A dream came true: The Magical Aurora Borealis

lightcaptured
LightCaptured @lightcapturedOctober 2018 · 6 min read

Hi everyone!

I am sharing today a story about my first rendezvous with the magical Northern Lights, the Aurora Borealis.
Let's start with my most iconic photo from this planned photographic journey:

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The story, shortly:

  • Dreaming for three years
  • Polar Circle and freezing cold
  • A month of preparation
  • 6 flights
  • 1000 kilometers in northern Norway and Finland
  • 5 hours sleep and 19 hours chase, every day
  • Cheers with 10 years old Bulgarian brandy in the snowy Norwegian nights
  • A small fishing village with former school - inn for hungry souls
  • 9 photographers and 9 catches of the Aurora Borealis

Photographic expedition "Northern Lights" - My Travel Story


Have you been discussing dreams and wishes with your close friends, only to find out that they are mutually shared? That's right, a few years ago, at a photo soiree, talking with friends we found out that we have a common dream - to see and capture the magic of the Northern Lights...

The idea needed some time to mature and liiiittle more for good planning, organization and execution. On our way to accomplish the objective, which started to become more and more clear it appeared we attracted more and more people who love traveling and photography and with every new journey they want to develop their photographic skills and they do it.

We researched and chose the place - North Norway, the town of Tromsø. Near the Arctic Circle so we have a better chance to "catch" the Lights, and to enjoy the incredible beauty of Norway, in which afterwards I fell in love.

There was a lot of preparation - both in photographic aspects, and in terms of our travel gear - we all had to be ready for a long stay, outdoors in the freezing polar nights. A few weeks before our departure we had a meeting, over few drinks, of course ;), in which we discussed in detail these two aspects and shared experience and useful information.

There was some shopping involved as well. Clothing and accessories, cards and extra batteries, which are obligatory for prolonged shooting in the cold. Shortly after that we did a field, or more precisely speaking, an alpine test of our photo and travel gear by shooting stars and clouds during one of the few cold, windy and relatively clear nights at Vitosha Mountain in the early February, around midnight.

So, counting each of the remaining days, quite imperceptibly has come the so long awaited Saturday, February 13, when we flew to Copenhagen as an intermediate point of our journey. We only had time for a short, introductory-type stroll in the city, which we mainly spent in and on top of the Round Tower - an astronomical observatory. The views from the old building, which was constructed in a way so a horse-driven chariot could get to its top, were simply unique.

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Then, again, we went back to night mode and once equipped appropriately, we tried for the remaining short time to capture part of the night outlook of Copenhagen, and to make another rehearsal for success and durability for the expected night cold in Norway ;)

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Sunday, February 14 ... Exalted, more by our fantasies about the forthcoming than by Saint Valentine's day, we took off to Tromsø via Oslo. This flight was marked with an unpleasant surprise - it turns out that flying to Norway with a domestic flight change if you have a checked-in baggage, it must be taken from the band and then re-checked-in, thus you must go through security checks, etc.

This was very illogical and strange, and given we had only one hour at the Oslo airport to change flights and also the fact the flight from Copenhagen to Oslo was delayed with about 20 minutes, inevitably led to all our luggage being not with us at the final destination. Luckily we got all of it in Tromsø with the next flight, but we spent about two hours complaining at the airport and not to mention our frustration. However, with this small detour, all the logistical problems of our expedition ended! We took from the airport the van that we had rented in advance and after 20 minutes we were at the hotel.

Our enthusiasm was so strong that almost immediately we put on our warm clothes, hoisted the backpacks with photo equipment, jumped in the van and went to the first two planned coordinates where we made photos until about two o'clock in the morning.

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(The enchanted group)

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In Northern Norway the road cleaning is interesting and environmentally friendly - the road maintenance authorities do not throw chemicals on the roads, which are almost completely frozen. Instead, they throw small black pebbles that help melt the ice under the sun. Snow machines throw the snow on the side of the road when there is such, no matter the time of day. All the cars over there have tires with metal spikes.

Huge tunnels had been dug under the town and they not only provide a faster way to drive but also serve as parking places. An elegant and effective solution to create a place where the cars can sleep - it is spacious above the ground and the views are gorgeous, and also, in the morning one does not have to clean the snow accumulated on the car roofs during the snowy nights.

The next days and nights were filled with the sound of the horseshoes on the hundreds horses of our faithful car on the roads of Norway and one night to Finnish Lapland - the weather was not with us, the sky was pretty much covered with a huge cloud blanket that hid the stars and the Northern Lights from us.


