Photo: Northern lights – aurora borealis shine in sky over red cabins of Eliassen Rorbuer, Hamnøy, Moskenesøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway. February 19, 2023. 23:30
The arrival of mid April means the end of aurora season on Lofoten. By next weekend the sky will no longer be dark enough for the northern lights to be visible as the sun continues its journey towards the northern horizon.
Overall, this year has been a pretty good year for northern lights. My season started on August 27th while just outside of Kvikkjokk in Sweden before heading out to hike sections of the Padjelantaleden and Kungsleden trails (eBooks available here). Once back in Norway, the aurora continued on a fairly regular basis throughout the autumn and into early winter. Some heavy weather arrived with the beginning of photo workshop season in mid January, but every group managed to get at least one night of northern lights during their workshops, and many groups got lucky with multiple nights.
I was over on the mainland with perfectly clear skies March 23 when a G4 solar storm hit, in one of the best and most colourful northern lights displays I’ve ever seen. This was the biggest solar storm in 6 years, and was visible throughout Europe and down to the southern US. Crazy! Not sure if I’ll ever post any of the pictures here, but maybe they’ll eventually show up over on distantnorth.com.
By now, only the brightest displays are visible in the hours around midnight. Have I seen my last aurora for the season yet? I’m not sure, but probably. The chances grow lower with each passing day. And by the 20th, I’ll be pretty confident the aurora will be over.
This image was the last stop of what had been 4 hours of dancing aurora this night with a workshop group. Usually I don’t like to put too many signs of civilisation or light pollution in my images, but as it had already been a good night for the group with multiple other locations visited, we decided on one last stop just around the corner from our cabins at Eliassen rorbuer – so we were actually shooting out cabins from this location.
On a lower activity night, this would normally be a somewhat risky location, if the aurora only remained in the north. But luckily, the activity pickup up after 23:00 and the aurora moved to the southern part of the sky. The exposure was quite tricky, and I was bracketing with 0, -1 stop exposures just to be on the safe side with the bright lights of the cabins. Though this photo is from a single image. A bit of moonlight would have definitely helped with this scene to balance out the light. Overall, still a nice shot I think, and one that I’ve not previously taken, despite the amount of time I spend in the area each winter.
Head over to my Instagram account for (almost) daily postings of the local conditions here on Lofoten: @distant.north
Nikon Z7 II
Nikon 20mm f/1.8