Photo: Northern Lights fill sky from summit of Ryten, Moskenesøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway. March 2, 2017. 19:54
My plan for the day had just been some easy afternoon ski touring with some friends. However, as I was heading into Leknes run some errands, and with a good aurora forecast for the evening, I knew I had to be up in the mountains at night. So I quickly headed home and packed my bag for a night in the mountains. The sun was low on the horizon as I began my way up Ryten.
What had been calm weather down below was a pretty strong wind up high – I think I’ve only been on Ryten once when it wasn’t windy. Arriving at the summit in evening twilight, I attempted to set up my tent. Unfortunately, in my haste of packing, I had forgotten the guy lines with my other tent. So after a bit of testing, it became obvious that I wouldn’t be sleeping on the mountain this night.
Too cold and windy just to sit around, I found a slightly sheltering rock and pulled out my sleeping pad and sleeping bag to sit in while waiting for the sky to darken. Seeming just after I took my boots off and got in the bag, I noticed a faint glow of green beginning to appear, the sky not even dark yet. I waited around a bit longer before getting out again.
By now, around 19:00, a nice green arch was crossing the twilight sky. Some time later, things really got active and the aurora was so bright that I could have walked down the mountain without needing a headlamp! It was simply huge, bright, and dancing across the sky in every direction. One of the best displays I have ever seen.
Unfortunately though, I don’t think the composition quite worked for Ryten on this evening, and my main original plan had been for the aurora over Kvalvika, but they didn’t appear much in that direction. This is always the gamble with northern lights – they might not show up where you want them to, even if they are otherwise spectacular!
This image consists of two photos, one for the foreground and one for the sky. I found this necessary, as point just towards the sky left not enough compositional elements in the foreground, just some vague snowy hills of no apparent importance. And point down for a nice composition of the landscape left out too much of the sky.
Overall, it is an image that took a bit of effort, and the aurora was fantastic. But I probably might have gotten something better compositionally had I just gone to one of the beaches. Though there were probably hundreds of other photographers down there all shooting the same thing, so at least I captured something somewhat more unique.
Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8
2 images – top/bottom