Discover the northern Lights Photography tour


While on trip to Rovaniemi my wife booked a night time excursion “Discover the northern lights photography tour by Beyond Arctic”.

This was my first ever guided trip to see the Northern lights. Usually I guide myself. Or because of my location I open the front door and I setup my photography equipment.

Being that I was in a location that I had not pre scouted and had little experience in. A tour was a logical choice.

WHy a guided trip to hunt northern lights is advised.

  1. Safety
  2. Experience
  3. Local Knowledge
  4. “No Pressure”
  5. The right equipment
  6. A group of like minded people

7. Photographs….

A Logical choice that paid off

OK the trip cost…
I was not sponsored by the company to attend, even though it was tempting to ask for a discount because of this website and the 5.8k members in the northern lights group on FB that I started.

125€ is a lot of money. What i got for this fee was:

  • Pick up and drop off from the holiday village I was attending. (Check before booking if you are in Rovaniemi)
  • Warm Clothes. (Most sizes are available.) But I wore my own and I tested a new pair of wrist warmers.
  • A guide. Juhanni (excuse the spelling). A local with good knowledge of the area. Handy with a camera. Friendly. Talkative (rare for a Finn.)
  • Hot drink and some sausages for a typical birch wood open fire.
  • A trip of 4 locations but this could be different for you because it will change almost every trip. Weather being the key factor for locations.
  • Rally Mini Bus. Ok its not really a rally van but we drove according to the conditions and at speed (not to fast) and in a safe manner.
  • Some photographs.
  • Being with Like minded people! (2 South African ladies who live in Holland, 2 American ladies (Colorado I think.) 2 German ladies from Heidelberg.)
  • Extras – Camera gear rental (I did not need this but they are very nice Sony cameras with a wide Samyang lens.)

Location Location Location in Rovaniemi

Location 1: A nice river location would have been super cool (and cold) If we had Aurora at this time. But we spent time setting up cameras and we all got some pictures to remember of the trip taken.

Pretty epic looking photo of me!

Location 2: this was a picnic area I think. its hard to be 100% certain it was dark. We had snow. So we had a picture taken on the road! great fun. Just as we was getting in to the “Rally Mini Bus” The Green Lady appeared. Everyone got out and photography commenced.

Road photo beware of the cars! haha
KP 0 to Kp1

Location 3: Grill and wait. This was a lay-by near a lake according to Google maps. This was a great place to have hot fruit juice and a sausage. Waiting for the northern lights at Kp0 to Kp1 is tricky. Luckily I had my FB friends tracking the data and I had some alerts and warnings. Bingo! the lights turned on. We was photographed by “DISCOVER THE NORTHERN LIGHTS PHOTOGRAPHY TOUR”. We managed to photograph our own special pics.

Northern lights are which way?
Great night out!

Location 4: Was a pit-stop to see if anything was going to happen. Nothing did. To be honest we got very very lucky. But being so far north gave us an opportunity.


A good guide. Good locations. Safe. Good company.
Would I do it again? Yes. Why? Safety in numbers. No driving to worry about. Great locations. Guide was really knowledgeable and… (Don’t think I need to say this.. Maybe shout it.) I SAW THE NORTHERN LIGHTS!!

Thank you “DISCOVER THE NORTHERN LIGHTS PHOTOGRAPHY TOUR”! It was a great experience. Hope to visit Rovaniemi again in February or March!

Would you like the chance to see the Northern Lights in Rovaniemi? Follow this Link for a great service!

Not sure of what to wear check out How to survive the Northern Lights

Karesuando Skinner 80

Karesuando Skinner 80 is an amazing knife with an 8cm blade length. This was a made for a friend in Switzerland.
Check out Nathans – Youtube chanel.
I suggested this style of blade because it is very versatile for camping. Preparing game or vegetables. Whittling or other outdoor uses. They are reasonable in price. Easy to sharpen.

The pictures makes the project look quite fast, but I had to choose the wood. Or let the wood choose it’s self. Planning different styles or forms. Drying times and gluing. How much to keep or remove from the handle.
It was a great project to make and I hope this inspires you to try making a knife handle.

