This image was taken during our December 2017 Northern lights photography tour to Norway, Finland and Sweden. We were travelling from Abisko in Sweden to Lofoten in Norway on a cloudy afternoon full of ice storms. This was the time of polar night, so it used to become complete dark by 4 pm. As we reached our final destination, which was Ramberg in Lofoten, the sky started opening up and Northern lights display started. We reached a place free of vehicles and city lights. Around that time we encountered the last light of Sun along with the Aurora, making it a magic in the sky. The image won second prize at the national level DJ Memorial photography contest 2018 in landscapes category.
Ever since I have been fascinated by travelling, I have been fascinating with the Nordic region – Iceland, Finland, Sweden, Norway. The thrill of scaling up to North pole, Igloos, Eskimos, sub-zero temperatures, icy winds, northern lights, glaciers and icebergs created a kind of utopia that I always dreamt of. Then as things started taking turn, I had to visit these places few times a year to conduct my photography teaching tours and now at Wild Voyager (www.wildvoyager.com) we have photo tours for Northern lights to these countries every winters. As I started travelling, some of the myths and fantasies cleared up, like visiting actual north pole is nearly impossible and it takes a long sledge expedition to reach there, the eskimos and igloos are only in some parts of Greenland which are difficult to access for normal tourists. Still that does not take away from the fact that the landscapes of these countries are unique in the true sense of word, and the weather can be very stark and unforgiving. These countries together record some of the lowest temperatures in world (in Laplands I have encountered -40 degrees) and these countries can often be extremely windy (so much so that it often shakes a car driving on the highway).
Some of the key highlights of this region for me are the Geysir and volcanic activities in Iceland, the fjords of Norway, the northern lights over Christmas trees in Laplands of Sweden and Finland, the Santa village and Reindeers in Rovaniemi, the Lofoten islands in Norway, the Jokulrsarlon glacier lagoon in Iceland to name a few. Each of them is characterised by an unique landscape and in my book is a must see for everyone in their lifetime.
Recently when the DJ Memorial landscape photography award was conferred on me, it was very special. To get award for landscape of a region I love visiting everytime meant a lot to me. This image was taken during our December 2017 Northern lights photography tour to Norway, Finland and Sweden. We were travelling from Abisko in Sweden to Lofoten in Norway on an cloudy afternoon full of ice storms. This was the time of polar night so it used to become complete dark by 4pm and daylight only meant faint twilight for 3-4 hours. As we reached our final destination, which was Ramberg in Lofoten the sky started opening up and Northern lights display started. We reached a place free of vehicles and city lights. Around that time we encountered the last light of Sun along with the Aurora, making it a magic in the sky.
Will talk a little technical now about the image and northern lights photography. Typically for northern lights photography, we need a strong foreground which is clear of artificial lighting to make powerful images. As a norm, in every place we stay, we scan around nearby locations which can be perfect for northern lights photography. For this image, the location was selected during the day and I liked the mountain ranges rising above each other. In terms of photography, the northern lights are long exposure shots on a tripod and going as wide as possible to cover the landscapes. I think what struck out to me in this winning image was the combination of northern lights with fading sunset and would like to thank the award organisers for choosing this image as a winning entry.