I become addicted to the Northern Lights since I've seen them the first time in my life in Porjus, Sweden 2013. Undoubtedly it's the most beautiful thing I've seen in my life. It kinda makes you shocked and speechless. You can never get enough of watching the beauty of the Lights. Despite the fact that outside is dark or frozen, you'll simply become numb to any other senses and troubles around yourself and you'll completely feel isolated and happy. It's an unfortunate that it can't be seen any time we want or anywhere we want.
I was lucky to see the Northern Lights (also known as "Aurora Borealis" or southern version "Aurora Australis") third year in a row. First Porjus and Kiruna, Sweden in 2013, secondly Skaftafell and Blue Lagoon, Iceland in 2014 and lastly Lyngen, Norway in 2015 and Alta, Norway in 2016. Below you can watch a 2 minutes long photo lapse of my photographs.
Here you can find some helpful links about the Northern Lights.
After Sweden and Iceland I chose Northern Norway as my next Northern Lights destination. I visited Tromsø in the first week of March, 2015. I stayed there and rented a car to travel around the city.
Tromsø is a small city so you can easily see the city in a day. However there are few museums so if you want to visit them all, it may take two days or more. Intercity transportation is very easy with city buses and most places are in walking distance.
Cloudy Tromsø at Night
When I was in Swedish Lapland people were telling me that the weather in Northern Norway are much more unstable because of close distance to sea. I knew that is bad for watching Northern Lights and it’s not always easy to run away from a bad weather system. The weather in Tromsø was very unstable during the period I stayed there. One day it was all foggy, next day all cloudy, next day clear but then mixed rain and snow started and so on. Was it cold? No. It’s certainly not that cold like Swedish Lapland. In fact the weather is like in Stockholm or Oslo. Much more calm and warmer but again people said that this year it wasn’t so cold at all. Maybe it’s a global thing because Arvidsjaur, Sweden wasn’t cold either.
I’ve been in Sweden in February 2013 for watching Northern Lights and other beauties of Winter. For that I crossed the line of North Pole and went to northernmost Sweden. It’s been really cold. Polar weather is very dry but at some point you realize that everything is freezing including yourself. It’s been a challenge for me also for my Photography equipment. Before I go to Sweden I red many articles about using DSLR in extreme cold conditions and how to capture Northern Lights in that condition. This article will be another guide you’re going to read before you use your DSLR in extreme cold conditions. I have few lessons learned, suggestions and tricks to share with you. I hope they will be useful to you.
My Photography Gear
I have two Pentax DSLR cameras. Pentax K-X and Pentax K30. Pentax K-X is 3 years old and has 10k shutter count. K30 is brand new. K-X doesn’t have a Weatherproof body. K30 is equipped with Weatherproof body and 18-55 mm kit lens. K-X runs with 4x AA size battery. K30 has Li-ion battery. My other lenses are Sigma 70-300 mm AF and SMC Pentax 50 mm MF. Max aperture of 50 mm lens is f/1.8 and 18-55 & 70-300 are f/3.5. Max aperture is very important for photographing Northern Lights but we’ll get that later. Don’t forget a dust blower, cleaning cloths, separate batteries and a good bag to keep your gear warm and safe. Here is the full list of my gear that I used in Sweden.