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A week ago, we went on a short trip to Elvestua in indre Troms (inland from Tromsø). It takes about 1.5 hrs to drive, and then it’s a 2 km ski along a tractor road to the cabin. The cabin is quite old, but really cosy 🙂

Elvestua in indre Troms Real forest - we don't have much of this around Tromsø :)

Inside the door fishermen had drawn outlines of their catches – an impressive sight!

The cabin is used a lot by fishermen - and they have drawn their catches on the doors for years - impressive! The cosy cabin at night

Right below the cabin is Øvre Fjellfrøslombolaen, a small lake or rather, part of the river that flows out of the larger lake Fjellfrøsvatnet. Due to a stable high pressure over Finland/Russia, all of January had been cold and dry – some places even had 0.0 mm of precipitation all month! The lake was frozen solid, and we had good hopes that there would be good skating conditions – our reason for coming here. At first we walked around the small lake in front of the cabin for a bit.

Øvre Lombola, the lake/part of the river right below the cabin

It’s strange to walk over ice so clear that you can see the bottom, but it also made it very easy to see that the ice was more than thick enough to hold us.

Memories of autumn... The ice was so clear you could see the bottom of the lake

We thought we could follow the river upstream to the larger lake, but the fast-flowing river was open in lots of places, and it wasn’t easy to follow it on the banks, so instead we went there by ski’s, following the forest road that had been used by snow scooters.

Beautiful ice! I love photographing the patterns in the ice

Fjellfrøsvatnet looked beautiful…


Unfortunately it was very windy (and cold!) on the lake, and we also found that the ice was very uneven and bumpy – not that much fun to skate on actually.

The last light on Hahttagaisi / Hattavarre Paul on his skates

Still, the views were nice and we skated around for a while.

Find Paul...

That evening, the aurora put on quite a show – it was incredible to watch it reflected in the clear ice of the lake. What you can’t tell from the photos though, is that the wind was incredibly strong on the lake. Combined with the slippery ice, it would easily blow us along and it was hard to stop 😀 I had only my lightweight tripod with me, so you can imagine what happened to that 😉 – in the end we each held on to a leg of the tripod with our feet, while shielding the camera from the worst of the wind gusts with our bodies. Still, sometimes the wind would blow Paul, me AND the tripod along the ice – but luckily we did manage to get a couple of sharp photos 😀

A fantastic aurora show! The aurora got really bright... Lots of green bands

It was a great little trip, and we might come back to the cabin in summer 🙂

New Aurora Season

New Aurora Season

The aurora has been back for a while, but I hadn’t seen it yet. Last night I was about to go to bed, when I noticed it had finally cleared up. I could see some weak aurora towards the south, so I decided to go out for some photos. Quite exciting, as this was the first test of my new Canon 6D and my new wide angle lens (Canon 16-35mm f/2.8). It took some frustrating fiddling to get all the settings right (I haven’t taken night photos before with this camera or lens), but I have to say I’m very happy with the results!

It was a magical evening, the fjord was unusually calm which gave great reflections. The aurora was quite active at times, and I love the twilight blue sky (it doesn’t get totally dark here yet, even though these photos are taken between 01:15 and 01:45). A great start to the season 🙂

Aurora reflections This early in the season, it doesn't get completely dark - I love the colours of the sky :)

Green & blue beams above Tromsø island Two hearts :)

View towards Malangen There was some pink/purple aurora too Self portrait with the northern lights

Natt på Nattmålsfjellet

Natt på Nattmålsfjellet

Yesterday was a perfectly sunny day in Tromsø, but as a geeky photographer I decided to wait for the prettiest light around sunset. I chose Nattmålsfjellet as my goal for the evening/night: quite appropriate as the name means night-goal-mountain 🙂 it’s only 297 m high, but it has a fantastic view in all directions. I’ve been there once before, but that was in summer. I reached the top just after sunset (which was at 20:40!), with great views…

The view on the way up to Nattmålsfjellet, with Ersfjorden on the left and Kaldfjorden on the right The top of Nattmålsfjellet just after sunset

Especially the view towards Ersfjorden is beautiful. In the other direction you can see part of Tromsø island. The top was partly bare, partly covered in windblown snow ridges.

Ersfjorden Lots of windblown snow

A couple of reindeer kept me company for a while, and they didn’t seem bothered by my presence. They would sometimes look up when my camera was beeping, but they seemed too busy with their dinner to walk away. When I turned around, the lights had suddenly turned on in the city, what a view!

A reindeer searching for dinner View towards Kaldfjord/Eidkjosen and (in the background) Tromsø - so pretty to see all the lights far below

Towards Ersfjorden the moon was sinking and reflected in the fjord… I could hear the call of ptarmigans all around me – they have a very special sound which made the evening even more magical.

Self portrait with the moon The moon was sinking and reflected in the fjord

I was there for a couple of hours, enjoying the solitude and the views, taking lots of photos. Suddenly I heard voices… “Where is the top, where that man is?” “Yes, a scary man with a chainsaw!”. Erm? 😀 It turned out to be 3 British tourists with a guide, all on snowshoes. As soon as they reached the top, the guide made them dress in bright orange sleeping bags with only their heads and feet sticking out – they looked like Tibetan monks 😀 My solitude was broken, especially when they got out their iPhone and read aloud who liked their latest photo on Facebook… sigh.

View towards Kattfjordeidet, the road there has been closed for weeks because of a huge avalanche that went over the road, they still haven't finished clearing it up Night time panorama - you can see the crazy tourists in their orange sleeping bags in the middle

Just like the tourists and their guide, I was hoping for the northern lights to show up. A big show was expected that evening, and I figured it would be one of the last nights where it’s dark enough to see them – especially since the weather forecast for next week is rain, rain, rain. But when it got to half past midnight, without a single sign of the northern lights (quite rare!) I gave up and walked down. When I was almost back at the car, I suddenly noticed something green in the corner of my eye…

I almost missed it, but there it was: the northern lights!

It didn’t last long, and most of it was very weak, but it was a nice ending to my night hike. When I got home at 02:30 in the morning, dawn was breaking already… We’re approaching the midnight sun season rapidly, and even though that means no aurora for about 4 months, it’s so exciting. We still have a lot of snow, but spring is in the air and summer is on the way – I can’t wait 😀 (yes I know we are still far from summer but I always get impatient this time of year 😉 )