Norge ~ Finding the Light (Aurora Borealis)

Clearly we were seeking more than relaxation and expensive wine. The whole point of our little adventure was to witness the Aurora first hand. As I said previously Hurtigruten are so confident you will see the Aurora – they offer a weeks free holiday if you fail to see it. The weather in the early part of the trip was cloudy and frustrating, I was closely monitoring the weather and had convinced myself we were going to miss our chance. Then as we approached Havoysund Port on a clear starry night I got my first indication that tonight was going to be different. The temp was around Ms 8 minus windchill. As we sat in port bang the sky went mad, out came the tripod, ISO was set for 3200 and a 15 sec exposure at F4. After my first couple of shots I realised the only chance of capturing the aurora effectively was to be on land as the long exposure not only caught the wonderful colours but drew seagulls with stars from the ship movement (no matter how calm the sea). The first shot you see is what we saw in Havoysund, it was snatch shot as the Captain decide to depart port just as I was getting the hang of it (something to do with a schedule to keep). The challenges were obvious, loads of ambient light and movement, but I know you get the idea. I have not tweaked the colours at all in fact I had to reduce the highlights & clone out the wobbly stars.

First Light

We took lots more shots that night but from the deck of a moving ship – disappointment – that said we had both been told it’s not about capturing just absorb and value the chance to see the lights this freely. We had 3 straight nights of Aurora lasting about 2 hours each. We had learnt a huge amount about what settings to use; so I was ready when at midnight the following evening we sailed in to Tromso. I knew we would have 3 hours in port on a steady-ish platform. We had a view of the Arctic Cathedral which was going to be an excellent subject for some night photography. Anyway we docked up I hit the office and the light show begun – the next shots were my best auroras of the trip.

Tromso Artic Cathedral Lightshow

One final Aurora was taken using the relative steadiness of the lifeboat (moving in unison lol) – anyway I will return to Norway with this experience under my belt fly and drive next time so I ensure a steady shooting platform but either way it was a wonderful experience for Mandy and I.

Lifeboat Aurora

My Norway blogging is not complete – so keep watching 🙂


  1. All great but the middle has it for me, I once took a photo of them out of an aeroplane window, not easy.

      1. I got the flight crew to turn all the lights off and held a blanket over my head which helped a bit, they didn’t come out that clear but it was good enough to show the family.

  2. Although you may not have captured the phenomenon as you hoped, the memory will endure which is really most important. Your images are wonderful given the conditions, and I, too, look forward to more of these. It must be wonderful to witness the Aurora through your own eyes (and lense)!

    1. On land will never appear on the pamphlet – of that I am sure – also as you know you really don’t get sufficient time to get away from the ambient light in the towns – still magic though

  3. Wonderful stuff, Scott, I’m glad you and Mandy had such an good trip. You can’t beat seeing the aurora for yourself because, as good as photos are, you don’t get the swirling movement from them. You did a great job with these. Taking night shots is hard enough at the best of times, but from a moving ship is an enormous challenge. Glad to hear there are more Norway pics to come, I’m really enjoying them. 🙂

  4. Perhaps not precisely the perfect shot you desired, but enough to make me envious of seeing this wonder at all! Simply lovely.

    1. The thing is Gunta it was like shelling peas – put yourself on a solid platform with some lovely foreground and away you. With the ridiculous ISO on the modern digital cameras – wow – I will get the shot I want I have it planned already 🙂

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