Northern Lights in Lyngen, Norway

[February 2018]

My Lucky Transfer: Seeing the Northern Lights for the First Time:

Now. Let’s talk about the moment that mattered most.

During my transfer to the Lyngen Lodge, I kept my eyes on the sky. Suddenly I started mumbling about how that thing over the fjord looked like a worm-shaped cloud that wasn’t there a minute ago. My mumbling turned into a stutter as I realized it was the Northern Lights! Faint as it was, it was real.

600 meters later, we pulled over, got out of the car and the sky lit up and danced like I had only ever seen on screen. I smiled and bent over laughing with joy! I twirled in circles following its twists and turns. The busier it became, the more depth and density it seemed to have, like the clouds of a hurricane. As we pulled away, I continued to admire the routine and the way the lights displayed the mountains’ silhouettes. It followed us all the way to the lodge. I couldn’t have asked for a better welcome to Norway and it cured any resentment I felt about the cost of the private transfer.

I didn’t have my camera out, and even if I did, I wouldn’t have known how to capture what  I saw that night, and I’m glad I didn’t try. I ended up seeing the Northern Lights three nights in a row, the night of the transfer being the best by a long shot. I would have missed all of it if I was preoccupied by stumbling around with my camera settings. I won’t forget what I saw, though, and I’m thankful to have had that moment to myself.

My Pictures of the Northern Lights:

DSC_0941

On the second night, one of the staff members at the lodge helped me with my settings since I’d never done photography in the dark, let alone with the Northern Lights. I think the hardest part was getting a clear focus. The best shots I got were when the lights were bright enough to help me focus or when the moon was still out.

I use a Nikon D5200 with a tripod, but I only have the stock lens. I would recommend:

  • Having a wide angle lens, if possible.
  • Set your camera to manual, including the focus.
  • Play with your ISO settings.
  • Know your camera and study up so that you at least know where to start, because the lights can last hours or only minutes. You don’t want to spend the whole time cursing under your breath like I did at first.
  • Take as many pictures as you can.

 

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I loved being able to retreat into the Lodge to warm up if it was too cold outside, but then again, I would have enjoyed trying to get pictures from another location since the majority of my photos are of the same fjord and mountain. If you go to the lodge, hike up to their hut for another vantage point. I wish I had done at least that since we weren’t driving elsewhere.

We were very fortunate to have see the lights right from the lodge three nights in a row. You can’t always count on seeing them even just because you go to the Arctic Circle in the winter. I didn’t see them in Iceland, so I’m really thankful to have had such a magnificent experience in Norway.

It was funny how we were all like, “Yeah, yeah, more Northern Lights… Come get me if they are red or purple instead of green…” Clearly, we were really spoiled.

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