Northern Lights shine in sky over sea and mountains of Vestvagoy, from near Myrland, Lofoten Islands, Norway

Friday Photo #49 – Northern Lights Over Himmeltindan

Northern Lights shine in sky over sea and mountains of Vestvagoy, from near Myrland, Lofoten Islands, Norway

Photo: Northern Lights over Himmeltindan from Myrland, Flakstadøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway.  24 September, 2013.  22:54

After waiting two weeks for a new Nikon D800 camera to arrive, having dropped dropped it in a lake in Sweden, I lucked out at had a good display of Northern Lights on my first night back in action.  There had been some good displays in the previous weeks, but this was the best thus far, and I would have probably been quite grumpy had my camera arrived the following morning.

The main element I find missing while shooting the Northern Lights in autumn is snow.  There is just something a little less magical, but perhaps that’s just me.  It can also be a bit of a struggle sometimes to get yourself away from any coastal lights, as pretty much the whole population of Lofoten is on the coast.  And then, with the unpredictability of where the Northern Lights will actually appear in the sky (if they do at all), you often have to take a gamble on a composition that may or may not come into form.

This shot was my backup location.  I had originally intended to shoot from the beach at Myrland, giving me a nice clean view across to Vestvågøy, but the lights where too high in the sky to include both beach and Auroras in the image.  So I quickly hopped back in the car  and headed back down the road a way to a location where I had a slightly better overall composition.

I still think the empty sea is a little on the boring side, but at least the Aurora seems to be emerging from the summit of Himmeltindan, the highest mountain on Vestvågøy, so that kind of makes the image work for me.

Another think of note.  This image is from a night with a nearly full moon.  I often see the (incorrect) opinion floating around the internet that you need a moonless sky to see the Northern Lights.  This is simply not true.  And if fact, I think having some moonlight, to help illuminate the foreground, especially with winter snow, actually makes for a better image.

Camera Info:
Nikon D800
Nikon 24mm f/3.5 tilt-shift
ISO 800
f 5.6
30 sec
WB Daylight
2 images – top, bottom

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