New Year’s Eve under the Northern Lights – Lofoten Islands

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I started 2013 on a ship sailing towards Antarctica. 

I ended it standing under the Northern Lights in the Lofoten Islands.

As far as memorable New Year Eve’s go, these are going to be hard to beat.  They provided the perfect book-ends to a magical year dominated by travel and photography. 

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The Northern Lights (or Aurora Borealis) are a natural phenomenon that has been mesmerising scientists, astrologers, photographers and travellers for years.  As my interest in landscape photography and the Polar Regions grows, so has my desire to experience the Aurora with my own eyes (and lens).  And the timing of the Christmas holidays this year presented me with the opportunity to do so.

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But I was nervous.  Although certain factors increase the probability of seeing the Aurora, being a natural event makes it an unpredictable one.  In the limited time I had, was I prepared to spend the money and potentially return empty-handed?

The obvious answer was to select a destination and travel style that could provide a rewarding experience with or without an Aurora sighting.  So I armed myself with a list of requirements and headed to my favourite travel agent – the internet.

I could only take time off work during the Christmas Holidays, only for a few days and I wanted a destination that was relatively accessible from London.  I wanted to contrast the short polar winter days with the 24 hour daylight I enjoyed in the Arctic earlier in the year but I also wanted enough light to sneak in some daytime photography.  I wanted to avoid the popular tourist destinations but I wanted a location where Aurora sightings were more likely than not.  Wildlife sightings were a bonus but landscape photography opportunities were a must.  I was happy to join a group tour, but only if it was run by someone who was knowledgeable and passionate about the Aurora, the location and photography.

And that’s how I ended up in the Lofoten Islands on a five day tour with the Aurora Hunters lead by Aurora expert and photographer Andy Keen.

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Kellie is a traveller and photographer who is most at home when exploring the world beyond it. Through the intersection of her travel, writing and photography passions, she shares her experiences to inspire others to create there own. The desire to live life instead of existing through it has introduced Kellie to inspirational locations throughout seven continents and from this a passion for landscape and wildlife photography has evolved. She feels a particular connection to the polar regions and Africa. You can see more of her photography at www.kellienetherwoodphotography.com

Comments

  1. Sounds wonderful Kellie and the photos are superb.

  2. Your photographs are fantastic and I can’t wait for the next installments from Norway, one of my favorite countries! I’ve been round the world twice, but Antarctica and the Northern Lights are still “on the list”. Thanks for inspiring me to get back to travel planning for next year!

    • Thanks for the kind words Debbie and I’m happy to hear it’s inspired you to get back to travel planning. It’s always motivating to have the next trip to look forward to. Happy travels for 2014!

  3. Absolutely stunning, I’d love to experience these one day. Do they last all year round or is it seasonal as to the best time to see the lights?

    • Although they exist scientifically all year round, you can really only see them in the winter, best times are between September and March. There are pros/cons to choosing different times between these months like number of daylight v night hours, and how much snow may be around in some locations. I hope you see them one, it’s incredible!

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