Photo: Equinox Aurora over Storsandnes beach, Flakstadøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway. March 20, 2020. 21:35
Last friday was a stormy and windy day with passing snow showers and storm force wind gusts throughout the day. Sometime in the early evening I randomly looked out the window and saw a faint green band of aurora high in the sky. Hmm, wasn’t expecting that.
The next wave of clouds and wind and snow shook my house. But after I looked out again and the aurora was beginning to dance a little. Hmm, better get moving!
So I headed down the road to Storsandnes beach, arriving just as the sky began to explode in light. Somehow I knocked my camera out of focus after a couple shots – Which I didn’t catch for another minute, and had to run back up to the road to focus on the lights of a distant house.
I often sound like a broken record on photo workshops, reminding people to zoom in and check focus on images every few minutes, and it’s good I follow my own advice as well! It’s easy in the dark with gloves on to accidentally hit a button or the lens when recomposing or adjusting settings. I missed a first good display because of this, even though I was only out of focus for a minute before I caught it. But no worries, there was plenty more to come this night!
Without any moonlight, you can see the effect of the light pollution from Leknes and Gravdal on the clouds on the right side of the image. Usually with would disturb me, but on this image I kinda like it. It ads a bit of a surreal look to the image. Luckily I caught this light flash of pink as the aurora picked up in speed and danced across the sky. Even at a relatively fast shutter speed of 2 seconds for northern lights, you can see they are still quite blurry.
There was no high KP forecast and the weather was mostly terrible as well. This was just one of those nights where you just have to be here and maybe you get lucky.
This year as been a tough year for northern lights here on Lofoten. I was lucky that each of my 5 winter workshops I guided this season had at least one night of northern lights, but on a couple occasions it wasn’t until the final night of the trip – the 2nd time was due to the trip with my Swiss group being cut short due to the sudden quarantine regulations here in Norway due to covid-19 and having to get them on the soonest possible flight out of Tromsø and back home before everything shut down.
The main difficulty this year was the weathe. It’s been endlessly windy and cloudy this year. It wasn’t even until March that I had seen the sun on 10 separate occasions. I’d say this was my least productive aurora season since moving here in February 2016. There’s still a few weeks left, so who knows what might happen…
Sigma 14mm f/1.8