Auroras have fascinated mankind since its early days. What did our ancestors think when they looked at the sky and saw the magical play of Northern Lights? Were they scared or did they just watch the show with amazement? I think the latter!
Nowadays, of course, we know a lot about this phenomenon, however, not everything. Statistically, there are more Auroras around the Autumn and Springs equinoxes than during the other months. Science does not give us exact answer. Still, each year we can expect more Auroras in September and in March in spring.
Knowing this, I already keep my equipment backpack ready, sitting in my Rovaniemi home on the evening of September the 7th 2015. All lenses and sensors checked and cleaned to capture every detail! My eyes glued to Aurora forecast sites and web-cameras of the night sky. There is only one problem – thick clouds. Normally, when the sky is cloudy it means a long awaited rest for an Aurora photographer. Now this night, however! I have a strong gut feeling that tonight could be something special.
Levi, there I go!
Quick weather search reveales that there might be an opening in the sky up north, in Levi Ski Resort – this one of my favorite destinations in whole Lapland! So, night drive it is!
It takes about 70 km to drive away form the clouds. The sky is opening up to show what’s in the offing. Auroras are clearly visible with the naked eye but the photo reveals that there’s actually green all over the sky! What a wonderful display! I continue my drive further north, but several times along the way the Auroras start blasting ahead with a force that I have rarely seen during my Aurora hunts. Brake-brake! Out-out! Hastily I pull my gear out to capture this:
Amazing! However, I need to go on. The goal is to get to a big body of water, because only in Autumn you can capture amazing reflections of Northern Lights. I know just such kind of place and this is the view that awaits me:
This is only half the sky! I Turn around and this is what I see! Colorful lights are coming from everywhere!
I keep shooting images for a couple of hours without interruption. Only constant clicking of my camera shutter can be heard – no one in sight to share this view with me. It’s time to change place and I pay a visit to the top of Levi mountain. I have been here many times doing alpine skiing in winter , so this place brings a lot of nice memories. It is 3AM, but the sky starts to turn bright in the anticipation of the sunrise that will come in a couple of hours.
Behind me the Auroras are literally dancing in the sky, shimmering quickly like dozens of splashes – one second it’s here, and then it’s gone, only to be followed by another splash. I have rarely seen them behave like that!
This has been truly a wonderful night! Well worth 360 km drive and staying up until morning. When I head home, I can still see some strong Auroras showing up occasionally, even though half of the sky is already bright. The urge to stop and shoot is strong, but I overpower it and continue driving. I know that I’ve made some superb pictures already and wish to get to my bed!
Back in Rovaniemi the Northern Lights show goes on!
During the next couple of days the show continues. The skies are all clear in my hometown of Rovaniemi, so I don’t have to go far way. The equinox Auroras are so strong, that they can be easily seen even in the city center!
Of course, they are better enjoyed in a dark place with no extra lighting. A shore of any river or lake presents such an opportunity. Third night in a row and amazing photos just keep on coming!
This week in September 2015 has been huge for Auroras! I never remember seeing so much powerful Northern Lights in such a short time!
By the way, you can join me and Lapland Safaris on a free Aurora Hunting trip 15–30.10.2015 in Rovaniemi, Lapland, Finland. Take part in our contest and you might be one of the lucky winners!
Read also the first part of my Aurora hunter blog on Lapland The Magazine!