Northern lights Abisko
This year I wanted to do a lot more micro adventures to rediscover beautiful nature closer to home.
One idea I had this winter was to photograph northern lights. In the spirit of my new years resolution of micro adventures, I did travel to a somewhat remote national park close to Uppsala to photograph the Aurora borealis, or northern lights. I did manage to get some green streaks in the sky, but nothing super spectacular. So…this trip might be somewhat of a stretch of my goal for 2018….but…instead of going to Iceland or Svalbard or the Faroe Islands to photograph northern lights, I decided to travel to the closest place I could think of – Abisko! Which also happens to be one of the best places in the world for experiencing the northern lights.
I had a simple plan. Bring everything I need for a few days in the field. Ski south from Abisko Tourist station up the mountain and turn back when all my camera batteries are empty. That’s pretty much what I did. I loaded my expeditionsled with my tent, sleeping bags, reindeer hide, food for a week, lots of clothes and my camera gear. On my back I had my trusty Tor Backpack with my down jacket, snacks and other items I would need during the day, while skiing.
Photographing in the winter is a challenge. Doing it while on a back country camping-trip, north of the arctic circle, is really a challenge.
For the next couple of days I explored the area south of Abisko. The temperature was about -25C degrees at night, and almost as cold during the days. I was pretty lucky with the weather. Mostly no wind at all and a clear blue sky. From a photographers perspective I missed some dramatic clouds in the sky. Especially during sunrise and sunset.
While skiing I wore my Brage jacket and it performed like a champ! I love the high collar, the hood, snug fit and yet the ease of movement. For pants I brought the Rimfaxe pants. Let me tell you, these pants are a beast! I really appreciated the suspenders, the high waist, the big pockets, the reinforcements at the right places and all the small, but significant, details. One nice and surprising discovery was the silence of the fabric while skiing and walking.
Night sky photography is either slow and boring or fast and exhilarating. You wait and wait in the cold and the dark. All of a sudden a streak of green appears on the sky. Suddenly it flares up, and before you know it, the whole sky is on engulfed in green flames. It’s a real rush and you don’t know whether to just stand still and enjoy the show, or focus on your camera, getting the focus right, getting the settings right. As a photographer I tend to experience nature through my lens. But sometimes it’s nice to stop hunting for new angels and compositions, and just enjoy the moment, take a mental picture, and realize that you are witnessing something amazing.
Nature is freaking awesome. Lets take better care of it.