There were moments in which small heavenly doors were opening above us and we were quickly jumping out of the car and with well trained motions, were setting up our tripods and necks up. Making photos or just enjoying the play of light.

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The days have passed too quickly and here we were again in the flying metal birds on our way back to Sofia. In Copenhagen, this time we managed to find a late night restaurant with Danish cuisine. We enjoyed the dishes we tried - vegetable soup, roasted duck, a wonderful dish with beef, mushrooms and small sausages and Danish beer turned out to be extremely pleasant and tasteful.

The next morning we flew from Copenhagen to Sofia, hugged each other at the airport and wished health until we saw each other again.

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Text and photos by Damian Hadjiyvanov, Light Captured.

No part of this travel story can be used without the author consent.


Check out my phlog: https://hadjiyvanov.com/ for more ;)

You could buy digital or printed copies of my photos from this online store: https://lightcaptured.picfair.com/

Became a patron of mine at: https://www.patreon.com/lightcaptured

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Written by:
lightcaptured

Visualist, Wexplorer, Phlogger Discord: lightcaptured#2698 #TravelPhotoContest Host


The preparation and all obstacles you've faced to get the Aurora are nothing to compare with the result, right? Wonderful pictures @lightcaptured 😉 sometimes I wonder what's the photographers gone through to be able to show us their great catches, now I understand it through your post which I find in @mmunited entry post in the pay it forward contest this week. I think that your story and pictures should've get more attention because this is a high quality content post that make steemit alive!


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You are right, @cicisaja, all the challenges were totally worthy :)
Thanks so much for the warm words, you've put a smile on my face! :)

Thinking about it, I could have made much more good photos of Aurora if I wasn't in the role of guide/driver/teacher/entertainer there :) Nevertheless, despite the suspense and few minor crises, I enjoyed every minute of this trip ;) And as you could imagine, I gained few new friends, which is priceless.

You could check out my latest, I would call it a story within a story of another magical place that I love:

https://travelfeed.io/travelfeed/@lightcaptured/photo-story-san-quirico-d-orcia

Happy Thursday and Steem on! :)


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But .. why don't you put any watermarks on the pictures above @lightcaptured? Don't you think some bad people could use it for other purposes without your permission?

Oh no.. is the small dot at the bottom right your signed symbol. 😊 thanks for the link😉 I'm going to enjoy the luxurious experience of yours for free😉 delightfully


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Yes, that's quite possible and has happened few times that I am aware of. Of course, I don't use the maximum quality and resolution in any social media as my photos are available for sale as well with print quality and big sizes ;)

I use a tiny version of my logo, because generally I think big signatures and text distract the attention from the picture which isn't my goal ;)

Please do enjoy my visuals, @cicisaja, you're more than welcome :)))


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Congratulations! Your high-quality travel content was selected by @travelfeed curator @for91days and earned you a reward, in form of a 100% upvote and a resteem. Your work really stands out! Your article now has a chance to get featured under the appropriate daily topic on our TravelFeed blog.
Thank you for being part of the TravelFeed community!

TravelFeed
TravelFeed

Learn more about our travel project on Steemit by clicking on the banner above and join our community on Discord


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It is my pleasure and delight for my eyes, thank you, @travelfeed & @for91days!
It seems I have to find the time to describe my newer travels as well, to Iceland, Malta and few trips to Italy, all for photographic purposes so guess if I made photos there ;)


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So ready for it!!!


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mmunited
mmunited @mmunitedOctober 2018

This is really great travel feed. I like to see this also. I can see your effort by reading your post. I would like to feature your post in #pifc contest.


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Thank you, @mmunited! It is totally worthy seeing it :)

I was not aware of #pifc so far, could you please point me to the best place to read more about it?

Cheers!


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mmunited
mmunited @mmunitedOctober 2018

You can see using this link: https://travelfeed.io/payitforward/@pifc/week-30-pay-it-forward-curation-contest-ccaaa7f562689est

This is a curation contest. So it is not like curie or C2. This is a weekly contest. Both of featured bloggers and curator will get 1 SBI share. Featured bloggers will get noticed from a lot of people.


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Seems great to me, please go ahead ;)
Thank you, @mmunited!


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I think all the prep was well worth it. You got some fantastic shots. That truly would be a trip of a lifetime. Thanks so much for sharing with us.
I found your post because it was featured by @mmunited in this weeks pay it forward curation contest.


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Thanks so much, @headchange!
#pifc is really a great idea and project, I am considering to participate as well ;)


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Wow, what an amazing experience! Thank you for sharing it with us!

I found you because @mmunited featured you in this week's Pay it Forward Curation Contest. Keep up the great work!


