civil twilight

All posts tagged civil twilight

Winters here are harsh. We’re talking temperatures close to -30°C in southern Finland at the moment. And colder during the night. And even colder when you go more north. Last year I posted a few pictures of the Sininen Hetki, the “Blue Moment”, kind of like the Civil Twilight, but in terms of colors you only get it during very cold and clear nights. This deep, deep, almost tangible blue which is touched by the colors of the sun rising or setting. It’s magical.
I’ve been planning to go to this particular spot already for several years, but for some reason I never did. Last week I tried, but since it’s been snowing her pretty much non-stop for a week now, there wasn’t an opportunity to get this Blue Moment.
Today there was, though (on a Sunday, of all days… ;o) ). Dark moments here in Finland, short days, with not much light and not much sun. But the positive side to that is, that you don’t have to get up at 3 o’clock in the morning to shoot a sunrise. So I got up at 6:30, looked outside and saw that it was good. Looked on the thermometer and saw that it was not so good, but owwell… You can dress for cold weather and I’ve been out in colder than -24°C. Got dressed, packed up the gear (and put some batteries in my pants pocket, just in case) and left for the location I’ve been wanting to go to for such a long time.

Thermometer may have pointed at -24°C at the outside of the apartment, out of the wind in between apartment buildings, but I tell you, it was NASTY cold out on the sea (yes, on the sea. Here the temperatures drop to such foul levels that the sea freezes over).
But once you’re out there, out in the middle of nowhere… Where not only the colors are almost tangible, but also the silence… You could just lose yourself in the nothingness that surrounds you. Every now and again a bird chirps (probably also complaining about the weather) and the creaking of the branches of the trees back on the shore). Solitude is a warm blanket of peacefulness when taken in the right amounts and in the right locations.
That in itself is already a reward for withstanding the freezing temperatures and the tempting covers of a warm bed. But when you see the sun come up slowly and you see the colors change…

Sunrise over Lauttasaari

D700, ISO200, 3 sec @ f/11, Nikkor 14-24mm

Sunrise over Lauttasaari

D700, ISO200, 1/20 sec @ f/13, Nikkor 14-24mm

Sunrise over Lauttasaari

D700, ISO200, 1/3 sec @ f/13, Nikkor 14-24mm

Quickly in between…
So… As you’ve all noticed it’s winter here. I don’t mind so much, it’s actually a perfect opportunity to shoot some pictures. For (or against) the cold you can dress. The only thing it’s not so good for is cars and batteries. So guess what. Early shift this morning, meaning I had to be at work at 6am. Starting to drive at 5.40am the latest. Temperature outside is -29 degrees Celcius. And the car won’t start. Not a cough. Battery totally dead. It appeared that the electricity pole in which I plug in my engine heater is broken, so the past couple of days that I haven’t used the car it’s been just freezing to death, literally.
So everything happens for a reason, right? I took a cab to work, got a ride home from a colleague who drove me along a few stores where eventually I found a new battery (for a FRIGGIN 117€!! ARGH!!). Installed the thing, and brooom! 🙂
But I had to drive around a bit for the battery to warm up and charge fully. Threw in the camera bag for good measure, and rode off into the Sininen Hetki, the Civil Twilight.

Actually the Finnish “Sininen Hetki”, translated “The Blue Moment”, is a lot more descriptive than Civil Twilight. And well… Need I show why?
Only in winter, on the clearest, coldest of days, do you get to witness this kind of beauty 🙂

Sininen Hetki, Civil Twilight

D700, ISO200, 6 sec @ f/11, Nikkor 50mm

Sininen Hetki, Civil Twilight

D700, ISO200, 8 sec @ f/16, Nikkor 50mm

We’re two weeks in… It was still fairly warm when we left for England, start of autumn, sure, but fairly warm.
Now autumn’s racing full speed towards winter. The whole week has been with clear nights and the temperature has dropped to freezing point. It does make for great sunsets around civil twilight.
Bring it on, Winter…

Civil Twilight

D700, ISO200, 30 sec @ f/11, Nikkor 50mm