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First Aurora | by Pete Rowbottom, Wigan, UK
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First Aurora

The 3rd night of the recent trip to Northern Norway, stopping on the coast about 20km South of Tromsø.


The day had started off with really poor weather and very heavy snow, the forecast wasn't holding out much hope for any shots, let alone any Aurora activity, it was looking like yet another trip with a failed objective, but, there are far worse places in the world to be hunting for something which for the 4 of us had proved somewhat elusive...


An evening trip up the mountain overlooking Tromsø to shoot the City from above during Blue Hour with the lights on had been an absolute winner as the snow had stopped, and the majority of cloud gone with it too (shots to follow) - the cold temperatures had also dropped though and it was now around -20 outside.


Coming back down the mountain in the cable car a girl asked what the strange thing was outside, at first looked like smoke, on second glance it was infact a very small isolated feint burst of Aurora!! as soon as it came it went again a few seconds later, the mood was now a hell of a lot more upbeat and we were frantic to get back to the 4x4 and get to somewhere good as it was still quite early (1930ish), the signs were very promising and the KP index had gone right up from the earlier predictions - with the Aurora forecast to be visible from about 2300.


We drove back to our rented house next to the sea South of Tromsø, not a single thing in the sky to be seen apart from Stars and the odd cloud, so we decided to cook our meal and keep checking, an hour or so passed by, all fed, and a few beers down us we were joking about shouting it was there (when it wasn't) just to make the others jump up and look...


All of a sudden it just completely kicked off over the sea looking toward Tromsø, immense streaks of light changing shape and weaving over the City, within a min I was kitted up, wrapped up and outside shooting.


After I'd bagged quite a few shots I just stood there watching it, transfixed, without a doubt for me the best thing I have ever seen and the wait had been more than worthwhile, after narrowly missing it in the Orkney Islands by 24 hours about 5 years ago I've wanted to see it ever since and had become something of an obsession.


In the end we had 2 hours of an extremely vivid Aurora lightshow which allowed for lots of change of compositions and settings to change the images, the Aurora was dying off when I finally went back inside as my hands had literally stopped working, I hadn't really noticed the cold due to the sheer excitement, but it was -30 outside, I knew I had to get back indoors.


This is the first of the images, I picked this one as I wanted it to be all about the sky and the thing we had came to see, also to give an impression of how far it travels upwards over the land.


A truly amazing experience and beautiful sight, the obsession quenched, but now stronger than ever to go back and get more, addiction is probably a more accurate word now.


Zoom in and enjoy.


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Taken on February 22, 2017