Friday Photo #329 – Spring Nights

Photo: Lenticular cloud over Himmeltindan at twilight, Vestvågøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway. April 20, 2019. 22:50

Spring has arrived in the last week here on Lofoten – even up to 15˚ C in the last few days! That might not sound like much to anyone down south, but for me, it’s the warmest temperature I’ve had since September! I can even go on my evening jogs in shorts and a t-shirt at the moment. How long it will last, nobody knows. But at least it is a taste of summer for us! And a nice July day might not be much warmer than 15˚ C here anyhow.

Spring is a tricky time of year here on Lofoten. The light of summer but often the cold of winter. Though in sun and warmth and sun of the last week I can see the fields outside my house growing greener by the day. Which is quite a difference to last year when there was much more snow, especially on the mountains. It will probably snow again, perhaps several times, but at least the thermometer seems to be moving north.

Usually spring is a slightly unproductive photographic time for me. As I don’t really like the brown landscapes all that much. But this year, I will probably make much more effort to go out and photograph and to illustrate what spring is, as hopefully later in the year I’ll produce the final missing sections of my ’Seasons on Lofoten’ ebook guides – spring and autumn. Which I will likely combine together into one guide, as they are otherwise relatively short periods on their own. First though, I’m putting in long hours for the long overdue 2nd edition of Seasons on Lofoten – Summer, which should be out next week hopefully!

I was hoping to be lazy on this rainy evening. The sunset was interesting, but not enough to get me out of the house. Finally though, a little while later all the low clouds passed and I was this glowing lenticular cloud floating over Himmeltindan. It is not often we get lenticular clouds here, so I quickly grabbed my camera and rain out into the bog of my neighbors field. It was windy – the whole reason the cloud was there – but warm. So between gusts, I managed a few images in the quickly fading twilight.

Camera Info:
Nikon D850
Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8
ISO 100
f 7.1
5 seconds
WB Daylight

Friday Photo #328 – April Twilight

Photo: April twilight just before midnight, Myrland, Flakstadøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway. April 17, 2019. 23:55

With a perfectly clear sky on Wednesday I wandered down to the beach just before midnight to see if I might get lucky with one last aurora. Last year, April 13th was my last one, this year, it will be the image from last week’s post (Friday Photo #327) on April 10th. Now it’s a 4 months wait until late august when I’ll look to the night sky again. Until then, we have the season of light!

Already in mid April, the sun is only 12˚ degrees below the horizon at its lowest point. For comparison, in Berlin at midsummer, 2 months away still, the sun is at 14˚ below the horizon. It is a quick change up here from the season of darkness to the season of light.

With each passing night, the sunsets and sunrises with move further and further north and the horizon glows brighter and brighter until one night in late May, the sun no longer sets – and the season of the midnight sun is here – though due to Summer Time it’s really the 01:00 sun when it reaches its lowest point in the sky.

The snow has been melting quickly this last week and today it is even 10˚C outside, though with a misty rain. Yesterday I even saw the first dandelion flowers down at the beach, so it feels like spring is off to an early start – but that still doesn’t mean that the winds can’t shift and winter will make a return.

Camera Info:
Nikon D850
Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8
ISO 200
f 5
15 seconds
WB Daylight

Friday Photo #327 – Aurora Camping

Photo: Camping on the summit of Veggen under April northern lights, Vestvågøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway. April 11, 2019. 00:04

With the 2018/2019 coming to a close in the next days, the sky has been putting on a pretty good show over the past week. Last Friday I camped out at Kvalvika and had the whole beach for myself as the sky exploded with color, and the cool rocket launch from Andøya, which was a bit eerie to see at first!. And a few other nice nights during the week until I was free from class again and could camp Wednesday night – with a forecast for clear sky.

I initially thought about going up Reinebringen, but having been sent a photo of the route by a friend, it looked a bit too avalachy and dangerous just for some photos. So I headed up Veggen instead – and while the route itself was safe, I only brought micro spikes instead of proper crampons, which wasn’t the best choice for the hard, icy snow. Making the descent a little scarier than I would have liked!

Darkness comes late at this time of year, but there is still enough of it for the aurora to dance overhead. However, the time from sunset until ‘night,’ if we can call it that, can be a little bit of a wait – especially while camping in the cold! So it’s always a choice of how warm and cozy do you let yourself get in the sleeping bag, which then makes you a little lazy and hesitant to get out once you see a bit of green appear in the sky.

This night, I was a little lazy. I missed an early outburst that only lasted a couple minutes – I was watching the web cams from inside my sleeping bag – that is pretty lazy! But eventually I emerged into the cold and there was still some aurora to be seen. However, a wave of clouds was slowly moving in as well, so after an hour or so when the aurora peaked again, it was sufficiently cloudy to block the show. And thus around 01:00 I went back to the tent.

So defiantly not the best image ever, but perhaps my last of this season. And now, 4 months of (hopefully) sun in the north. After last year, we deserve a good summer this year!

Friday Photo #326 – Aurora Season Ending

Photo: April aurora and glowing horizon, Flakstadøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway. April 2, 2018. 22:16

April brings the transition between night and day to Lofoten. As the month begins, the sky is still dark enough for aurora to dance across the sky, but as the weeks pass we finally tip the balance and the night is gone.

This past season has been good and bad. There have been some absolutely fantastic shows of northern lights, perhaps some of the best I have ever seen. Yet at other times, particularly during the autumn and into early January, the weather was not very cooperative, and there could be a week or more between aurora displays. At least for all of my week long photo workshops of the season, every tour got at least one nigh of aurora, with a few trips getting much more, despite the best efforts of the weather.

For myself, I never managed any mountain trips during the autumn. And with the nights quickly shortening, I might not have much time for any winter camping shots either. But I will do my best.

And as much as I’d like the aurora to continue, I’m already thinking about the season of light that is quickly approaching. It seems only a few weeks ago that after-work outdoor activities were impossible, as the darkness arrived all too early. Monday, I was able to go to Norwegian class in the morning, head home for lunch, go for a quick ski tour, meet my friends in a cafe, and then head of for an early evening surf session. And I was still home before sunset! So wonderful! And hopefully the landscape keeps its winter look, though its been a bit on the rainy side, unfortunately. But I look forward to being in the mountains as much as possible these next weeks!

I’ll see the aurora again in August – probably from over in Greenland.

Camera Info:
Nikon D850
Sigma 14mm f/1.8
ISO 2500
f 25 seconds
WB Daylight