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Polar night in January 2014

360°-Panoramas

Impressions from the polar night in early January. A pretty unique atmosphere. Options for activities are obviously quite limited during this darkest time of the year. Also, the polar bear safety issue has got quite a different quality when you can’t see these guys in the distance. Going into narrow, dark valleys is a completely different thing then. Being close to a vehicle (car, snow mobile) is a big plus on the safety side of things, then. And this way it is easy to get away from the disturbance of artificial “big city light” in Longyearbyen, which is essential to get a taste of the polar night. A drive of a few kilometres into Adventdalen or towards Bjørndalen is already a good thing in that sense – it doesn’t have to be a big trip at this time of the year. With a snow mobile, it is easy to get at least a bit further into Adventdalen, and then you have left all artificial light well behind you. But be careful: at Christmas, a local from Longyearbyen managed to drive over a 10 meter cliff with a snow mobile in bad visibility. He managed to escape without major injuries as a matter of great luck. And he is an experienced driver!

The reward comes in shape of real unique light and atmosphere, as long as the sky is clear. When it is cloudy, it is essentially really dark. In our case, we were really lucky with some amazing northern lights, which were very strong for local standards. Nothing you should really expect on that level. But it was the time when the sun storm hit the Earth. It did not shake our civilization, as announced in the media, but it certainly put some great aurora on the sky!

And I was surprised how nicely the panorama photography turned out. My expectation here was limited, but I am very pleased by the results. The impression they give is certainly a bit brighter than reality, which is darker. When it is clear, you will see enough for large-scale orientation (at least if you know what you are looking at and for) once you have got used to the darkness. The images, both panoramas and photos in the gallery, are a bit brighter to give you a similar impression. A tripod is essential, and a full-frame camera and good lenses are very useful for good results.

Gallery: Longyearbyen 2014

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

Longyearbyen

Hiorthhamn

Adventdalen

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last modification: 2014-11-26 · copyright: Rolf Stange
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