There is something inexplicably magical about the Fall. Is it the mesmerizing colors, the intriguing smells, or simply the start of the aurora season? As the bright summer nights come to an end within the arctic circle, the nights get longer by the day. The change is quite spectacular! Within a couple weeks at the end of August/start of September, you go from being able to walk around without a headlamp to almost complete darkness! And with it comes the aurorae! Of course they happen year round but the brightness of arctic summer nights prevents us from seeing them. The very first green bands of the season are always a relief among the locals, as if we were welcoming an old friend!
Høst På Senja translates to ‘Fall on Senja’ in Norwegian. This season has been very strange this year as it’s rained a lot more than usual. We have seen an alternation of both cold periods with snow and frost, and very mild ones with up to 14 degrees Celsius at night at the start of November. We have had a lot of wind as well, which made all the leaves fall quickly. I barely had a week’s window to really get the beautiful golden and orange colors of Birch trees in the mountains here on Senja. However the freshly fallen snow arrived at the right time too, enabling me to get some outstanding scenes in the fjords. Senja is one of the most strikingly beautiful islands I have ever visited. No matter what the weather, the time of year and day/night you visit, there is always a peculiar set of colors, lighting and mood that you can’t get elsewhere. The small fishing villages in the fjords, the jagged-edged mountains rising from the sea, the turquoise-water beached and inlets, the completely still bodies of water giving off a perfect mirror, the wildlife, the sunrises and sunsets on the southern part of the island… Everything is absolutely out of this world! Autumn is in my opinion one of the best seasons to visit Senja, as this video attempts to suggest. There really is a microclimate which helps clear up the sky most nights, so that you can enjoy the aurora.
Coming to settle down on the island, I was a bit worried that I wouldn’t be able to really shoot deep-sky astro timelapse and milky way… Ohhh how wrong I was! There are nights where the aurora is faint and that’s precisely when you should dust off your tracker! A very cool close-up shot of the Cygnus and its nebulae in the dim aurora is the proof! But while you’re at it, you can also shoot both our home galaxy and the northern lights in the same frame on such nights. As a side note it is my favorite scene in the movie (hence the cover): that night was perfect with crystal clear skies, a faint and colorful aurora, the milky way shining bright, and the mirror of the water… A rare night I won’t soon forget. The aurora is very common on Senja because the island lies right in the middle of the auroral oval, where the aurora spawns. We get aurora every night if it’s clear. However on October 11th, a G2-strong geomagnetic storm hit the Earth and I witnessed some of my most long-lasting aurorae ever! I went to Storvatnet lake to get the reflection of the water as well! Most of the scenes were shot on or in between my tours of the island with our guests at the observatory and the time is getting scarce now, but I succeeded in compiling the best scenes I have shot since my arrival in August. Since I moved from France, I was unable to bring all my stuff at once including my my slider, so some of the sequences are simple panned in post-process, and some others with the Vixen Polarie. All was shot with the Sony a7rII, Sony a7s and the Canon 6D Baader modified and a variety of bright lenses ranging from 14mm to 300mm. I used the Lonely Speck Pure Night and Matt Aust Light pollution filters to reduce light pollution and increase details on the deep-sky scenes and also the Vixen Polarie to track the stars and get cleaner shots. All post production was made in Lr with the special timelapse plus plugin, Sequence for mac, TLDF, and final production was made in FCPX. I hope you like the movie as much as I liked shooting and processing it and I thank everyone of you for your support. All content is of course copyrighted AMP&F (except sountrack licensed through The Musicbed: Steven Gutheinz with ‘In the Balance’), and no footage can be used in any way without the author’s permission. Please contact me for media and purchase inquiry. Please share and comment if you liked the video and follow me for more videos like this one! More at adphotography-online.com.