Lucky aurora hunter

This happened in late December. Maybe because I was still worrying with my thesis, because I was sick and quite scared after that or whichever the reason, I missed to tell you about this other dream that turned into reality. Many months ago I told you about one but I must confess this is more important.

Almost unexpectedly we went to Kiruna. It had been a plan we had in the fridge but a friend coming to visit us insisted in going up there. So, we arranged quickly the tour with only one month in advance and it means that it was more expensive. The tour agency had this package with dog sledding, snow mobile, the Ice Hotel, a Sami hut and some other things. But our purpose was to try to see auroras (Northern lights, aurora borealis). And we succeeded.

IMG_3424DPI do not have a clear memory about when it became a dreamed travel but it was a long time ago. The first time we came to Sweden we had no chance to go to the north and I was already resigned that 2014 would not be the aurora year either. But it was. We stayed three nights in Kiruna and we were really lucky to see northern lights every night.

The first night there we were in the activity in the Sami hut near a frozen river. It was cloudy, extremely cloudy, and our guide was not really optimistic on our chance. But anyway, it is his task to keep looking upwards and keep the hope high as much as possible. He said that sometimes auroras are so strong that you can see the colors through the clouds. But it was not necessary. The sky opened and a couple of minutes later he saw something and he said: “The only way to confirm this is using the camera”. I assembled my camera and the tripod, took a 30 seconds exposure to that zone of the sky and in the camera screen we saw a weak but clear green strip. The northern lights were there! December 26th 2014 was the date. We had a 30 minutes show and the clouds covered again the sky.

I was happy taking pictures. I moved the tripod over the frozen lake and take many shots. “At least one of them should be good enough”. And I had my first learning: in those conditions it is common to have dew on the lens and it freezes quite quickly. So, all my fantastic first pictures were blurred. Here one of them:

IMG_3216DP

The second night we were in Kiruna, in the city. The light pollution is a big problem to see the aurora but I tried to find a quite dark place (anyway, the light from the city makes things very difficult). It was clearer than the night before but despite the forecast the show did not started. But hunting auroras is a matter of patience and “Viking resistance”. Finally, in the darker side of the sky, where the lights from the city affected the less, a faint green line appeared. The camera again confirmed it.

Pictures were better although not perfect. But as a friend told me, pictures will never, ever, reflect the real feeling of watching the northern lights. And this second night the show was also short.

The last night we had a 45 minutes wonderful show. We were extremely tired, in our way to our cabin. Anyhow, we checked the sky just to see what happened and found something that resembled that green faint line we saw the nights before. Of course, it was the most unforgettable night of these 15 months in Sweden.

Pictures are still imperfect (part of my camera not working well but mainly because of my inexperience). Here are some of them:

IMG_3383DP IMG_3390DP IMG_3410DP IMG_3424DP IMG_3440DP IMG_3451DPEdited 09 Feb: the frozen body water was not a lake but a river…

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