When doing long exposures at night, some light painting is a must! :)
Yesterday I wanted to explore a new place that I found on Google maps, my main way of plan where to shoot:) It was just a 90 minute drive from home. The weather forecast said it would be a clear sky, so I wanted to capture the stars. But alas, the dirt road from the main road had a locked turnpike. There went that plan.
The sun was setting, and the sky got sparkly. I realized that I wasn’t far away from Sohlbergplassen, so I drove there and enjoyed the view for a few. The sun had just set behind the mountains of Rondane National park. It was awesome. Simple and elegant. You can read more about Sohlbergplassen here.
The Milky way
I wanted to try to photograph the Milky Way, which I haven’t tried before since I haven’t had a good enough lens to do it. But I recently purchased a super wide angle with an aperture of F2.8, which is good for photographing the Milky Way with.
So I headed back, drove to Muen mountain, which lies right on the border of Oppland county and Hedmark county. It’s a nice and open place. Lot’s of parking spots right beside the road :) And even some camping spots. I could hear some Germans talking and having a laugh in a tent nearby.
A happy surprise
The glow of the sun was still on the horizon. The sky was super clear. There was almost no wind, but the little wind that was, was a bit chilly. Anywhere I looked, I could see stars. I wish I had my sleeping bag, so I could just lie in it and watch the stars all night. It always boggles my mind that almost every white dot in the sky is a sun.
When I was photographing this scene, I wondered why the horizon was still so bright. I just thought that it was the sun, and didn’t think anymore of it. So it was a surprise when I got home, and loaded the images to my computer, that I could see that it wasn’t the sun. It was the Aurora Borealis! :) It’s very rare that the Aurora is visible hereabouts, so this was a happy surprise. I’ve only experienced it a few times here in Ringebu the few years I’ve lived here. Every time the Northern lights reached down here, it was a happy surprise. :)
On the image above, you can see the silhouette of Muen to the right, Storsølnkletten in the middle where I originally had planned to go tonight. And Søre Bølhøgda to the left. I was lucky enough that some cars drove by to add some more visual interest as well :)
The grand finale
So here I was, enjoying the calm weather, the starry sky, a golden sunset and the Northern lights. Now it was time to photograph the big boy himself, the Milky way!
I had been here for almost two hours, so my eyes had adjusted to the darkness. So I could see the milky way with my bare eyes. It’s pure awesomeness. You can start looking at it from the horizon to the north, and follow it to the horizon in the south. It’s big! :) Due to it’s size, it was hard to capture most of it. Even with a super wide angle at 15mm on a full frame camera. So I had to do a vertical panorama. Three shots. On the last shot the camera was pointed straight up.
The Milky way over Muen mountain: