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HomeArctic blog: Jan Mayen, Spitsbergen → Spits­ber­gen – polar night

Spits­ber­gen – polar night

This year’s last sun­ri­se was on 26 Octo­ber, 13 days ago, at 12:07 hours. The sun went down again at 13:14 hours and it won’t be visi­ble again until late Febru­ary.

(read more about mid­night sun and polar night here)

Polar night, Spitsbergen: hiking with dogs in Adventdalen

Polar night in Spits­ber­gen: hiking with dogs in Advent­da­len near Lon­gye­ar­by­en.

Today, 08 Novem­ber, the sun does not climb hig­her than near 5 degrees below the hori­zon. That ist at least good enough for seve­ral hours of civil twi­light, per­fect­ly fine for ori­en­ta­ti­on out in the field in clear wea­ther con­di­ti­ons. This is the time of the „blue light“, as it is cal­led here, blå­ly­set in Nor­we­gi­an.

Polar night, Spitsbergen: hiking with dogs in Adventdalen - black ice!

Dan­ger of black ice!

Being out the­re is gre­at fun. It is so dif­fe­rent now from what it was like just a few monhts ago! Of cour­se the tours are shorter now and less remo­te. Advent­da­len and not Edgeøya. And dogs are gre­at tour com­pa­n­ions!

Polar night in Adventdalen: Helvetiafjellet

View of Hel­ve­tiaf­jel­let.

Pho­to­gra­phy is also quite dif­fe­rent. It is much slower. You don’t just grab the came­ra, zoom in and press the but­ton. The fle­xi­ble zoom len­ses stay at home now. Ins­tead, I car­ry two prime len­ses, 20 mm and 50 mm, that’s all I am curr­ent­ly using (more info about came­ra equip­ment here). And the tri­pod, that is real­ly important and fre­quent­ly in use. Free-hand pho­tos wit­hout arti­fi­ci­al light is hard­ly pos­si­ble any­mo­re, may­be around noon with high ISO-values. High-end came­ras with full-frame sen­sors real­ly show their mus­cles now. And high-visi­bi­li­ty jackets and head­lamp are must-haves at this time! Oh yes, warm clot­hing does not hurt eit­her.

Most polar night pho­tos are brigh­ter than rea­li­ty, today’s came­ras and len­ses catch so much light. The images on this site are no excep­ti­on. To illus­tra­te the dif­fe­rence, have a look at the­se samples to compa­re. I would say that the dar­ker image shows the real light con­di­ti­ons.

Gal­lery: polar night rea­li­ty

Click on thumb­nail to open an enlar­ged ver­si­on of the spe­ci­fic pho­to.

A few kilo­me­ters across Advent­da­len take us to Ope­raf­jel­let. In sum­mer­ti­me, this would have invol­ved a rather hef­ty river crossing, now we just have to take care of black ice.

Monument for airplane crash Operafjellet

Monu­ment for the air­plane crash at Ope­raf­jel­let in 1996.

On 29 August 1996, a Rus­si­an air­craft with 141 peo­p­le on board cra­s­hed into Ope­raf­jel­let. Miners, employees and fami­ly mem­ber on the way to Barents­burg. The­re were no sur­vi­vors. It was the big­gest cata­stro­phe ever in Spits­ber­gen in times of peace. The­re is this litt­le monu­ment at Ope­raf­jel­let for the vic­tims.



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last modification: 2018-11-13 · copyright: Rolf Stange