Karesuando Skinner 80 Gallery

Karesuando Skinner 80 Blank
Material selection
Cuts for the banding.
Dry fit.
Glued and clamped.

The main part of the handle is curly birch. This was sourced locally. The wood has been dried and stored for over 5 years.
The small dark piece against the edge of the blade was saved from scrap wood from a design school. So in my mind I have done the best I can to keep it local. Upcycling, recycling, re-purposing some things that might be binned or burnt.
The handle was sealed with bees wax and paraffin oil mix. This seals and weather proofs the handle. The same mix can be used on the leather sheath I made.

Back to Starter Projects. You can buy this blank form Brisa.

Starter Projects, Lauri Carbon 70, Chef 160, Karesuando Skinner 80

The workshop is starting to warm up so it is time for the inner artisan to begin some starter projects. Lauri Carbon 70, Karesuando Skinner 80 , Chef 160.

These are budget builds and they wont over stretch a budget.

Order. Order. Order.

Before you order price check. I will disclose that at least one of the blades is cheaper elsewhere.

starter projects - Lauri Carbon 70 -

Lauri Carbon 70

First impressions. A small blade. Buffing is a bit rough. Good quality. Interesting tip. Could be nice as part of a set for back packing.

about visit Brisa to buy this or get more details about the knife blank.

Lauri Carbon 70 - Leather and curly birch
Leather and curly birch.
Starter Projects - Karesuando Skinner 80

Karesuando Skinner 80

First impressions. Usable blade size not to small. Shiny, very shiny. Might modify the grind. Short and wide tang so it will be strong. I think it would look very good with a scandi grind.

about visit Brisa to buy this or get more details about the knife blank.

Starter projects - Chef 160

Chef 160

First impressions. Nice weight and length. Rather impressed. I think it will look great when its finished. Favourite out of the bunch.

about visit Brisa to buy this or get more details about the knife blank.

Chef 160 curly birch
Fitted with a curly birch handle.

Starter Projects – Knife handles

A nice package. That did not break the bank. I will create a page about each knifes workshop life. The Chef 160 certainly has me itching to get back in to the workshop at last. Purchased from Well packed.

How to survive the Aurora

How to survive the Northern Lights part1

This is the first part in a series on how to survive the northern lights.
The article will cover clothing. Wearing layers is very important. Materials that breath are best. The other articles will include photography equipment, items and food.

Footwear Socks Legs Upper body Accessories All in One

In Northern Finland the temperature can vary. So this is a “general guide” suitable for winter. The temperature will change depending on how far north you are. Sometimes there can be extremes of temperatures in the north that can plummet to below -40°C. Check the weather reports at Supersaa they will give you 2 different weather reports to help build a picture.

You don’t have to spend lots of money on winter clothing. But technical clothing is an investment especially if you live in a cold environment. Some articles of clothing appear in Lidl. There technical clothing is cheap but effective. They don’t sell it all of the time so you have to be an opportunist shopper

Northern Lights Clothing

Simply layering is adequate if you are on a budget but check the materials you are using. Cotton is great indoors, but breathable fabrics that don’t remain wet are the best. Wet means cold. Cold is not fun If you are out in -25°C for 4 hours at a time.


Snow boots are best. Hiking or walking boots are fine if they have space so you can wear 2 pairs of thick wool socks.
Thermal insoles or liners are an important method to keep your feet warm, consider it the most important part. If you get really cold feet, it can be a living hell.


Woollen hiking socks or ski socks. The best are wool , especially Merino wool.


  • Base layer : Long underwear or thermal underwear. Woollen are the best, polyester is good. Do not wear anything under it.
  • Middle layer: 100% polyester jogging bottoms – sweat pants- college trousers.
  • Outer layer: Ski pants on top.

