Winter is here. I defied my crippling back pain and went out to shoot a few photos. Enjoy!
To round of a quiet night with practically no northern lights and some editing work on the aging computer – here is one of the big flashes from last night! Glad Wenche came out in time to see this! Better than fireworks – isn’t it!
In relation to the previous two posts…
I have a sensational old and slow computer. So cranking out Northern Lights photos is a slow and tedious process in sharp contrast to my camera, which is fast as lightning in comparison when it comes to process photos…
This is one more from yesterday in relation to my last post – see the Home-page.
On the third night in a row I went out scouting for the Northern Lights yesterday. I had good company in Danielle and Kent Robin. Liv-Bente had prepared the grounds (if you’d like me to, I’ll explain this in a later post). Just in time for the show, Wenche came along with an exchange student, Ayan from Thailand and an old friend – Rune – and a friend of his – Cathrine – from Narvik Fotoklubb – The local photo club came to scout the skies as well. There were quite a few tripods and camera at one point, but it is always nice to trade tips and tricks in the very skilled and difficult art of taking good northern lights shots.
So what about the title on this post? – you might ask… Well, when there is nobody else out there chatting along, I can actually hear music when I see the northern lights flickering and meandering across the night sky. My good friend – the brilliant singer and thereminist – Amethyste plays along with the light in my mind. She has an angelical voice. I suppose it is simply and purely a question of associations between beautiful things in my life.
I am crazy busy today – but I just popped by my blog to show my readers an example of last night activity. The Kp-index was steadily around five, which at these latitudes is high (northern lights activity normally starts at Kp 2/3. Tonight there is a geomagnetic storm coming with an estimated strength of G1 (the scale goes from G0 – no activity to G5 where all hell breaks loose and satellites gets their curcuitboards fried and powergrids here on Earth fails).
Unfortunately there were strong winds and quite a bit of rain and partly cloudy yesterday. But still the build up to the storm was quite obvious in between the clouds!
The conditions are good! Clear skies and moderate particle stream from the sun, so my camera is set, my wool clothes are all ready. Tripod? Check! Extra battery? Check! Flash light? Check! All systems nominal. Go, no-go for northern lights! WE HAVE A GO FOR AURORA BOREALIS!
In the news today we saw that 45. million readers have seen the Facebook page for Visit Northern Norway – and yet again my friend Øystein Lunde Ingvaldsen lundeimages. com made the frontpage with one of his stunning photos, the very photo I got his permission to show here to the right! It is an absolute beauty of a northern lights shot! The photo is taken in Bø in Vesterålen (Boe in Vesteraalen) – the beautiful group of islands between Lofoten and the main land.
I was hoping for clear, crisp weather and maybe a combined northern lights shots and a meteor from the Draconids – wich is the hot topic in tonight’s sky. I saw three really nice shooting stars, but ales, didn’t capture them. I would probably have caught some more, if it wasn’t for the clouds. I caught a few nice though! It was really the AHHHH!-moment of my Northern Lights watching career – but it was nice anyway.
At one point I managed to do a long exposure of Widerøe’s Flight WF855 (Dash 8-100) from Narvik taking off from Narvik Airport at 1010 pm (GMT+1). Funny how the landing lights and strobes made a nice pattern across the beautiful moonlit scene.
I reported on clear skies and a hope for northern light yesterday. And my dreams came through! Here is the first of the photos. It was a “flash” at the beginning of the show, and the reason why I picked this, is simply because of the really cool reflections in the fjord. This was taken at 20 seconds exposure, which makes it kind of blurry, but still it came out nice with a little adjustments for white balance.
Coming home from a late night meeting last night, I found the skies ablaze. And I was in a hurry with more pressing matters (hmm, is there any good reason not to look at auroras..?) So in a hurry I set up my tripod and camera. Unfortunately the tripod was a little wobbly in the snow and quite a few photos was a bit blurry, but a few turned out alright.
I just shot this photo of the evening sky above Narvik. Pastels all around with the mountains running like a white jagged edge throuh the landscape.
Narvik in between the showers this evening…
These days 16,300 troops from 14 nations are battling the cold climate of Northern-Norway in the biggest joint military exercise in ten years Operation Cold Response (well, the name says it all).
But they are battling a real, and very dangerous enemy. The 5. March 1986 a platoon of Engineers was working on a route for belt-vehicles through the Valley of Vassdalen. An avalanche started high in one of the mountain sides and came thundering down towards the soldiers.
I remember it like it was yesterday. My uncle – a police officer – was flown in with his service dog Arco, a highly trained avalanche rescue dog. They were in the middle of an exercise in Saltfjellet mountain region when the call came in. All day long an endless chain of hueys – Bell UH-1 – helicopters came from the valley, landed on the airport here, and then flew in again. After having spent several days without sleep, my uncle finally got som R&R.
I met him at the local police-station. Arco, his German Shepherd police dog just lay there, totally exhausted and my uncle was very worn. His face said it all. Digging all those victims out of the snow and seeing what terrible destiny had struck them down had, set a lifelong mark in my uncle. 16 soldiers were killed in that accident. The heaviest loss of Norwegian military personnel in peace-time.
And right now, 32,600 feet are really walking on eggshells. The Avalanche Warning is currently at its highest! Lots and lots of snow, combined with periods of mild weather earlier this month, and heavy winds, has set the scene for many new avalanches in the days to come. So I cross my fingers that the guys and girls out there tread lightly and stay away from the danger-areas. I am crossing my fingers that all the 32,600 coming into the area also will exit the area, unskaved, every last one of them.
You may not think too much about it, but almost every item you are in contact with every day, practically every second is impacted by one very essential thing: weather… Think about it, industry transport goods over the oceans or through the air. Maintaining a major road takes planning and is dependent on good weather forecasts. What is an almost dead-certain part of any news broadcast where ever you are on the planet? Weather forecasts… And the man that invented the science that makes modern, scientific weather forecasts possible, was the Norwegian Vilhelm Bjerknes. Until he did it, nobody thought it would be possible to predict weather with any accuracy.
In a country where you can always start a conversation with a chat about the weather – Norway – (we have a lot of it here) we celebrate the 150 year birthday of this remarkable man who contributed so much to making your modern, everyday-life possible!
Snow showers mixed with a little blue sky and sun paints some fantastic contrasts in the sky! This was taken on a stretched arm (we’re practically snowed in) out the door.
The snow has kept blowing in all day, but in the middle of the whiteout, there was a tiny hole of blue sky…
This HDR-photo is the result of playing with lights and shadows in various forms and presentations. It is great fun once you master it. The high dynamic range in these kind of photos brings out details you otherwise wouldn’t notice. The process is quite tedious though. First I shoot 7 RAW images. Then I use my own recipe on these photos through Canon Digital Photo Professional and batch process them into jpegs. Then they are processed in an HDR-system and that’s where the real magic happens. All the over- and underexposed pictures are sandwiched together, making it possible to tinker with a huge range of settings. Finally, when the tinkering is done and I find the result exciting, it is all processed into a single jpeg-file.
Here is today’s result. A quite mondane shot of the Narvik peninsula surrounded by the fjord and the mountains beneath a rugged sky with intermittent clouds. A “little” RAW and HDR processing, and voila! I hope you enjoy it as much as I do! If so, please hit the like buttons or write me a comment!