Worldwide Travellers: My experience of the Northern Lights in Lapland

The Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis) is one of the world´s most overwhelming phenomena that you can experience. If you only go to a Scandinavian country in order to contemplate the Aurora, you adventure can become a gamble. This colourful spectacle depends on many factors such as cold, season, clear skies, and solar activity.

I started a four days adventure in the month of February in the small village of Ivalo, Finland. My travelling package included flight, accommodation, winter clothing, two nights chasing the Aurora, and a husky safari.
The first two nights, I went with a guide to hunt the Northern Lights. My guide drove my group to the border with Russia in front of a lake. Halfway, we stopped to take a test shot with the camera (you need to set the camera to bulb, focus on infinite, and leave a long exposure) in order to check any signs of Aurora.

Aurora Borealis Russian Border

Aurora Borealis Russian Border

We pulled over the van near the lake and I started to feel the severe temperatures (-20 degrees) on my body extremities. The sky was cloud and we tried to keep warm drinking hot Finnish fruit juices and returning inside the van every 30 minutes.
After a couple of hours, the cameras started to capture lights of Aurora although they were quite weak to be seen by the human eye. The following night, we went to the same spot with a little improvement regarding weather conditions. The cameras certainly obtained good pictures, but it was still difficult to see the Northern Lights clearly.

The next day, I rode in a sleigh pulled by six huskies on safari for three hours, crossing frozen rives and snow-covered forests. Huskies can cover 80 km per day reaching an average speed of 15 km per hour depending on the paths. The sleigh is easy to control: if you leave your legs on the foot boards, the huskies start running; if you put all your weight on the claw brake, then the huskies slow down until the sleigh stops.
In open field you leave the huskies freedom to run, but in the hills and downside slopes, you need to break sometimes and moderate the speed keeping the safety distance with others sleigh. If you do not hold the handle bar strongly when the huskies run, you can fall off and leave the sleigh without control.

Huskies

Huskies resting on the snow

That evening I went after dinner outside my cottage accommodation to take a test shot. Weather conditions were good -30 degrees, clear sky, stars shining and optimism. On my camera display, I saw green lines and strong signs of Aurora.

After a couple of hours waiting, finally the Northern Lights started to play on the sky showing its colours: green, red and yellow. Meanwhile, the huskies began to howl at the back of the cottage. Witnessing this amazing phenomenon of colours and movements is overwhelming. You feel like you are being taken to a magic world. On my following night, I was lucky again and I saw the Aurora´s dancing from my accommodation even with more intensity. Here is my video about this experience.

Tips: Research all information possible before taking this trip to maximise your chances to see the Northern Lights. A good camera DSLR, three batteries, tripod and remote shutter are essential to take good pictures and ensure you create unforgettable memories that will last a lifetime.

PS: I got the inspiration to write up this article through the international blogger contest “Traveller Worldwide” from Creativelena. Check it out here!

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#CTC13 “Capture the Colour” competition by #Travelsupermarket

I am looking for pictures through my 100 folders to participate in a photography competition. The closing date for submission is 9 October, 2013. Fortunately, I have a few hours before the deadline. The competition will be hard as there are many good bloggers publishing pictures, but I will give my best shot.

#Travelsupermarket has launched a photography competition called Capture the ColourTwitter (#CTC13)  where bloggers have to showcase their best shots in five categories: Blue, Red, Yellow, Green, and White.

The last year competition more than 3,000 pictures were submitted making judge´s decisions tougher.  There is one judge for each colour: Yellow (Ken, kenkaminesky.com); Red (Abi, insidethetravellab.com); Green (Dave & Deb, theplanetd.com); White (Christine, almostfearless.com); Blue (Daniel, canvas-of-light.com).

The winner will receive a £3,000 travel fund and the category winners can choose from 128 GB Ipad, Fujifilm Digital Camera Kit and £750 to spend with Arc’teryx.

Blue for a new world

I was in St. Michael, Cornwall (The U.K.) taking this shot that moves you from Earth to a new world. The rock in the middle of the beach seems like a path to a different planet, where you can observe the blue sea with the contrast of the blue colour sky (yes, sometimes The U.K. has good weather and lovely landscape).

St.Michael (Cornwall, UK)

St.Michael (Cornwall, UK)

Catchy red doors

Red district, magic mushrooms and joints to smoke in coffee shops. Yes, this picture was taken in Amsterdam (Netherlands), but I wasn´t under any hallucinogen substances for this shot. I was in a boat trip exploring the channels of Amsterdam and their buildings with its idiosyncrasy and colours. The houses and buildings take you back in time.

Red doors building

Red doors building, Amsterdam

Yellow hot air balloon

This picture relates my first trip on a hot air balloon. I was nervous at the beginning as I didn´t know if I would cope with the heights (it seems scary once you are there). I was in Cardedeu, 30 minutes away from Barcelona. I had clear sky having the change to admire Montserrat peaks, Barcelona itself and the Mediterranean Sea from bird eye view.

Hot Air Balloon in Carcadeu, Barcelona

Hot Air Balloon in Carcadeu, Barcelona

 Green Aurora Borealis

Taking a shot of the Aurora Borealis (also known as the Northern Lights) is a dream come true. I went to Ivalo, (Finland) this February and my holiday gamble paid off as I saw on three consecutive nights the Northern Lights. You need clear skies at night and plenty of electrons activity toward the magnetic fields. The weather was -30 degrees but it did not matter as I saw those green lights showing up and dancing on the sky.

Aurora Borealis dancing in Ivalo, Finland

Aurora Borealis dancing in Ivalo, Finland

 White Vejer de la Frontera

When we talk about white colour, the first thing that comes to my mind is the white villages of the Cadiz province (Spain). Vejer de la Frontera is considered one the most beautiful white villages of Europe. The contrast between the houses of Vejer and the sky is extraordinary. Vejer´s council oblige its citizens to keep white their houses. This picture of Vejer shows the main characteristic of this village: peace, relax and a perfect place to run away from the big cities.

White houses in Vejer de la Frontera, Cadiz (Spain)

White houses in Vejer de la Frontera, Cadiz (Spain)

My showcase pictures are chosen, but as part of the competition “Capture the Colour”, I need to choose 5 travel bloggers, so here is my list:

Elena Paschinger of Creativelena.com

Monika Fuchs of TravelworldOnline-Traveller.de

Sarah Lee of LiveShareTravel

Jack and Andy Motgomery of Buzz Trips

Stuart Foster of Go-Eat-Do