Thin clouds

When I go to find Northern lights I always try to find a place without any clouds. But sometimes it just isn’t possible. When there are clouds, I’m actually trying to make them a strong element in my photo.

Copyright: Thomas Kast

‘Wind’

I found this group of trees near Oulu about a year ago and finally the conditions were right to work with them. The tricky part was to get the right amount of trees inside the frame without cutting any of them badly. After many trials I finally found this composition here to work the best for me.

Thin clouds covered the sky and Northern lights were just strong enough to shimmer through them. Through the trees you can see the bright moon lighting up the clouds. The orange color was from some town lights nearby; I think this orange color goes quite well with the aurora green here.

From this trees I got more photos and I’ll post them later on. So now it’s time to search for new locations with nice tree formations.

 

Aurora Extremely normal

Same night, same light, a bit different mood and a few billions stars less. Compare it to yesterdays over-processed version and let me know your thoughts 🙂

Copyright: Thomas Kast

My ‘normal’ version

Aurora extreme

As I usually show almost always ‘real’ photos, today some of you might be in for a shock. I’d be VERY curious to know, what your thoughts and feelings are on this – good, bad, desaster, really, anything 🙂

As you know, with my photos I usually try to reproduce what I saw and felt at that moment. With auroras, the camera ‘sees’ the colors stronger than the human eye does and I often reduce the color saturation in post-processing. I often see aurora photos with extreme colors that are clearly changed (I don’t wanna say enhanced, sorry) with software and does not represent reality anymore. For me that is fine, as long as the photographer/artist is open and says that the photo has been altered. So far so good.

Now, I felt like experimenting and with one photo I decided to go to extremes with the settings. I wanted to find out what is possible and if I could possibly like what I would see.

After hours and hours, I found the result below most intriguing. To really see this, you have to click on it to see it with a darker background.

For me personally, this is post-processing art – not the art of photography as such anymore.

Copyright: Thomas Kast

Result after pushing post-processing to some limits

A little planet of the night

When waiting for auroras there is often time to try out some new things and here is one of them from a few nights back. This photo is a result of a 360-panorama all around me, processed with a computer program.

Copyright: Thomas Kast

citylights, trees, aurora, dawn

I was standing in a field with some trees around me and the sky was pretty much filled with thin clouds. On the left side you can see how city lights from far away illuminated the cloud cover. On the right side are auroras (green) and the light of dawn (light blue). At this time of the year, the sun doesn’t go far below the horizon, so the nights are not completely dark anymore. To give make this more clear, this photo series was captured between 1.45-1.50am in the middle of the night.

Here is also the panorama from which this little planet was done. Make sure you click on the images to see them in bigger size!

Copyright: Thomas Kast

Full 360° degree panorama

 

Evening sunset

Late evening sunsets are back here in Oulu. I love the colors they can bring out and also the reflections in the water. Seems I’m ready for summer!

Here a photo from last night. After I was having dinner with relatives I went to shoreline of the Baltic Sea. On the right side is a breakwater and if you look close, you can see a person standing there. I really liked to have one person in this photo looking at the same colorful sunset.

Copyright: Thomas Kast

An hour after sunset near Toppilansaari in Oulu, Finland

© Thomas Kast 2014

Season’s end? (aurora)

Every spring those of us who chase auroras fight a hopeless battle. A battle against growing daylight which cannot be won. Days are getting longer and eventually the midnight sun takes over every last bit of darkness.

I love summer nights too, the light and colors are so special – and it’s not cold either. Plus I’m really looking forward to more sleep. After being out so many nights throughout the winter, the last weeks were a bit of a stretch. Fatigue and sleepiness are on the daily menu and I look forward to a change of diet. Sweet, precious sleep without checking the webcams, going out one last time to see if there are auroras in the sky. Sounds like holiday, doesn’t it? 🙂

So last night I went to Haukipudas, Finland, trying to see one more time auroras and around the darkest point at 1.30am my eyes caught something very faint. The twilight was strong, so I had to take a test photo with my camera

Copyright: Thomas Kast

Aurora fades literally into the twilight

 

As you can see from this photo the aurora is barely visible above the horizon and also on the left (yes there is a bit). A stronger display would have pushed the lights higher into the darker part of the sky but soon that is no longer an option.

From my experience (and reading it once a long time ago), the sun should be about 10 degrees below the horizon. Tonight that will be between 11.30pm – 2.40am, so very little time. On April 30th will be the last chance with a very short time between 12.35am – 1.50am.

So, this is it – probably. Northern lights make room for Nightless nights. A deal I can agree to 🙂