The moments in life that take your breath away hold a place in your heart forever, and my first sighting of the Northern Lights is a moment that I will never forget. I can even tell you the date, time and exactly where I was standing. It was 4.10pm on Saturday 26 January 2013, there was a full moon in the sky, and I had just stepped outside of my hotel in Tromso, Northern Norway.
The lights were feint and to an untrained eye looked little more than cloud but, they were there and that was all that mattered to me. As I walked along the harbourfront of the city the Aurora Borealis strengthened and I could see distinct strands of green above my head. It was a truly magical experience that left me feeling emotional and blessed – I couldn’t take my eyes off the sky as the lights waved and danced overhead. No longer would I be jealous of my colleagues who had previously witnessed a display.
To best observe the Northern Lights it is recommended to leave the limits of Tromso and the artificial lights of the city. The darker the sky the better the display and, after my experiences I would say, the more humbled you feel by the event.
On the 26th January, I was lucky enough to join an evening cruise exploring the waters that surround the ‘capital of the north’. Armed with a tripod; a camera set at a high ISO (I used ISO 800 – ISO 1250), a slow shutter speed and manual focus; and wrapped in my winter clothes I spent most of my night on the deck of the boat watching the Aurora in awe. I was fascinated by its movement in the sky and by the way the colours intensified and then disappeared. It was almost as if it was playing a game.
Away from the city lights, the display was spectacular and when the lights were not swaying my eyes were drawn to the moonlit mountain peaks. Incredible is the only word for it.