The Changing Seasons of the North

I was born and raised in the northern parts of the Netherlands.  I have always had an affinity with the sea and the north.  Many years ago I discovered my love for the Nordic Countries and now travel there as often as I can. The solitude and drama of the landscape in Norway, Sweden and Finland are a source of constant wonder for me.  Breathtaking landscapes and seascapes appear at every turn in the road, waiting to be captured.

In my opinion, it is the light which makes one image stand out from another. In the northern countries the light is very different. I call it Nordic Light - although of course, similar light can be experienced in Iceland, the Shetlands and other countries near or in the polar circle. You have to see it to really understand the difference. It seems sharper, clearer, brighter, yet softer and with more tonal variation than anywhere else. 

During the summer the sun does not set and it is possible to shoot landscapes throughout the night. The sun touches the horizon before it starts to rise again creating opportunities to make incredible images which just cannot be found elsewhere. The softness of the light and the creation of graduated colours in the sky surpass all expectations. It is so beautiful that from time to time you forget to take images as you are simply stunned by the beauty and get lost in the moment (The effect of AWE). 

At around 69° latitude (Tromsø) the sun does not set from mid-May till mid-July. When the sun starts to set again in late July, the display of light is no less stunning. 

Autumn brings different light and you will start to see the first hoarfrost and the first ice. Combined with the beautiful golden autumn leaves and smoke frost you are presented with an incredible opportunity for stunning landscape images. Due to the late sunrises and early sunsets, the golden hour lasts for about 3 hours. Add 1.5 hours of blue hour and you get a huge window of opportunity every day to capture the Nordic Light in its full glory.

When the sky is clear, you may start to see a shimmer of green light.  This is probably the most spectacular light to be witnessed anywhere - The Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights.  The Northern Lights can be green, yellow, pink, red and blue colour. The colours you see depend on the solar activity and how far the solar particles penetrate into the earth‘s atmosphere. 

When the Northern Lights appear you will experience the “Flames of Heaven“, standing under billions of stars this incredible phenomena fills you with a tremendous sense of awe. The Northern Lights can be seen from mid-September to mid-April in the Northern Hemisphere.

Around mid-November the Polar Night makes its entry onto the scene and the light changes again as the sun does not rise until mid-January (69° Latitude). The light is soft and the days are long ..... even longer when the Northern Lights are dancing in the sky. 

The winters in the north are long and spring feels very distant. But when you start to see a glimpse of reddish colour on top of the mountains, you know that the sun has made its appearance and soon the days start to get longer. During this time of the year the light is epic. Pink colours flood the sky and the breathtaking scenery reveals itself in another different guise.

Although the weather in the north can be harsh, its amazing light and dramatic landscape is a heaven for photographers who are willing to brave the elements.