Ersfjordbotn

All posts tagged Ersfjordbotn

Our trip to Norway to shoot the Northern Lights was quickly on its way to turn into a big, expensive disaster. We had one more chance, one more night.
And it was a clear night. A beautiful night. A cold night. So nothing could go wrong, right?
Or so we thought…

We arrived at our destination, Ersfjordbotn, well in time. Just before sunset. We set up, and I shot some pictures of the setting sun.

Ersfjordbotn, Norway

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

Ersfjordbotn, Norway

D700, ISO200, 10 sec @ f/11, Nikkor 70-200mm

 

Ersfjordbotn, Norway

D700, ISO200, 30 sec @ f/16, Nikkor 70-200mm

And then the waiting started… In the end you of course never know. 80% is a good chance, but there’s still 20% chance to nothing. Slowly, with frustration, cold and a tickling bladder (not yet tRickling) creeping up on us it looked like we hit the jackpot with 20% of zilch. The arm and leg we paid for the trip to this country where everything seems to costs nothing short of fluid gold, was going to fly by with nothing to show for. At least not that what we set out for…

We shot a few pictures in the hours that passed (and hours they were, and stubborn WE were).

Ersfjordbotn, Norway

D700, ISO200, 1/6 sec @ f/16, Nikkor 14-24mm

Ersfjordbotn, Norway

D700, ISO800, 6 sec @ f/2,8, Nikkor 14-24mm

We got company from a few other photographers and it didn’t help our mood when one of them told us that the previous night had been spectacular over Tromsø. We had been sitting out in the cold for about seven hours waiting for the Lights to come, because it was supposed to have been overcast over Tromsø and clear where we are, and we went home empty-handed only to find out that we should’ve best stayed in Tromsø and we would’ve had a great show. But no…

In the end it doesn’t matter how stubborn you are, how eager you are, how patient you are… After sitting in the cold for another six or so hours we accepted our losses and packed up our gear and headed back home. Our newly acquired photographer-friend hitched a ride with us back towards town. And I’ll be damned… we were just over the hills when he shouts “Look there! It’s starting! Pull over!”
Sure as I’m sitting here writing this… the sky turned all green on us and it was dancing like there was no tomorrow.

Sure, you see it on pictures. And it’s beautiful on pictures. But when you see it for real, when you see it with your own eyes… It’s nothing short of breath-taking. Here’s a piece of nature phenomena which struck me silent on the spot. The first five-ten minutes we just stood there gaping at with mouths open. If it would’ve lasted for only that time, we still wouldn’t have had any pictures of it. But we at least saw it in its full beauty. I’m sure you’ve seen pictures. And I have pictures coming up. But I couldn’t possibly explain how it is to look at this in real life.

The only thing… Pictures are brighter. It doesn’t happen often that the pictures are more beautiful in terms of color, saturation and vibrance (unless of course you bump the sliders in post-processing), but the actual Northern Lights aren’t all that bright. They are very clear, and very visible, that’s not it, but the colors in the pictures, even in the unedited raw files, are so much deeper and saturated than what I saw with my own eyes…
Not that it takes away any of the awe that it gave me…

I’m planning another trip. I realize we pushed it in terms of time left before the climate changed too much for the chances to see the Northern Lights. Next year it’ll be early/mid February instead of end March.

Aurora Borealis, Northern Lights

D700, ISO400, 6 sec @ f/2.8, Nikkor 50mm

Aurora Borealis, Northern Lights

D700, ISO800, 4 sec @ f/2.8, Nikkor 50mm

Aurora Borealis, Northern Lights

D700, ISO800, 4 sec @ f/2.8, Nikkor 50mm

Aurora Borealis, Northern Lights

D700, ISO800, 6 sec @ f/2,8, Nikkor 14-24mm

(So yeah, the last one’s photoshopped, but that was because I was so frustrated and I so badly wanted to have a picture with the Northern Lights coming into that point where the mountains meet… I’ll get a real one of those next year 😉 )

 

So… That was a disappointment… Beautiful day the entire day, and everything down the drain because it turned overcast in a few hours.
Ok, maybe not everything down the drain, we did get some good pictures, but still. We didn’t get what we actually came for.
That called for another night on the town. We were back at the hotel around 23:30. And so it appears that IF anything happens in the city of Tromsø, it doesn’t happen before midnight. We went to the same place as yesterday, which was actually full with people. Not so different from Finland, I must add, since there were a good number of them well beyond there quota. It must’ve been an expensive night for them.

We didn’t make it a long night, since we had another long day ahead of us. Last chance, as we were homeward bound the next morning. The weather forecast was good according to several websites now. We woke up in our brightly sunlit walk-in closets and that set our moods in the right direction 🙂
Today’s route would lead us around Hella, Bakkejord (the area where the first boat pics are from), and Sommarøy back to Ersfjordbotn, which is a typical place where many people before us have shot the Northern Lights.

Hella, Norway

D700, ISO200, 1/500 sec @ f/11, Nikkor 14-24mm

Near Sommarøy, Norway

D700, ISO200, 1/500 sec @ f/8, Nikkor 70-200mm

Bakkejord, Norway

D700, ISO200, 1/500 sec @ f/13, Nikkor 50mm. 180-degree panorama built from five images.

Near Sjøtun, Norway

D700, ISO200, 1/350 sec @ f/9.5, Nikkor 50mm. 180-degree panorama built from five images.

Near Sjøtun, Norway

D700, ISO200, 30 sec @ f/16, Nikkor 50mm, Singh-Ray VariND filter

Near Sjøtun, Norway

D700, ISO200, 20 sec @ f/11, Nikkor 50mm, Singh-Ray VariND filter