Photo: Northern lights over Horseid beach, Moskenesøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway. September 8, 2017. 22:38
Clear sky, full moon, mild temperatures and solar storm. The aurora season this year was off to a good start! But with seemly perfect conditions for something good, I found myself stuck with option paralysis.
I knew I should go west, but where? Someplace safe and easy, where I knew I had a good shot at a decent image. Or should I gamble a bit more, go someplace new, and hope for the best. Walking up the to window to buy my ferry ticket, I said Kirkefjord. One choice less now.
With two nights of good conditions forecast, I chose first to head up a mountain above Horseid, with hopes of photographing the aurora above the beach. Unfortunately, as night arrived, so did clouds. I managed some images of mild aurora over the beach, but by the time things really got going after 01:00, that part of the sky was almost completely cloudy.
As morning arrived, I thought about staying up the mountain for another night. But my empty water bottles and strengthening wind forced me down. And so I headed down to Horseid beach for another night, and another attempt.
Almost completely opposite to the previous night, the aurora started bright and early! Once I saw the first signs of light, I quickly dressed and ran down to the beach as the sky erupted overhead. I barely had time to level my camera and focus, much less worry about keeping my feet dry as I hurried to the shore line.
The aurora danced in every direction, but I was interest in once place in particular: The view back over the pass to Kirkefjord. Almost perfectly symmetrical, it is a favorite composition of mine. Aurora overhead would make it even better.
I shot at the beach for some time, but soon, almost like a switch being turned off, the sky grew quiet. I went to another location – the place I should have actually gone to first, but it was more difficult to find in the dark – and waited. But the sky remained silent. After a while, the cold wind suggested I head back to my tent.
I lay awake for several more hours, staring at the sky. Faint aurora danced around from time to time, but nothing strong enough to lure me from the warmth of my sleeping bag.
Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8