Archive for November, 2012

Sunrise or sunset?

It might be mørketid (dark time) but the light is at its most beautiful at the moment. A sunrise that melts into a sunset, lasting for hours… It’s just beautiful, especially when you have the chance to go out and enjoy it 🙂

A boathouse on a cold day in Tromsø The view in the other direction (looking west) is pretty too!

Waves crashing over a rock - I almost got stuck on this rock because of the incoming tide! This photo is taken when the sun was at its highest point... but still below the horizon ;) soon the 'sunrise' will turn into a 'sunset'

I would almost say: my favourite time of year – but only when skies are clear. Mørketid is a lot less fun on cloudy days 😉

Whale Safari from Sommarøy

After our successful – but rather dark – whale safari last week, we were hungry for more! And we weren’t the only ones, so soon a plan was born: we rented a boat on Sunday. They were closed for the season, but still had 2 boats in the water and they kindly let us rent on of them. We went with my colleagues Gunnar, Trond and Nick. Sunday turned out to be a beautiful day, with very colourful skies…

View from Sommarøy towards Senja Leaving Sommarøy

The views towards HÃ¥ja and Sommarøy were breathtaking and I wouldn’t have cared if we didn’t find any whales: the views alone were worth it 🙂

Håja in the pre-sunrise glow Looking back at Sommarøy with Senja in the background

We found the whales soon after leaving Sommarøy though! Three of them started playing around the boat – at times they even touched the boat! It was awesome… a beautiful experience 🙂

Two whales were playing very close to our boat Whale & HÃ¥ja

Especially with the backdrops in that location…

Diving under Whale in front of Sommarøy

At some point they got bored of us, and left to check out the boat of some fellow whale watchers. There were lots of people on the water that day 🙂

Paul could get more detailed photos with his telezoom :) Two small lighthouses and a whale's tail :)

We drove around the fjord trying to find more whales, but they all seemed to be on their way out the fjord and we didn’t want to chase them too much.

One of the bridges to Sommarøy The sun was painting the mountain tops pink, it was such a spectacular scenery!

At some point Trond noted herring flying up from the surface, and soon after two whale heads came up right next to the boat – WOW! So far we never saw their heads, just fins and tails. It was really impressive, but it happened so quickly that nobody got a good photo of it. We were in very shallow and clear water here, and to our amazement one of the whales swam right underneath the boat. We could see him very well in the clear water – for a moment I was afraid he would get stuck underneath the boat! Or, I guess he wouldn’t get stuck as I suppose they can easily move the boat – luckily this didn’t happen 😉

Trond is smiling here, but what you can't see is that he's humming the JAWS theme song :D this was just after we saw a whale diving under the boat! Gunnar and Nick at sunset

As the skies turned pink, the whales kept playing around other boats near us.

Whale and pink skies The whales seemed to be very curious and were checking all the boats out

The light was getting dim though, so we decided to head back to Sommarøy. A huge flock of sea gulls flew overhead, hungry for herring I guess… a beautiful sight!

I love this photo, taken by Nick Hughes A huge flock of seagulls flew past - hungry for herring I guess ;)

One last photo of the sunset, and the moonrise back in Sommarøy…

Our view at sunset - it was getting quite dark, time to go home Moon rising from behind the mountains

What a day! With our memories (both digital and natural) filled with the fantastic experience, we headed to the local cafe for some warm food. A perfect day 🙂 I also took some video footage with my SLR…

 

On the same day, some people I know were out in Grøtfjorden where the whales were having a feeding frenzy. Check out these fantastic photos – even more amazing when you know they were taken from a kayak! Not always without danger, as you can see in this crazy video, taken in the same area some days ago – luckily all went well.

USA Adventure Part 6: Goblin Valley

After our hike in Little Wild Horse Canyon, we hurried to nearby Goblin Valley State Park. I found out about it by coincidence, and after seeing some fantastic photos of the park I was determined to add it to our itinerary 🙂 We got there just before sunset, the perfect time to walk around between the goblins. State parks are less strict than National Parks, and here you could walk wherever you wanted. You could even climb the goblins, though of course they didn’t recommend it – they can collapse quite easily and the nearest hospital is a LONG way away.

A goblin! They varied in size, but most are bigger than a person Rows of goblins, and in the mountain wall in the background you can see new generations of goblins...

The goblins are officially called hoodoos and are formed by weathering sandstone. The result is an endlessly fascinating landscape, I felt a bit like Alice in Wonderland wondering around some otherworldly landscape.

A Goblin-twin Incredible landscape!

Goblin Valley is remote, there are no villages or towns anywhere near. Around sunset, there was only a handfull of people wandering around, and in the end we even had the place to ourselves.

Some of the goblins looked like they were made of playdo Paul overlooking the Goblin Valley

The sunset was painting the goblins a deep orange, so pretty!

Goblins, goblins, goblins :D A fascinating landscape, painted deep orange by the sunset

There are a few nearly-dry creeks in the valley, some of them had beautifully cracked soil. We also found lots of these mini ant hills.

A mini ant hill - we saw lots of those in Utah Cracked soil

Here you can see one of the creeks, supporting a few flowering bushes.

There were a couple of nearly-dry streams that supported some flowering bushes Paul & The Goblins at sunset

We spent the night in a yurt at the Goblin Valley campground, which was a fantastic experience! There are two at the campground, and ours was separated from the rest of the campground by a high mountain wall. We felt completely alone there, but we had electricity, water, and a toilet nearby – luxury camping 😉 The stars were really amazing, we tried to take a startrail photo with our yurt in it. We didn’t know that you can’t just take such long exposures (more than 15 minutes) with a digital camera – the sensor will overheat resulting in hot pixels with strange colors. So the image below isn’t exactly noise free, but still, you get the idea… The last photo shows our yurt just after sunrise, so beautiful!

Startrails and our yurt... pity we didn't know that such long exposures don't work well with a digital camera! Our yurt in the morning light

I wish we could have stayed a couple more nights at the yurt, but it was only available for one night, and we were moving on to Capitol Reef the next day.

Mørketid is here…

Today we saw the sun for the very last time – for the coming two months it won’t come above the horizon. Last Saturday we ceremonially said goodbye to the sun by eating a mørketidsbolle (dark-time-doughnut) at the beach…

Goodbye sun!

The dark time does have its advantages though – plenty of opportunities for seeing the aurora! And the sad feeling of saying goodbye to the sun was soon forgotten this evening – we got quite a show…

Aurora from Ersfjordbotn Looking north from the foot of Store Blåmann

The aurora started as soon as it got dark, but I had to eat something before going out, and I left the house at 17:30. Some clouds were moving in from the south at Ersfjordbotn, so I moved to a place with a view to the north.

Rocks & Northern Lights At times the northern lights were brighter

There were some clouds here too, but it didn’t matter. I was fiddling with my camera trying to get a photo of a frozen puddle, when I happened to look behind me: WOW!!! The sky had gone crazy!

I was playing with the fisheye lens, trying to use a frozen pond as a foreground I turned around and suddenly the sky looked like THIS!

For a while, fast-moving aurora filled the whole sky – it was very impressive 🙂

Even the fisheye lens wasn't wide enough for capturing the bright active aurora A bright beam straight overhead

It calmed down again, and I decided to drive back towards Tromsø. I made another stop near HÃ¥køya, as I noticed the lights had started dancing again…

Aurora reflected in the fjord Trees and aurora, taken near Håkøya

And even though the show continued, I drove home for some hot chocolate and photo editing. I got back just after 21:00 – not bad! A great start to the mørketid, bring it on 😀