Friday Photo #312 – December Grey

December Grey - Friday Photo #312

Photo: Slettind rises over the old Moloen at Myrland, Flakstadøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway. December 28, 2018. 13:56

With 2019 coming to a close in a few days the mostly mild winter continues. Compared to last year at this time (Friday Photo 260) when Lofoten was cloaked in white of a deep freeze, it’s mostly just been grey, wet days here in the west. But that is how it goes some years.

I attempt to keep these Friday photo posts as relevant as possible to current conditions these days. But realistically, I’ve barely hiked much since October and hardly photographed anything but a handful of northern lights since then as well – and those have been somewhat few and far between. The darkness and grey just leaves me a bit unmotivated.

But today, I at least managed to wander down to the beach for a fresh image. Mostly to show that there’s not much snow currently here in west Lofoten – There is more as you go further east. The mountain in this image, Stettind is over 500 meters high, so you can see that there’s not much snow yet. When it will come, nobody knows. Last year I had my first ski days a bit after the new year. That probably won’t happen this year.

On the bright side, just over a week until the sun returns – weather permitting of course!

Happy new year everyone, wherever you are! See you on the other side…

Camera Info:
Nikon D850
Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8
ISO 31
f 10
5 seconds
WB Daylight

Friday Photo #311 – December Aurora

December Aurora - Friday Photo #311

Photo: Northern lights reflect on Storsandnes beach, Flakstadøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway. December 7, 2018. 20:15

Today is the winter solstice, the longest night of the year for us in the north – from now on we can begin to look forward to the return of the sun to Lofoten! Just a few weeks to go now…

It also means the the aurora season is half way over – with around 3 1/2 months left of northern lights dancing across the night sky of Lofoten. My first sighting of the aurora this season was August 26, yes, it starts that early, while my last sighting from the past season was April 13. So on either side of the season, the first/last aurora are visible on Lofoten about a 3-4 weeks before/after the autumnal and vernal equinoxes. It is quite a long season actually. Really the longest that any weather or seasonally related phenomenon occurs on Lofoten – encompassing the end of summer, autumn, winter, and perhaps the early days of spring, though I think April still counts as winter here other than the daylight hours.

While we’ve had some big aurora nights this year, including this photo, which at its peak that night, was filling the southern sky – perhaps the biggest aurora of the season so far this year. The cloudy and stormy weather has meant the northern lights have been a somewhat rare gift. Even with forecasts calling for clear skies we’ve ended up with clouds. And on some of the rare clear nights, the sky has remained quiet – at least by my, admittedly slightly spoiled, standards.

But when the aurora has arrived, it has often been good! This night, Friday 2 weeks ago, I took over 600 images, which is quite a lot for me. And every time the sky would seem to die out and i’d put my lens cap on and walk away, it would soon erupt again! A fantastic show for well over an hour!

Camera Info:
Nikon D850
Sigma 14mm f/1.8
ISO 1600
f 1.8
4 seconds
WB Daylight
2 images – top, bottom

Friday Photo #310 – Polar Night

Polar Night - Friday Photo #310

Photo: December’s afternoon twilight during the polar night – Mørketid over Vestvågøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway. December 11, 2018. 12:54

The sun has finally set on Lofoten for the year. A though it remains below the southern horizon at noon, on clear days – kinda rare this year – we still have some magical light before the darkness returns by early afternoon. At time it can feel as if the whole world is glowing in a pastel twilight. While other days the clouds and rain only bring deep shades of dark blue and grey, they sky mirroring the sea, and only allowing us a short glimpse of the word beyond the streetlights.

November is already a dark and often stormy month here in the north. So the beginning of the Mørketid isn’t sudden. It is just a slow fading of the light until one day you look at the calendar and realize you’re not going to see the sun again for a while. And so it is, the Mørketid – the dark time here in the arctic.

But Lofoten really only experiences a light version of the Polar night, nothing like the 2 months of darkness the people up in Finnmark experience. It is strange to think – as far north as Lofoten is, there is a whole lot further north to go in Norway!

Nothing technical about this image. I was passing the beach on my way home from Norwegian class – luckily we got out a bit early this day – and saw the world was glowing. So I quickly went home to grab my camera and then headed back. There had been some glow on the distant Himmeltind when I initially passed, but I unfortunately missed that.

I knew I wanted to capture a little water blur so I put the ISO down to 31 on my D850 – one of the best thing about the recent Nikon’s – super low ISO. While the race these days is high ISO performance, I almost want the opposite. I want ISO 10, or 5! Other than northern lights, I don’t often need high ISO. I’m much more likely to shoot longer exposures, and so it’s nice not always having to pull out filters. Perhaps I’m just lazy…

Camera Info:
Nikon D850
Nikon 24mm f/3.5 tilt-shift
ISO 31
f 13
1.6 seconds
WB Daylight
2 images – top, bottom

Friday Photo #309 – Last Sun

Last Sun of 2018 - Friday Photo #309

Photo: My final view of the sun before the beginning of the polar night – mørketid, Napp, Flakstadøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway. December 2, 2018. 11:46

I spent Saturday traveling back from Oslo looking on somewhat jealously while my Instagram feed was filled with fantastic light from Lofoten. I didn’t step foot back in Leknes until the last fading hours of twilight. With the final sunset of the year less than a week away and a pretty grim weather forecast, I thought I had missed my last view of the sun for the year.

Before even heading home I went to Reine and then Å to run in the Anette Møller Løpet (almost) 10k charity run from Å to Reine. 57:00 minutes for me, not to bad for only 4 hours of sleep, almost no food, and most of the day in airports. Afterwards I was tired, so insead of going out for the party afterwards, I went home as was in bed by 21:20 – what a way to spend a Saturday night!

As morning came – I kinda slept in a bit, But as I got up I could see light shining on the mountains across on Vestvågøy. Hmmm, the southern horizon must be clear. So I headed down the road to see the light.

As I got to Napp, the sky was filled with light. I parked and headed up a little hill overlooking Nappstraumen. Soon, the sun peaked out around the corner of Skottind, barely rising above the sea on the southern horizon – sunrise at noon…

I should also mention that it was windy like hell, with a near gale force wind blowing across my face. I would have liked to shoot something more creative, but it was hard enough work just to keep my tripod from blowing over! So a ‘snapshot’ was the best I could hope to do under the circumstances.

And so eventually the sun left again. The rest of the week has been filled with clouds and the polar night begins tomorrow (Saturday). So while I might still have some chances for some nice color in the sky over the next weeks, I won’t see the sun again for the next month – until sometime in early January, weather cooperating. Polar night number three for me, here in the north.

Camera Info:
Nikon D850
Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8
ISO 100
f 11
WB Daylight