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Duuuude! These photos! We need to go up north again in the winter to get a full on Northern Lights encounter!


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Oooops :)
Hehe, thank you! I was going to say "Sorry!", but I'm not going to, because you deserve to see the Lights for yourselves :)))


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Gosh you must have been so thrilled comma especially as you had put so much work into planning it. I know people who have gone but didn't see the lights. It is certainly on many peoples bucket list. Your photos are fantastic. I have seen the southern lights here in 1993 but I am not sure I will ever get the opportunity to see the northern ones.


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Thank you, @riverflows! Good luck comes to those who are well prepared, they say. And there was really a big dose of luck! We spent in Northern Norway about a week, but the Lights could be photographed properly only in the first night. What's the feeling of the Southern Lights? I saw Aurora again in August, when on my photo-trip in Iceland and it was completely different, in colors, shapes and density...


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Isn't nature amazing? To see it twice and to see such variation you are truly blessed


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Indeed it is! It was a great and unexpected present, the second time I saw it. I felt really blessed, happy and lucky :)
I really should find some time to post a new story about my Iceland trip... :)


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A dream hope will come true also to me. Failed during my stay of some days in Lulea Sweden, some days in Tasmania (of course in the opposite period of the year) the next try will be in Canada living through a one year work permit hopefully. Great story and post!!!


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Thank you, @philfreetotravel! Seeing it and photographing it is such a complex combination of factors that persistence and preparation are hugely important, I believe ;)
Fingers crossed, I truly wish you to see it and feel it for yourself, waiting for your photos ;)


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Beautiful photos! I am happy for you to be able to experience this. Is that miracle happen every night or is it a specific window of time it occurs?


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Thank you, @alnedkov! :)
Aurora depends on so many factors that it isn't possible to predict it at 100%. There are certain apps that show the probability based on your location but speaking from my experience, they are not reliable at all ;)
Aurora could glow any night of the year in theory, but the best months to see the Northern Lights are October and November and then February and March. That's based on statistics collected for several years back.

I have to admit I saw it in the end of August during my photo trip in Iceland and it was an absolute surprise even to the Icelanders ;) I was there for 8 days and Aurora was on one night only.


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This is a trip that you will never forget. And I will never forget those photos. I'm sorry to hear that you had issues with luggage but you have luckily sorted that out.

I'm coming from a protected area in the East of Slovakia and we were also using black pebbles instead of chemicals. There is a huge dam with drinking water and for this reason no chemicals are allowed in the area.

Your photos are absolutely stunning! Two days is way to short to stay there. I can imagine being there every night :)

Thank you for sharing your work with us. I have enjoyed it a lot!


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Thank you, @delishtreats! You're absolutely right, I won't forget that :)
I'll probably tell that story to my grandchildren if the Big Boss above lets me :)))

Actually, we've been there for a week, but it was only two nights where we could see and photograph the Aurora, the first one with clear sky and temperatures of -15 ~ -20 degrees Celsius, and another night where clouds were breaking from time to time for very short periods... The rest of the days we've been traveling around Norway and Finland to find out a cloudless spot in the sky ;)

I would stay more, but the standard of living in Norway is very high, food and services were about twice the values I've seen even in Switzerland. So I simply could not afford to stay longer... :(

It is so good that you try to preserve the Nature in such a way... I have to admit, I've never been to Slovakia, where would you recommend me to go from a photo perspective? :)


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Twice the values in comparison to Switzerland? Wow! I live in Switzerland so I can't really imagine the prices in Norway then.. it's so expensive here!

The landscape in Slovakia is beautiful. You can go to any part of the country and easily find some beautiful places to photograph. I would avoid cities - there is not much to see.

If you want something special then I would go to the East. There is not such a high population and the conditions for stargazing are one of the best in the world. From sightseeing you could enjoy old wooden churches, fairy tale forests, beautiful lake and breathtaking landscape :) If you would ever plan to go there, just let me know and I will write down some places for you :)


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Wow, thanks so much, @delishtreads, now you really made me wanna go there! :))) When I start planning, I'll definitely get in touch!

Generally I avoid the big cities during my travels, but I have to admit I love taking some street photos from time to time ;)

Yes, it was indeed very expensive in Norway. Apart from the car fuel and the salmon, everything was bloody expensive for all of us. But still, totally worthy, isn't it? :D


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That would be so nice :) I will be happy to help you choose where you should go :)

Well, we don't really have big cities :D I think that the capital city has around 500,000 people if I'm not mistaken. But you can go to small towns. They are very charming :)

It was absolutely worth it, I must say :) Nothing can beat those photos of yours :)


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