Snowy mountains in the blue hour

I’m lucky. The place where I shot this photo in yesterday mornings blue hour is less than 500 metres away. The snow here by the coast has melted away but as you can see the mountains are white now and probably will stay like this for many months.

When a boat take photos

One month ago I joined two whale watching boat tours to the sea round Skjervøy, one on 21 November, one on 27 November. Most of the time I was outside on deck to take photos.

Days were short and it became darker and darker soon. There are some options what you can do on a moving boat if you want to take photos but light is low. One of them is to use high ISO values. Depending on your camera this can result in a photo with a lot of noise.

Another one is to take your tripod with you and integrate the boats movements while taking photos with a long exposure. That’s what I did on the return passage of these boat trips. The exposure times of these photos lie between 10 and 13 seconds.

Two movements are caught in these photos. The large ones are created by the rolling and pitching of the boat. The small ones are caused by the vibrations of the motor.

While I mostly focussed on taking pictures to the side I almost skipped an interesting motive: the stern wave of the boat.

Some tips:

  • Use a telephoto lens. It will magnify the movements of the lights.
  • In wintertime take your warmest clothes with you. It can be colder on the boat than you might expect.
  • Avoid the bow of the ship when waves get higher to avoid your camera equipment and yourself being soaked by breaking waves.

Here is a set of images I made on two Hurtigruten journeys some years before. You see less vibration, since the Hurtigruten ships are much larger.

To the photo series “bevegelse” >

Aurora hunting – failing and cheating

It’s always the same: when you wake up in the night and see the polar lights illuminating the sky it doesn’t mean, that you can take good pictures of them. In the time you need to dress, take camera and tripod and walk outside to a nice place it’s likely that they disappear again. Polar lights are shy fellows.

Last night it was the same: I saw a nice aurora from my sleeping room. But when I arrived at the bay Telegrafbukta no distinct aurora was visible anymore.

Anyhow the sky looked a bit pale. Clouds or polar lights? Let’s take a handheld photo with a long exposure. Cl… …ick.

Yes. The sky is definitely green. I set up the tripod, configure the camera and wait.

Nothing happens.

So I start taking a long expose shot of the sea, the mountains and the lights of Kvaløysletta.

And you can see the polar lights, at least a bit. No surprise because I exposed the photo for 30 seconds with ISO 560 and an exposure of ƒ/3.2. That puts enough light onto the sensor to catch even faint polar lights that are hardly visible to the naked eye. So this is not really an aurora photo, it’s more cheating.

Before I went back to my bed I wanted to take at least one photo with some kind of a motive. It became a shed nearby, illuminated by the moon and again with a faint polar light in the background.

Today I have to go to bed early, I have to catch up on sleep.

Skelleftehamn at night?

No, Skelleftehamn in the afternoon. The days are short and it’s only four days left until winter solstice. So the bay Kallholmsfjärden is pitch black anyway – or better said, it would if it weren’t for Rönnskär, the industrial peninsula.

Chilly evening on Bastuholmen

Today we had the annual meeting with our association mörkrets och kylans glada vänner – “The happy friends of cold and darkness”. This year it took place on the island bastuholmen near Kåge. And while most others had a sauna and a winter bath – water temperature: 5.6 °C – after the meeting, I preferred to sit at the fire with a good friend. I was quite glad about my warm jacket that protected me against the chilly wind. The first cooler days after after a warm September.

Yesterday I saw images of the first snow of the season in Kiruna. Today we talked about winter bath and and winter swim. Now I really start longing for winter – my favourite season – and the first snow.