UCI Road World Championships 2017

Primož Roglič - Slovenian cyclist, Bergen, 2017

Primož Roglič, who came 2nd in today's Men Elite Individual Time Trial.

This week, the UCI Road World Championships 2017 are taking place here in Bergen, Norway. The city has really come to life, and the streets are filled with happy people, flags, and bicycles. The atmosphere is amazing, and I am so proud of my city for pulling this off. Most of the city center has been completely closed to traffic, and people are walking everywhere.

Even though this kind of sport photography is about as far from night photography as one can get, I decided to give it a try. Keeping in mind that I don't have a decent lens for this kind of photography, and that I've never done it before, I'm quite happy with the results. Not too shabby for a first-timer?

They went by so quickly, so not all of the photos are completely in focus, but look at those faces - they are so focused on what they are doing.

Photos From Last Friday

This past Friday was one of my favorite nights so far in 2017. The sky was clear, it wasn't too cold, and of course, the northern lights gave me a spectacular show.

And to the East, the moon was really beautiful as it came up over the horizon. It was huge, and had a nice warm hue.

It was such a wonderful start to the season for me. Fingers crossed for more clear nights with lots and lots of auroras.

When Can I See The Northern Lights?

People are quite surprised to hear that some of my photos are taken at the end of August or beginning of May, as they think it is something that only occurs during the winter.

The fact is, as long as there's a short period of complete darkness, there is a chance of seeing this beautiful natural phenomena. 

The polar lights, or aurora, are natural lights that you can see in the night sky in a band around Earth at around 10 to 20 degrees away from the geomagnetic poles. While the solar winds can disturb the magnetosphere at any time of the year, you will need a dark sky in order to see the aurora.

If you want a decent chance of seeing the northern lights, you will need to travel to a location within the auroral oval during the winter.

Anywhere from around October to April should give you enough of darkness to see northern lights. Do keep in mind that you'd get a longer period of darkness the closer it is to winter solstice (about December 21st).

Another thing you need to think about before planning a trip to see the northern lights, is the local weather conditions. You should see if there's a time during the winter where there's a bigger chance of clear skies.

And while I do hope you get a chance to see the aurora dance across the sky, you should always keep in mind that this is a natural phenomena.

There is no guarantee you will get to see it. I have spent many nights outside hoping for a flash of green in the horizon, but where Lady Aurora never showed up.

But there is so much beauty in the night, in the stars, the landscapes and the nature, so I never find it disappointing.

Video of the Aurora Australis taken by the crew of Expedition 28 
on board the International Space Station
This sequence of shots was taken September 17, 2011

Shooting Stars

Shooting star across the Milkyway - Bergen, Norway

Last night, while I was taking the dog out before bed, a big, bright shooting star flew across the sky.

Since I live in the city, with street lights all around, it's really rare that the shooting stars are bright enough to be seen. And this one made me really wish I had had my camera at the ready.

But even if I didn't get a picture of it, it did remind me of how I first got into northern light photography. It was quite by accident, as I didn't realize the aurora could be visible where I live. I always assumed I'd have to go up north to see them.

On a cold and clear December night almost 2 years ago, a friend and I decided to try getting some pictures of the The Geminids, an annual meteor shower that peaks around December 14th.

We had found a spot with a nice view to the south, but were a bit surprised to find other photographers there as well.

While not thinking too much of it, we pointed our cameras towards the southern sky, where the meteors were supposed to be visible. After a while did I turn around and look to the north, only to see this strange green "fog". And all the other photographers were busy taking pictures of said "fog".

That's when it hit me, that oh my, that green stuff that's dancing across the sky, that's the northern lights! I knew nothing about camera settings for getting decent aurora shots back then, so all my photos from that night were trash. 20 seconds exposure is normally NOT a good thing when trying to get nice pictures of the northern lights.

But I've learned a lot since that first accidental meeting with northern lights photography, and I'm still learning every single time I get to take pictures of this beautiful natural phenomena. 

And through this blog, I hope to share some of my photos, as well as what I've learned, both about northern light photography and night photography in general. If you'd like to see more of my pictures, remember to check out my Instagram account.

Northern Lights Resources

Northern lights above an old house in Norway
Northern lights in green and purple above an old house just north of Bergen, Norway.

Right now I almost feel like ripping my hair out, as the northern lights are going crazy, reaching as far south as Northern France, while the sky here is completely covered in clouds.

So instead of losing my mind, I decided to share a couple of my favorite aurora resources with you.

Just like with weather forecasts, we get aurora forecasts. They are not always 100% accurate, but at least they can give you an idea of when and where you can see the beautiful auroras dance across the sky.

My favorite is this website, aurora-service.eu. In addition to having a lot of information about the aurora and solar activity, it has a live forecast that tells you how far south you can except to see the northern lights at any given time.

And I also have an app on my phone, that gives me some of the same information. It's simply called Aurora. I use a Samsung phone, so I'm not sure this app works on iPhones.

Lastly, you should always have a decent weather forecast at hand, as all the aurora warnings in the world won't do you any good if the sky is cloudy.

I'll just keep my fingers crossed that the weather gods and Lady Aurora will be on the same page next time she's lighting up the sky.

Be Right Back!

One of the streets of Bergen, Norway at sunset.

The site is under reconstruction.
Please check back in a few days - or visit my Instagram to see some of my photos of northern lights, sunsets and some general night photography :)