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Author: Paul

Hyacinth time lapse

Hyacinth time lapse

Last week Hanneke bought some hyacinths in the supermarket. We took this timelapse video of 2 of them flowering – unfortunately the blue one decided to attack the pink one 😉 We set up the camera to take a photo every 10 minutes for about 2 days. The photos are played back at a rate of 15 images per second.

If we were to do this again, we would probably just choose one plant and hope it didn’t grow wonky!

Mørkeskiing

Mørkeskiing

Tromsø is now well into mørketid and only gets about four hours of twilight each day, but the city is looking good in the dark. Last week a lot of christmas lights and a huge christmas tree were put up in the centre. The christmas tree was delivered by helicopter and quite a few people squinted down the fjord in wonder as a black dot on the horizon slowly took the form of a flying tree and thundered overhead towards the big square. I think the tree is about six times as tall as Hanneke.

Tromsø Domkirke The flying christmas tree

I’m not usually very keen on getting up early in the morning, but it doesn’t feel good to get up late and realise that the daylight has already faded. For the second sunday in a row I managed to summon sufficient enthusiasm to throw my skies in the car and leave the house before sunrise – that might be a personal record. Unfortunately, getting up hideously early is pretty much required in order to do any significant skiing at the moment. Even with an early start I only had about 4 hours of daylight so I chose to ski up and down any easy hill that I know well called Rødtinden. It was rather cold and the snow was really icy until half way up, but the specular sunrise/sunset made up for that.

Tromsø and Håkøya from Rødtinden Store Blåman from Rødtinden

I was pursued up the mountain by a small and friendly dog which followed me so persistently that I began to ignore it. I was listening to loud music and I wasn’t really aware of its exact position, but it eventually dawned on me the the cheeky monster was standing on the back of skis and had been hitching a ride!!! Alas I couldn’t believe it!

I took this last picture looking westward from the beach near the Kvaløysletta ski centre on my way home. These mountains are all on the mainland and take a while to get to. A tunnel is currently under construction that will make them much more accessible though :-). I’m hoping that this year is going to be a good one for skiing, I recently acquired a brilliant book called Toppturer i Troms (Løp og kjøp!) which describes loads of great skiing routes around Tromsø and I’m itching to try some of them. Most will have to wait for longer days though…

The mountains of Malangen from Kvaløysletta

Above the clouds on Tinden

Above the clouds on Tinden

On July 1st the weather in Tromsø was grey and overcast. Hanneke and her colleague Trond were sitting in the meteorological office looking at a satellite image showing the sea of clouds when they noticed one dark pixel. That pixel was the top of Tromsdalstinden poking through the clouds. Almost since arriving in Tromsø I have dreamed about standing above the clouds on top of Tinden, but without a private meteorologist it was a difficult dream to realise. From Tromsø I could never see whether the top was above the cloud or just in the cloud. Today was my chance! So based on a single pixel I threw on some clothes, drove to the bottom of the mountain (instead of the office) and started climbing towards a layer of thick cloud and zero visibility. Hanneke and Trond thought the conditions might only last for a few hours, so I was against the clock. I left without breakfast and without charging the batteries for my GPS. A fist full of mars bars and a compass would have to do.

I headed to the top as fast as I could, but above 500 m I was  hindered by a lot by deep snow which was still on the ground. I thought I could walk around the few patches that remained in July, but they were much bigger than I thought. Trudging through snow in the cloud was not much fun. I began to worry that it would be in vain. I hoped I hadn’t taken a day off just to wander around on my own in a cloud!

At 1000 m I was beginning to lose faith in the pixel, when I noticed a strange phenomenon. Here in the mist, rocks felt really warm to the touch. They must have seen some sun not long ago!! I stepped up the pace, and a patch of blue sky began to emerge through the mist. The cloud top was very well defined when I crossed it – within a few steps the visibility went from zero to almost infinite! It was like putting my head above the surface of a swimming pool.

Panorama showing the clouds above Tromsdalstinden Panorama showing the clouds above Tromsdalstinden

Panorama showing the clouds above Tromsdalstinden Panorama showing the clouds above Tromsdalstinden

The pictures below show the view from the top, about 100 m above the clouds. The peaks in the distance are the Lyngen Alps. I spent more than two hours on the top enjoying the sunshine in a t-shirt.

Panorama showing the clouds above Tromsdalstinden Panorama showing the clouds above Tromsdalstinden

Panorama showing the clouds above Tromsdalstinden Panorama showing the clouds above Tromsdalstinden Panorama showing the clouds above Tromsdalstinden

Panorama showing the clouds above Tromsdalstinden Panorama showing the clouds above Tromsdalstinden

While on the top, I took this time-lapse video of the clouds sweeping past Tromsdalstinden. It was almost like standing on a ship and watching the waves roll past.

Just before I left another person emerged from the cloud below – he turned out to be a pilot who had seen the peak sticking out before landing in Tromsø.  He had literally run up there afterwards! Another pilot promised to try and take a photo of him on the summit. That would have been a cool picture – but just before the plane was due to take off, the cloud level rose, and we were surrounded by the whiteness again! Nevermind – we were content in the knowledge that we had stolen ourselves an extra day of sun!