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Discover the northern Lights Photography tour

DISCOVER THE NORTHERN LIGHTS PHOTOGRAPHY TOUR : Beyond Arctic

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€

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.

DISCOVER THE NORTHERN LIGHTS PHOTOGRAPHY TOUR - By the river!
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.

DISCOVER THE NORTHERN LIGHTS PHOTOGRAPHY TOUR road photo near Rovaniemi
Road photo beware of the cars! haha
DISCOVER THE NORTHERN LIGHTS PHOTOGRAPHY TOUR Kp 0
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.

Synopsis

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

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.

Remember

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

NORTHERN LIGHTS. ENJOY THE DESTINATION.
Right time right place Northern Lights

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