Last night I went out to check out some new spots and just as I drove away I saw strong auroras in the sky. It took a strong mindset not to go to some well-known spots and so I kept on driving. After a while the lights got very intense. At that point I was surrounded by lots of light polution and in front of me was a huge, very slow truck. No panic, I told myself. You’ve seen so many auroras and even this might be the last night of the season it really doesn’t matter. Eventually the truck took a turn and I entered the ‘middle-of-nowhere’ area. I pulled over and had a look outside. Still some aurora activity, so I made my way through the forest and found a wonderful river view. If you look closely, you will find the moon peeking through the trees :)
Exactly two years after a wondeful aurora night, I was lucky to witness another huge night on March 17, 2015. A long-time medium solar flare sparked the strongest geomagnetic storm since many years. Very colorful auroras not only to the skies of Northern countries. It reached far South and was observed even in the Alps. Here some photos I took near Haukipudas, Finland.
For the last three nights many people were awaiting some wonderful auroras, because the sun has been very active. After two so-so weak aurora nights, yesterday we got a great show.
I was in my car looking for some new locations when I saw the skies go nuts. There was no time to waste and I just pulled over. Not happy with the location, the Northern lights made up for it big time. It was absolutely amazing seeing the red needles reach ever so high into the sky.
Now it’s time to re-charge the batteries, another clear night ahead!
Skies have cleared up here in Oulu and I went out to an open field North of Oulu. Auroras were dancing there and my camera as well; it was very windy. Right above me I noticed this bright band of auroras building, or so I thought.. It got quickly brighter and I hurried to take the photo below. In the end it turned out to be ‘just’ a long cloud illuminated by the Full Moon. Yet another photo of my favorite color combination: Green-white-blue! Have a great start into the week :)
Seeing aurora borealis is a waiting game, I keep mentioning this over and over it seems. And two nights ago it couldn’t have been more true. I went to a river near Oulu and when I arrived the moon light was so bright, I didn’t notice that faint bow of green in the sky. Once my eyes got used to the darkness I saw it. An hour later the bow didn’t move much at all and still looked like this:
Happy with that sight, I explored the area, trying to keep my feet dry and at the same time keeping an eye on that faint arc. You just never know..
For the next two hours there was hardly any change and so I could enjoy the scenery dipped in moonlight. When the time was closing in to 1am, I ‘discussed’ with myself to stay or go home. The next day I had to work and so my (really boring) common sense made its decision. I started to pack up while that bow was just a tiny bit stronger. It didn’t seem that anything would happen soon, so I reached to remove my camera from the tripod.
It was then when the sky went nuts. Suddenly there were multiple strong bows, very bright. Countless needles danced at a breathtaking speed.. left, right, high up, near the horizon, Boom! Adrenaline kicked in big time. My heart was racing while my eyes tried to capture every movement of the auroras. They got so strong that I could see purple color dancing in the sky and somehow the corner of my eyes noticed the reflections in the water. It was such a rush seeing so many things in a short time!
And then… stop! A few minutes later the sky went quiet again, just like that in seconds. There it was, that faint arc posing innocent as if nothing has happened.
It’s nights like these which keep me waiting and waiting. Keep me going out again and again to see those magical lights – faint or furious. Often that faint bow won’t light up much or bring a much smaller show – but that’s just it. You never know when what will happen. So you better be out there at that very right moment when something subtle turns into something spectacular.
The past weeks have been crazy and finally I’m back posting on the blog. I’ve been a few weeks in Hetta guiding groups and planning. The landscapes were pure magic. Here are a few photos from one night when I took my group up a hill in hope for Northern lights. We didn’t find auroras but seriously, no-one really missed them in this dream-come-true scenery!