"EXCUSE ME? ARE YOU GUYS THE AURORA HUNTERS?"
I answered: "Yes! Did you see my post on Facebook?". So, there I was on the railway bridge, five minutes walk from my dorm room in Turku - again. Turku lies in the absolute south of Finland and is not really known for that much aurora activity. But since the beginning of the first stronger sightings I had never given up the hope to photograph the Aurora from here or even to see it with the naked eye. For the fifth time I stand here for hours in the cold on the bridge, addicted to the dancing green lady and absolutely eager to share this spectacle with as many people as possible. So I wrote a short article in an Erasmus Facebook group in which a time-lapse from a previous observation on the bridge had already caused a stir - and indeed a few people dared to go out into the freezing night. The show wasn't too spectacular, but for five minutes there was a green vortex dancing in the sky, which for some of the observers around me was the first encounter with the Aurora. Also for me it was still a breathtaking spectacle.
REINDEERS AND THE GREEN LADY
My actual hunt for aurora borealis took place at the end of October. With two friends I went for eight days to Lapland and later to the island Senja on the west coast of Norway. I would like to be brief at this point, as the first five days were unfortunately covered by rain. However, we were lucky to meet a white, magnificent reindeer on the day of our arrival in Lapland. After a short, careful and considerate photo session we continued our journey across the border.
As already mentioned, the weather was not on our side. We spent three nights in our accommodation, drove out again and again during the day to try our luck, but at the same time to be surprised by rain. At night we looked out of the window about 50 times and checked Aurora webcams - the show was in full swing, but the weather didn't play along at night. On the last day on the island we put everything on one card. We decided to continue spending the night on the island, not booking any accommodation and hoping for the best for the night. Our weather expert Jonas Piontek predicted a clear sky and high auroral activity for the upcoming night - a KP 5. We were sceptical, but didn't want to miss the chance. After a short afternoon hike we decided to buy some snacks for the icy night and settled in the lounge of a motel where we drank coffee served by a confused couple. Around 06:30pm, I was on hot coals the whole time, I went outside again to see something through the bright lanterns. And there it was - the first green veil in the last light of dusk and right above me. I ran as fast as I could up the smooth wheelchair ramp to the motel and almost face planted. With a grin, like when I got my first game console, I just said, "Let's go!" Everyone knew immediately what was going on and excitement filled the air. We said goodbye to the nice hosts, rushed out the door jumping and wildly babbling towards the car.
We decided to drive down to Bergsbotn, a fabulous place within a fjord on Senja. We were all packed with emotions that just crawled up our necks and made us shout out loud and behave like children. The pictures we took became almost irrelevant at the sight of such beauty. And when we thought it couldn't get any more brilliant, we were in zenith position with a sudden KP 7 - an incredibly strong auroral activity right above our heads. It was an incredible dance that lasted for several minutes. The characteristic "rays" shot across the sky like domino stones, creating mandala-like shapes.