Upper body

  • Base Layer: Thermal underwear Wool or 100% polyester.
  • Middle Layers: Fleece shirt (polyester) – thick 100% wool jumper. (100% wool jumpers are hard to find.)
  • Outer Layer: Fleece coat, insulated jacket. I recommend a high quality jacket. The jacket must perform in extreme temperatures. So buying a quality brand is worthwhile


  • Head: Hat, woolly hat, fur trapper hat, balaclava.
  • Hands: Gloves It is good to have a thin pair of gloves on under your main gloves/mittens, so you can use a camera. Mittens are better than gloves in serious cold. Good quality ski gloves are even better, as they are usually wind proof. I have a pair of lined leather mittens which work really well.
    UPDATEWrist warmers by Ruskovilla
  • Scarfe: Woollen or Polyester.

All in One

  • Body and Legs: In Finland Ice fishing is a popular hobby. They sell a reasonably priced wind proof / weather proof suite. With layers underneath this will make a great option on a budget.
How to survive the Aurora
Wearing the right clothes will keep your Snowballs warm.
How to survive the northern lights.

Layers are good. Pay attention to the materials. Polyester and wool (Merino wool) are really good, cotton is bad. Most of the clothing regular off the stuff. Spend a bit extra, for good quality ski trousers and an insulated jacket.

how to survive the northern lights.

This was the first instalment on “How to survive the northern lights.” If you like this article or better still it helps you while you are out in the cold. Then please share this post. I am looking forward to writing the next instalment.

Don’t go for the Northern Lights. Enjoy the destination.

Why visit for the destination? A snowmobile ride across tracks and frozen lakes. Husky and reindeer sleigh rides. Wildlife. Visit Father Christmas. Angry birds activity park for young children. Staying in an Ice igloo. This is just Rovaniemi. So don’t go for the northern lights. Go for the destination.
There are a lot more locations within the Arctic Circle Northern Finland.
Northern lights are a bonus to a holiday. They are very unpredictable. Around 40 hours notice. Even then it might miss earth and have the wrong magnetic charge.


The Northern Lights are unpredictable. It doesn’t have to be cold to see the Aurora. it has to be dark. You can consult with weather websites like SuperSaa to find the averages for both temperature and precipitation when planning your trip. The weather in Finland can change in the blink of an eye.
The weather in the North of Finland is unpredictable as the Aurora Borealis themselves. It’s not unusual to have sunshine, clouds, snow and high winds all in the same day. Just because you wake up to clear skies, that doesn’t mean those clear skies will be around until Northern Lights viewing time once it’s dark.

You have to put effort into seeing the Northern Lights.

It has to be dark to see the Northern Lights. This may mean you need to get out of the town or hotel to avoid light pollution. The Aurora are easily visible in places within the arctic circle like Rovaniemi and Kilpisjärvi and when they are at the strongest the are visible to the south of Finland areas like Uusimaa, your best chance is to seek out spots in the countryside.
Light Pollution map of Rovaniemi and Kilpisjärvi.

Look in the direction north when hunting Northern Lights.

This sounds obvious but knowing where north is will make setting up your camera equipment easier as the Aurora can appear and disappear very quickly or they can last for hours. I usually check the compass on my phone or a regular compass if I remember to pack it with in my camera bag
The Aurora Borealis appears in a range of colours. Including a light grey. Grey northern lights are common in Southern Finland. Mind you they only appear light grey with the human eye. When you use a camera to capture them they go green.

Can you see the Northern Lights when there is a full moon.

People think they can not see the Northern Lights if there is a full moon. I have photographed the Aurora on a few occasions with a full moon. The moon brightens up the foreground. It can effect exposure time so try 3 or 4 test shots and then look at them. Try and get a happy balance or something that pleases your eye. I have a short guide on how to photograph the northern lights which is a lot easier than you think.

Q & A – quick fire round

Where are the Northern Lights in Finland?

Everywhere although it is easier to see them in the North of Finland. Visible at night. In the sky. Look North. Preferably while you have a raised Kp a good – Bz and an increase in solar winds.
I have made a page with tools to see northern lights. I also have a long list of my favourite tools for viewing the Northern Lights.

When are the northern lights visible in Finland?

All year round. When its dark. see above

What is the Finnish word for Northern Lights?

Revontulet – A loose translation is the Foxes Tail

Right time right place Northern Lights

This is my first piece of blog content on I hope it answers so questions and maybe inspires you to visit Finland.