law, there probably was a wonderful intense aurora as soon as we were in bed ;-) )
if you’re ever around this area and want to see auroras, do not have a car (to escape the clouds) or just don’t know what to look for, ask andy. he’s a nice guy :-) and it’s nice to be able to start dozing off while someone drives you home in the middle of the night…

here’s my project 52 shot for the twentyfirst week. the topic was

sucht.

this one wasn’t too hard. instead of photographing chocolate, alcohol, computers, cats, i chose something making me go outside several times a night during the last days: northern lights, also called aurora borealis. these ones i photographed next to my mökki near ivalo, lappland. please click the photo to get a larger version:

technical details: 2s, f/4.5, 16mm fisheye, iso 3200.

while staying near to ivalo, the first night was really, really beautiful. some kind of fog, illuminated by the full moon, and aurorae dancing on the sky. just incredible.

more (daylight) photos will follow later. and in case you didn’t notice, i updated part two and added a few more photos from the trip from kuusamo to ivalo.

here’s my project 52 shot for the tenth week. the topic was

fernweh.

this topic could be so easy if archive photos would be allowed. like in the last year, i visited many stunning places which i’d love to see again right now:

the photos were taken near vikajärvi, haines junction, keno and mayo, and yellowknife (from left to right, top to bottom). the message of these photos is plain and simple: i’d like to be far, far more north! somewhere near the arctic circle, or even north of it.

unfortunately, i couldn’t make it north. instead, i went south, and up by train, to recover a photography combining two aspects of northern travel: snow and railways.

technical details: 1/1000s, f/8, 32mm, iso 200.

(this photo is in fact older than the topic. originally i wanted to near to that place again, to take more photos, also for use for project 52. unfortunately, i was too busy and too sick to do this.)