Creative vacatons

Creative vacatons

Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Happy New Year! Happy Clear Skies!

Happy accident. A car lighting up the foreground and making flare in the lens.
Luck and chance is and has always been a part of photography.

2013 has been a remarkable year for us at Creative Vacations. We have seen a lot of Aurora, been fighting to find a clear sky, we have increased the number of tours and the number of clients. Vidar has recovered from his broken leg, Silvia is doing more art and she is now preparing two exhibitions.

Aurora dancing for us on the last tour of the year.

I don't want to bore you about stories about bad weather and the search for clear skies. I know you all want to see the Northern Lights not a clear sky. But here's the thing: If we find a clear sky; there's a 80-90% chance to find the Northern Lights. So I and the other Aurora guides drive around searching the clear sky. The Northern Lights take place 180 km to 500 km up in the atmosphere. So if we drive one hour to the west or one hour to the east, doesn't matter for the Northern Lights, but it makes an enormous difference for the weather. Sometimes driving just ten minutes makes all the difference.

Tough weather!

How do we find the clear sky then. For me it's a combination of forecast and local knowledge. I'm from a family of fishermen. My family has lived here for generations. We have a profound interest in the weather. Even more than the average Norwegian.

Do I always find clear skies? No.
Do I often find clear skies? Yes.
Do I find clear skies when the others don't? Sometimes.
Do others find clear skies when I don't? Sometimes.
Is local knowledge important to find clear skies? Yes.
Is luck  important to find clear skies? Sometimes.
Can you trust the forecast? No.
Can you trust the forecast more than local knowledge? No.
Do I find a clear sky when the forecast tells there is none? Often.

December 27th.

December 29th.

December 30th.

Since we came back from spending the Christmas in London we have been out four nights. On those four nights the forecast has predicted overcast. Still we have had clear skies and Aurora on three out of four nights. On the night of the 29th, the forecast predicted a window in the clouds around midnight, it started raining instead. The day after on the 30th, it looked so bad in the afternoon that I offered the clients to cancel. None of them did, and it turned out to be super clear and super good Aurora. That was the best way for me to end 2013. Not let us all make 2014 the best year ever!

Sunday, 15 December 2013

Going the extra mile - or not...

 I'm all in favor of going (or shall I say driving?) the extra mile. But sometimes it's best to stay home.

Last nights we had some guests with extra needs, so the arrangement was a little different. We were extremely lucky with the weather, and with madame Aurora. Aurora showed up at the time when I would normally pick up the clients, but yesterday was special in that way too.

Statistically there is most Northern Light activities from 10 to 11 pm. That's statistic. Yesterday there were most activities from 6 to 10 pm. A week ago there was an explosion at 2 am. To check it out for yourself, please go to Click on real time to see what is happening now, or what happened an hour ago. Click on Prev. day to see how it has been. If the graph stays flat, there is no activity, if it goes up or down, something is happening. Be aware that even if the graph is flat we can often still see the northern lights.

This photo was taken on 25.11.2013 at 23:34
Here are the activities:

Back on our not so usual day on Håkøya. Here are Silvia's photos taken a few hundred meters from our house.

Tuesday, 3 December 2013


Sometimes Aurora is shy. Very shy. The two last days she has been very shy. But she has been there. The moon is hiding too so the stars are out at their full strength. On December the 1st we found clear skies at the border between Norway and Finland.

This was the strongest view we got.

In this picture Aurora is looking at us, just where the Milky Way ends. 

December the 2nd it was misty on the border. But we could see the stars. We waited and waited.
Then suddenly we saw something on the camera. Those of us who get our right doses of cod liver oil and thus a good night vision could also see it with our eyes.

Saturday, 30 November 2013

Don't Do as They Tell You

Don't put the horizon in the middle of the picture! they say.
They also say that if it snows in Tromsø you have to go to Finland to see Aurora.
So they say.

I have a confession to make:
I don't always listen to what they say.
I like to do my own things, choose my own images, go my own places.

Is it risky? Yes.
Will I keep doing it? Oh yes.

The wind was from the north and it was snowing in Tromsø.
Wind from the north often gives us snow, but also breaks, clear openings in the sky. Windows of opportunities. We opted for those windows.

