All posts tagged Mountain

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 😉 )


After our first day of scouting we were sent to different bar, a place which was THE place to be on a Tuesday (!). Well… The place was positively buzzing with about 5 people. So after a few drinks we headed back to the hotel, tired from a long day of driving in the rain. We did check up on the weather forecast, never giving up hope that the trip to this godforsaken country, which was called The Paris of the North, where a drink costs you an arm and a leg, would be a total miserable loss. And guess what? Out of the 5 websites forecasting the weather for the Troms area one actually mentioned a clearing up for the next day. Of course with all our hope we fully believed that one website and with sunshine in our hearts we withdrew in our walk-in closets and called it a night.

Lo and behold… We woke up to patches of blue in the sky. We couldn’t believe our eyes!
Another day of scouting ahead, and bring out the sunglasses!
Tourist information told us we would better be heading east for the night, where the sky would be the clearest. Near Tromsø things would be clouded over come evening, so no use to stick around there. So off we went, in the direction of the Lyngs Alps, a mountain range east of Tromsø, topping just under 2000 meters. We drove all the way to the east tip of the island, to Breivikeidet, there where the ferry leaves to Svensby.
It was there were we set up “camp”.


D700, ISO200, 1/500 sec @ f/8, Nikkor 50mm. A 180-degree panorama put together from 10 images.

We had plenty of time to kill before sunset and darkness, so we got acquainted with the area a bit.

The beach in Breivikeidet

D700, ISO200, 1/180 sec @ f/8, Nikkor 50mm

There was an actual beach there. I’m not quite sure how often per year you could actually lie on the beach this far north, but pretty it was. And the water… Shockingly clear…

The beach in Breivikeidet

D700, ISO200, 1/180 sec @ f/8, Nikkor 50 mm

(I didn’t position them like that…)

Sea urchin on the beach in Breivikeidet

D700, ISO200, 1/250 sec @ f/8, Tamron 90mm macro

And some more landscapes:

Gletcher on the island of Svendby

D700, ISO200, 1/250 sec @ f/16, Nikkor 70-200mm

My buddy spotted a totally unexpected guest when he was standing here: a seal! Unfortunately he didn’t manage to get a good picture of it and it took off too soon. I managed to only get a glimpse of it from where I was standing 🙁

My buddy Alan

D700, ISO200, 1/125 sec @ f/2.8, Nikkor 70-200mm

And they had boats, too 😉


D700, ISO200, 1/250 sec @ f/11, Nikkor 50mm


D700, ISO200, 1/350 sec @ f/11, Nikkor 50mm

And while we were waiting for the darkness and the night to set in, which it finally did after us spending about six hours in the cold there, we saw happening what we were dreading already for a few hours. More and more clouds came in and what was supposed to be a clear night was about to go all wrong.

Breivikeidet / Svendby

D700, ISO200, 10 sec @ f/16, Nikkor 70-200mm

It ended up clouding over so much that we decided to get away from here and hoping we would drive towards some lighter skies.
On our way back, for just a brief moment, we thought we saw something over the mountain range, but we didn’t capture it on sensor. It might’ve just been our eagerness…

Somewhere along the way from Breivikeidet back to Tromsø

D700, ISO200, 15 sec @ f/2.8, Nikkor 14-24mm

… with a pang of pain…

The weekend’s been a terribly busy one. I got a brief for a brochure of about 200 pages last Friday and I have to have the first pdf for correction ready by Tuesday, so you can imagine what schedule I’m on. I spent probably 35 hours at the computer in the past 2,5 days. Not exaggerated.

I’ve been playing a lot of music and when I just turned on Amy MacDonald and track 2 (This is the Life) started playing I found myself wandering off to a -so it seems- distant past when I spent three months in the US.
I remember playing this CD quite a lot when I was there and for some reason I always have a very strong association with music to events or things I was doing at the time I was listening to a certain song or CD.

So there I was…
Looking at myself biking to school, going out for trips with people and spending time with the great, wonderful people I met during those three months. It’s been one of the best summers of my life, and it’s been the summer that has gone by the fastest. Those three months were like a week, it was that intense.
I’m feeling a sting in my gut as I write this.

I miss you guys. I miss you all a lot. And I wish we could do it all over again.
When are we going to do a reunion?