… from northern Norway again. During the last 12 days we tried to meet the Green Lady again, but the overall outcome is quite disappointing considering the current peak of solar activity which is the cause of the Aurora.
At first, we had 2 days in and around Tromsø with snowy and rainy weather, but no Aurora. Next 4 days on Senja: snowstorms, thick clouds, and partly rain 😲 to melt the snow, and such even prevented nice winter images.
Thus, after checking the weather forecast for the greater region, we left 1 day early, canceled the next location, and postponed another one. Instead, we escaped to Sweden, which was proposing the best conditions for the next few days.
It was a horrible 320km drive to Sweden crossing a mountain pass: towards darkness during a snowstorm on such a steep and small road is quite a challenge, even with spikes. At first, we lost an hour because the pass was closed for rescuing a truck stuck in the snow. Snow chains were an absolute necessity for trucks. The bad sight demanded further delays because of the quite slow speed for driving. Driving convoy was also necessary to make sure to not lose sight of the car in front of us.
After dinner on the arriving day, we noticed a greenish glow above the town. So, two of us (me included 😁 of course) decided to give it a try. Despite being quite late (in comparison to their usual schedule), she popped out and danced for us. We were back at the hotel at about 2 a.m., tired, but with happy smiles on our faces. My companion even wanted to stay way longer. The first meeting with the Aurora for this trip. The others were too tired from the drive.
Unfortunately, the next two days she was shy again and didn’t show us more than a weak glow between the clouds, that already arrived there, too, although the weather forecast said differently.
After 3 nights in Sweden, we headed back to Norway for the remaining 3 nights.
When we arrived at our last location, we struggled again with bad weather. One day and night got lost to another snowstorm, but we also got two crisp clear nights, but she didn’t pop up. While we got at least a short and weak Aurora in one of these two nights, the other one was completely Aurora-free. At least we got some wonderful sunny winter days.
Overall, this year’s trip for seeing the Aurora was quite disappointing although the conditions are extremely good this year. Solar activity is at or near its maximum. Surprisingly, a green Aurora was visible even in the middle of Germany but not in northern Norway. I guess, because of the high level of solar activity, the center moved south so that we couldn’t see Auroras north of the polar circle in Norway as expected.
The green lights are at about 40km high, while the reds are up to 100km high. Thus, middle Europe usually sees the red lights of an aurora, when a strong Aurora happens. But green lights are extremely rare at these latitudes.
On the other hand, this was again a nice winter trip with nice company and quite well-prepared (although it seemed a bit chaotic sometimes).
Surprisingly, I have more the half of my images already developed and even started creating an ebook with some of my monochrome images taken during this trip. So, even the days with bad weather delivered. During the last third of the trip, I definitely had the best weather. So, be prepared to see some of the images in the future.
For today I have one Aurora image for you (how could it be otherwise). You might have already seen it on Instagram.
Second, an image taken while coping with the bad conditions on the pass. Coincidentally at that time, the shuffle function of my audio collection decided to play „May it be“ by Enya from the first Lord of the Rings movie where it is underscoring how the fellows hiked upwards the Caradhras pass.
The third image is one of the last images, taken near sunset on our last day.
One of the other highlights of the trip was our visit to the Ice Hotel in Kiruna. You can rent a room for a night made of ice. Sleep in a sleeping bag on a bed made of ice covered with reindeer furs set up in a room made completely of ice. They offer three different kinds of such rooms. First, they have the standard rooms, where you feel like standing in a room of the gigantic crystalline fortress made by the green crystal thrown by Clark Kent (the later Men of Steel) in the Canadian Arctic. Other rooms were more individually decorated, like the one in the image below. All of these are supposed to melt as soon as spring starts and return their water to the lake beside the hotel. In a separate huge hall, there are individually designed rooms by some ice artists. I suppose those rooms are not for rent. According to the website, “the room holds a temperature of -5 to -8 degrees Celsius. The bed is covered with reindeer hides and you sleep in a thermal sleeping bag. Instead of doors, the hotel rooms have curtains that you draw to give you and your company privacy.“ So, I wish you a good night and sleep well 😁
The entrance fee for seeing these rooms is quite high but definitely worth the money. While I was expecting only a bar made of ice set up in a room made of ice and equipped with chairs and tables made of ice, I was visiting an art gallery where not only the rooms were made of ice, but also the pieces of art itself. Btw. they also have the bar 😁.
The final image for today is one of the monochrome images taken at a beach in the greater Tromsø area.
Here, the different layers work best in monochrome. The foreground is made of gray rocks, the middle ground is made of dark rocks and the background is formed by the mountains. All of them are well parted by the moving water of the fjord and the white splashes stand out well from the dark rocks while the shoreline leads the eye from the lower left right to the splashes and thus makes them the main subject. The color version is on Instagram for comparison.
So, my advice for photographing on a trip. Don’t stick to the ideas you have on your bucket list. Instead, try always to get the best from the situation you’re in. There is always something for you to take. Use your time well and the location will pay back. When sticking to the ideas from your bucket list, remember that you will never be in the same situation, in the same conditions, and probably in the same place as the photographer whose picture you saw. But, it will limit your ability to see the scene with your own eyes and capture the beauty laying in front of you. Be a creator and not a copycat.