Photo: Christmas twilight over snow covered landscape, Flakstadøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway. December 25, 2022
Today is the Winter Solstice – the shortest day of the year. But as Lofoten is in the middle of the polar night, and there is no daylight, it is simply the darkest ‘day’ of the year, with the sun reaching a maximum elevation of -0.87˚ below the horizon. And while there are many months of snow and winter ahead in the north, the sun will now rise higher in the sky for the next 6 months. I’m already looking forwards to the long summer days.
How dark the polar night is on Lofoten depends on a multitude of factors. The two most import for any given day are weather – cloud cover, and snow. A clear sky with fresh snow will be much brighter than heavy clouds and no snow. It sounds pretty obvious as I write it, of course it’s darker when cloudy. But when the brightest it gets is twilight, then a heavy layer of clouds can make quite a difference in the few hours of light which exist.
Location on the islands is also important. This image, taken on Christmas afternoon on a nice clear day is about as light as it gets on the Yttersia – the northern side of Lofoten during this time of year. Whereas if I were on the southern side of Lofoten, looking south across the Vestfjord, there would have been a nice colourful glow in the sky.
There are a few locations across Lofoten that have the best of both; fully open to the north for the midnight sun and south for colourful winter twilight. Having to choose though, I prefer the north and the midnight sun. It’s not like I’m going to spend a lot of time sitting in my backyard in the middle of winter anyhow, so I can survive a few months without direct sunlight. Or even better, head down to Spain!
Head over to my Instagram account for (almost) daily postings of the local conditions here on Lofoten: @distant.north
Nikon z7 II
Nikon 24-120mm f/4