Senja island is located roughly 250km North of the Arctic Circle at 69 degrees of latitude North. It is home to some of the most spectacular northern lights on the planet because it lies right in the middle of the auroral oval, this donut-shaped ring around the poles of the Earth where the aurora is created. The 2018-2019 aurora season was no exception to the rule. Even if we are in a period of ‘low auroral activity’ because of our place in the solar activity cycle, we have had absolutely tremendous aurorae this season. All good things come to an end though. Believe it or not this short film was taken from April 1st till April 10th 2019, most of the shots from 11pm and 2:30am. In some sequences the moon was also setting over the mountains but you might wonder why the sky is so bright in the middle of the night!
It all has to do with Senja’s location in the world. It’s quite close to the North pole, which always tilts towards the Sun in the summer to offer 24/7 day light! Being within the Arctic Circle (67 degrees north) means that in the summer, people living exactly at the line get at least one night during which the Sun doesn’t set at all. Now being two degrees North of it, Senja gets one and a half months with the Sun always up day and night (roughly from late May till the beginning of July).
Night time offers complete darkness so it is of course the preferred condition to observe the aurora. During astronomical twilight you get a thin light on the horizon with a smooth orange gradient but most of the night sky remains very dark with a lot of stars and the milky way still visible thus allowing a very good view on the northern lights, should they appear. At nautical twilight the Sun is still below the horizon but starts getting higher and giving off more light. The brightest stars are still visible and you get a brighter twilight sky with beautiful colors. The aurora can still be viewed if it’s strong but it becomes washed out by the brightness of the surrounding sky. When the sun gets even closer up to the horizon the sky becomes too bright and you can kiss the aurora goodbye even if it’s up there in the sky! When the sun is up, just forget it and enjoy other activities!
The goal of this short film was to show Arctic Norway right at the close of aurora season. The colors brought by the continuous twilight during the few hours of solar midnight illuminate landscapes still covered in snow. From the cold fjords to the desolate plains, the northern lights still shine quite bright and reflect their lights. Take a deep breath and enjoy the last lights of the season while impatiently waiting for the new one!
All was shot with the Sony a7s and the Canon 6D Baader modified and a variety of bright lenses ranging from 14mm to 150mm. For motion control I used the Syrp 3-axis Genie I system and also the Vixen Polarie. All post production was made in Lr with the special timelapse plus plugin, Sequence for mac, TLDF, and final production was made in FCPX. I hope you like the movie as much as I liked shooting and processing it and I thank everyone of you for your support. All content is of course copyrighted AMP&F (except sountrack licensed through Epidemic Music), and no footage can be used in any way without the author’s permission. Please contact me for media and purchase inquiry. Please share and comment if you liked the video and follow me for more videos like this one! More at www.nightlightsfilms.com