Enjoy clicking rhythmically through the sequence of all sky images below to experience a video-like effect. A longer version of such a sequence will be developed into a time lapse video for a planetarium dome. It will take 120 images like this to make one minute of time-lapse video. [IMPORTANT NOTE: The forward arrow to the RIGHT of the image is a bit difficult to see, but it is there. Click on the arrow to advance the slides.]
Click on the arrow at right of the image above to advance the slides.
The slide show above is a sample from one of two sequences recorded using fish-eye lenses on the evening of 3-4 March out near the Finnish border. And unlike a couple of days ago, this time we actually INTENDED to be out that way (see Post 2) – the nearest place we could find with clear skies. As you click through the images watch for how the auroral light is sometimes reflected in a small patch of water in the foreground. So delightful! Given the aurora’s appearance, I’ve taken to calling this a Jelly-Fish-Eye sequence. Is it a reasonable likeness? For fun, check out this short video of a jellyfish swimming in the Baltic Sea (just south of here between Sweden and Finland) and see what YOU think.
Below is a link to a rough-cut offering a small taste of what a smooth time-lapse video will be like. Duke had to process the sequence of images and send away to a colleague back in Salt Lake in order to bring this to you via the blog. It is really important to choose a natural pacing for the lights, and this one is nice. It is probably even more realistic to move the frames a bit slower. Try to imagine sitting in a planetarium with this playing on the full dome overhead with some evocative music. Oh yes please!!!! Here is the sample time-lapse video.
Meanwhile, please do not forget that the unaided human eye cannot perceive all of what Duke’s camera reveals using 15-second integration times for each image (ISO 4000, f3.5 for the photographers out there). The integration time for a human eye is about 1/30th of a second. While this particular sequence was being recorded we did not perceive with our own eyes the full brightness and structure you see by toggling through the images. Nor is it possible to see the whole sky at once with the naked eye. In real time we generally witnessed a more faint and diffuse green light overhead with the slow rippling of vertical shafts of light near the horizon drawing most of our real-time attention. Truth be told, we were lucky to get ANY auroral images this night, and we had to travel far and wide to do it as you will learn below.
For this excursion, I (Cherilynn) enjoyed being the driver of our micro-Yaris rental car with its unfamiliar, six-speed stick-shift transmission (reverse in the upper left of the gear box). We drove a total of about 300 km, scouting new territory in daylight, and then scrambling for clear skies as the long Arctic twilight gave way to full up darkness. We were out from 1pm on the 3rd to 5am on the 4th – 16 hours!We began the day by venturing northward to explore the region around Dåfjord (click to enlarge map). The border with Finland is all the way down in the lower right of the map. The images you clicked through above come from a place about 10 minutes shy of this border on the Norway side – the nearest place we could find with clear skies. And of course, we encountered our infamous little stoplight again, this time making its picture (below). When the northern lights subsided, it was well after 1am, yet all of us expressed enthusiasm for driving onward into Finland – a place none of us had ever set foot. We did not go all the way to Kilpisjärvi (Point B on the map), but we did cross the border! The road sign Will and I are pointing out in the image below says “Suomi” — the Finnish word for Finland.
By the way, we are indeed managing to pack all the needed gear into our little car. This means four cameras with tripods and assorted lenses and filters, plus three sizable humans (Duke is 6-foot 6 inches tall), each outfitted with clothing for arctic climes plus food and drink.
Driving is quite different here in the far north of Norway. Many roads are narrow, with one-way bridges. Frost heaves and black ice are also common features because the roads generally wind around on the coastlines of islands with fjords or lakes on one side and steep rises to frosted rocky mountains on the other side. With the low winter sun, lots of road surface is in extended shadow, and in sunnier areas the cycles of freezing and thawing make it difficult to maintain a smooth road surface. Well…it’s a good thing our trusty micro-Yaris has studded snow tires, and that our drivers grew up on farms in the northern US driving stick-shift cars and tractors.
Roadsides here are also adorned with remarkable ice formations of all sizes and shapes. We spent more than an hour photographing the fractal forms of a spectacular frozen waterfall near Dåfjord before chasing hundreds of kilometers southeastward out from under cloud cover toward Finland to observe and record the aurora. At the end of this post is a slide show of images from the frozen waterfall, but first let’s review a few images to get the bigger picture of where we were situated. The photo below shows Dåfjord with lots of homes (no businesses) on the land jutting out into the fjord. Our frozen waterfall is across the fjord on the coastline in the left and center of the image. Driving down the hill toward Dåfjord gave us a close up (below) of thin ice on the water.Driving around the fjord (where you see the dark trees in the image above) puts us on a narrow road traveling to the right beneath the mountains in the image. The section of the road with our frozen waterfall is still further to the right beyond what is shown in the picture. From that far coast, looking back across Dåfjord, we see a lovely alpenglow on a snowy mountain top (below).Now for the promised slide show, offering you a deep dive into the glorious microcosm of our enchanting frozen waterfall. We hope you enjoy it.
And now for a bonus! Duke just delivered some images recorded by the second fish-eye camera he set up near the Finland border to get a different foreground. It too has a jellyfish-eye quality. And so with this all-sky sequence, Post 4 is finally Finnish-ed!