I got a set of graduated neutral density filters as a Christmas present, and have been waiting for a chance to try them out. These filters can be used to take photos in situations where (for example) the foreground is dark, while the sky is much brighter. Without a filter, this usually results in either an overexposed sky or a underexposed foreground. Today just after sunset, we drove to Langnes, the area near the airport. It was fun to play with the filters!
With the filters, you can take much longer exposures than you normally can, which is quite fun at the coast – you can blur out the movement of the water.
Of course I also had to get some photos of my favourite cabin 🙂 I did use the filter here, but the sky was still too bright relative to the foreground. Another trick you can use then, is to take several images with different exposures and combine them into one image later. For the images below, I used 4 exposures to get one image.
As you can see, there’s hardly any snow left! But I’m not complaining, we’ve had about 10 days with beautiful clear weather now, which is really nice 🙂
Between all the aurora watching, we also found time for skating. Paul bought some skates and he was very keen to try them. On Sunday we got a text message from a friend who lives on the shore of Ramfjorden, to tell us the ice was safe and there was very little snow – good skating conditions! I had a day off on Monday, and the weather was good, so off we went…
I had never skated on sea ice before, it’s a bit more challenging as the surface is not very smooth. We had a lot of fun though. We skated about 8 km, and got quite sore feet… we obviously need a bit more practice 😉
My new SLR camera can also take videos at very high resolution, something I hadn’t actually tried yet. We shot a few videos, and Paul edited them together to this nice movie:
What a nice day! The skating season is very short here, as once the snow comes you won’t be able to skate anymore. We’ve had a few snowfalls this winter, but we keep having periods with very mild temperatures which melts it all away. And what didn’t melt, will blow away in the strong winds we’re having. Oh well, by the end of April I’ll be cursing the snow, so I shouldn’t complain 😉
The northern lights have been extremely active, and I went out to watch them last Friday, Saturday and Sunday night, usually staying up until 4 in the morning. On Monday I needed a break, but when they forecasted an extreme aurora event last night, I knew I couldn’t stay home! I convinced Paul to come with me, luring him with promises of “the best aurora since 2003″… We left the house at 19:00, with very bright auroras dancing overhead. Even with all the city lights, I could watch them from the car, and it was so impressive. It took us a while to find a good place to take photos – and guess what, the northern lights were completely gone by then…
Eelke en Roy soon joined us, and we sat up a nice tea party on some deserted parking place in a valley not far from Tromsø. It was really dark there, and we impatiently waited for the lights to come back. And we waited… and waited… and waited… and we got very cold feet. We started taking silly photos to entertain ourselves…
After 2 hours of hopefully watching the vague green glow on the horizon, we decided to give up and go home. After about 10 minutes of driving, the sky was suddenly filled with auroras again 😀 We quickly stopped at a nearby beach and gazed in amazement at the aurora dancing and moving and twirling very brightly, all over the sky. So impressive!
There were a few clouds around, sometimes obscuring the northern lights, but I think they also add some depth to the images.
We spent about an hour on the beach. On the way back, the northern lights kept dancing around, and we had another quick photostop at Telegrafbukta for some final photos.
After so many nights with very little sleep, I’m happy the northern lights are taking a break. But even if they were disco-dancing in all the colours of the rainbow, I would stay at home tonight. Or would I? 🙂
This weekend was filled with northern lights! Yesterday they showed up as soon as it was dark enough, and continued almost all night. I braved the cold wind for a couple of hours, and made this time lapse video. It consists of 367 images taken over about 2.5 hours, each image an exposure of 20 seconds. Enjoy! 🙂
(For best viewing, choose HD and watch fullscreen!)