Two days on Senja for Northern Lights Photography
I started my trip to Norway with very little planned, knowing that I would need to travel around to find places with no cloud cover for Northern Lights photography. One adventure was over to Senja, which is less than 3 hours south and west of Tromsø. I booked an AirBnB in Finnsnes so I would not have to drive all the way home late at night. The night before this excursion, the shutter on my camera got stuck shut, and no amount of jiggling, pleading, or cursing could dislodge it, so my adventure actually began with a hour drive North to Tromsø to the mall to explore my camera options. There is a nice mall with free parking called the Jekta Storsenter, which has an electronics store called Elkjøp which happens to sell Sony Alpha cameras and also happened to have a good return policy. I purchased a new camera (ouch, but what else could I do, I was on this trip to do photography and that’s hard without a camera) and then drove over to Senja. Unexpected long day of driving, but the scenery is so nice, it hardly seems like a bother. I went out in search of aurora that night, and enjoyed some nice active ones, and then was treated to my first purple/red aurora, which were faint but the camera picked them up well.
On my second day, I drove around the island to see more of Senja, along the Senja National Tourist Route, which is open all year round. I noted some gorgeous spots that would be even more amazing with the sky alight with northern lights… and decided to wait until dark to see what unfolded. Predictions said Kp 3-4, and the sky was clear, so it was a matter of keeping myself warm and entertained for a few hours until the lights arrived. This is where Ovation is really useful, by the way. Kp numbers are nice, but you’re most interested in what’s going on locally rather than *somewhere*. There were a few hours where it was too dark to drive and appreciate the landscapes, and the lights weren’t out yet… so I hung out in a tiny town called Skaland that had a grocery store/gas station/post office (warm indoor space with a bathroom). Got a boller to eat (think cardamon brioche) and some yarn to play with. And then … off I went to find beauty in the sky…
I was not disappointed! There was a grand variety of shapes that night, shimmering curtains of light, dancing this way and that… sometimes a river of light cascading across the sky overhead, from horizon to horizon… sometimes swirls and whirls over the mountains.