First the window was ajar.
Then it opened more:

We enjoyed the window wide open and Aurora celebrating it.

And I put the horizon in the middle of the picture.
What a crazy feeling!


Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Does it take a Tottenham supporter?

Sunday was windy.

And snowy.
And cloudy.
In Tromsø.

The weather forecast predicted clouds from here to Bottenviken. Officially there should not be a clear sky in the region. A few brave ones headed out with me.
We managed to find a little bit of clear sky, we saw the stars, for a little while, and then it was over. The clouds rolled in and we headed back.

Monday was windy.

And snowy.
And cloudy.
In Tromsø.

Again the weather forecast predicted clouds everywhere. We didn't believe them and headed out in the dark and not so unknown.  After a few hours drive we saw this:
Clear sky, stars and a very very weak Aurora. We wanted more. But we only found more of the same:
At the end the clouds caught up with us, it started snowing and we headed home.

Tuesday was windy.

And rainy.
And cloudy.
In Tromsø.
The weather forecast predicted clouds from here to Bottenviken.

This time we had a Tottenham supporter with us. Tottenham is playing against Tromsø on Thursday so he is here to see both Aurora and his team. Tottenham lost badly their last match, and Aurora has hardly been seen the last days. Despite this we all had a good feeling. We headed out in the dark and well known.

She was there... Aurora came... Sometimes it takes a Tottenham supporter...

 This is what I like to see. Photographers shooting away:

We were up on the tundra, far away from fjords and steep mountains so I made some variations over a bush:

And the Northern Lights Route, E8:

Thursday, 31 October 2013

Absolutely Magic

After struggling the last days with clouds and little solar activity Aurora made a magic appearance last night.
The weather forecast had told me that we had to go inland to find a clear sky. When we came out in the night after the theory part, Aurora was there already. We drove 15 minutes and set up the cameras.
 Aurora was still a bit shy and hiding behind the clouds. The sky was fairly clear right above our heads, But not where Aurora was. We hoped for her to rise in the sky.
Slowly she did. 

So much that we decided to move to another location. 
The famous Ersfjord.

Still Aurora kept getting bigger and bigger, going more to the south. So after a while we drove to  the Restaurant at the End of the Universe

I was speechless. There are no words to describe this.

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Laughter at Laughter Bay

The trip went to Lyngen this time. The lovely family from Singapore had chosen to stay in a cabin in Lyngseidet, in the middle of the Lyngen peninsula.

The lovely family from Singapore 

We had different options of where to go. We could have gone to Skibotn, but it's a place I've been visiting so much. Instead I decided to go north on the Lyngen peninsula, to Lattervik. Lattervik means Laughter Bay, and it was quite telling. Aurora was laughing when we arrived, and she kept laughing with us the whole night.

Try to spot the photographer.

To get a photo where the Aurora is mirrored in the water, it's important to find some water that is not moving too much. There is too often too much waves on the sea to get it right. The solution is a lake, if it's not frozen over, or a pond. On the beach there is almost always a pond to be found. If you're lucky you may also catch a photographer. 

Friday, 4 October 2013

Borderline activity

The wind is from south west. It's raining. The clouds are hanging out low on the mountain sides. There is a rumour about high solar activity. The gang who's been out with me two nights before wants to try again.

When we left someone thought it would be impossible to see anything. Someone thought there was a good chance and someone went along for the Oreo cookies.

Skibotn was cloudy, but the border had some open spots. In those open spots Aurora was waving to us.

The next day, the weather situation was the same. More optimistically this time, we headed out. The sky was clearer than the day before, but Aurora was not to be seen anywhere. I was texting with my friends at and and it was the same for them. They found clear sky, stars, darkness and no Aurora. No one said it was easy. 

The season has started!!!

The gang on their second outing.

We've been seeing Aurora from our house for quite some time now, but our first time out chasing this season was thursday September 26th. It was a dark and stormy night. Clouds everywhere. Wind, rain. We went towards Sommarøya and stopped at a beach. after several hours waiting Aurora came and said hello. We could see her through the clouds.

We managed to find a little pond with nice reflections. We got a few exposures, and then she was gone. No one said it was easy.

The same group had booked a tour the next night. This time the weather had changed, and Aurora showed us how it can be. We went to a couple of my favorite places. I let the images talk for themselves.