Christmas trees, cats and the auroras

December 16, 2012  •  Leave a Comment
So the Christmas tree is up and our 1 year old cat has decided to take up residence in the tree yet again. He did exactly the same last year as well when he was literally a kitten only a few weeks old. I am praying he grows out of this as he gets older before his causes untold damage either to the tree, house but more importantly himself as he loves to chew the cables for the led lights.



I have been posting over the weekend on the Tromso forum on Tripadvisor and there are some really interesting threads there about the impact of moonlight and the auroras when taking photographs. I, like a number of other photographers who have posted, don't/didn't find bright moonlight an issue and believe that this only serves to enhance the image. I can appreciate if the auroras are weak then bright moonlight will only serve to over power and weaken there impact. Tromso though is so far inside the arctic circle that any auroras seem to be strong enough to overcome this. Either that or as a photographer you learn to adapt and to be mobile and that is most definitely a huge advantage. 

One thing we learnt this year is that whilst it maybe cloudy and horrible in one place you can literally drive around the side of fjord to another place just 10 minutes away and you will be treated to clear skies. Hence I would definitely recommend hiring a car if you go. One word of warning to UK drivers, you are literally driving on snow or perma ice or sometimes slush depending on the weather which is something we really don't experience here at home. That's fine, until you remember that the excess on your car hire for any damage to the vehicle including the underneath of it will cost you the princely sum of £1000! This year we will be taking out car hire excess insurance before we go which is around £40-£60 per annum and covers this cost. We will also be hiring a 4x4 as well as two wheel drive isn't really suitable even with snow tyres on the car.

One evening when we were photographing the auroras on the hill just overlooking Ersfjordbotn I had the enjoyable company of talking to a professional photographer called Bjørn Jørgensen who was also there. Bjørn is a very friendly and knowledgeable photographer and a real wealth of useful information as he lives very close by and makes a living from selling his images of the auroras. He has his own website that can be found here http://www.arcticphoto.no  I Googled him this weekend in preparation of returning to Ersfjordbotn and was pleased to see he has a new DVD out. I am not sure what it is like, but I would expect that it would certainly be worth the investment for anyone interested.

One slightly disappointing fact I also found out this weekend is that the Rica hotel in Tromso is offering evening trips to Ersfjordbotn this season to see the auroras so maybe it wont be as peaceful and quiet as February 2012. Just to give you an idea of costs though the charge for the trip taking into account  Ersfjordbotn is only 19km from Tromso is around £100 per person! I am just glad we are based there and so can make the most of the location and if the weather dictates we go elsewhere then so be it. Mother Nature makes up her own mind and we just have to follow her lead, but then that is half the fun of chasing the light as if we saw the auroras every night I am sure we would just tend to take them for granted rather than standing in awe at what we see.



So I have finished tonight with an image captured in February of the auroras and bright moonlight to me this isn't an issue, others may disagree, but as photographers know it is all subjective as to whether you think moonlight spoils the image or not. I know me feelings and that of others, each to their own though.



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