Andy Keen
Image taken:
Jan. 16, 2012
Inari Municipality (IVALO)
What a night, what a morning. As soon as we left the house you could tell that we were in for a real treat. There was a faint green tinge to the night sky, not in patches but all over. As we drove North of our base here in Ivalo (Finland) we were full of eager excitement, wondering what the night had in store for us. The weather forecast indicated that there would be a hole in the clouds between the hours of 17:00 and 22:00 hrs and, for once, it was absolutely spot on. We also knew that the Solar Wind was heading in our direction - the conditions were perfect and all we had to do now was to move to a remote, dark place far away from street lights and the 'madding crowd'. It didn't take long for us to reach one of our favourite haunts, that being an old WW2 German airfield North of Inari. We drove along a forest track and parked the vehicle approximately 200 metres from the airfield and then made our way on foot to the runway. We didn't need head-torches as the forest was illuminated by the Aurora dancing above our heads. For over two and a half hours we witnessed one of the best Auroral light shows that I've ever observed in over 5000 hours of 'chasing' the lights. Ribbons, curtains, mini spirals, bursts - you name it and we had it. Some of the group that that taken aback by what we were witnessing that they simply lay on their backs in the snow and soaked it all up. Others ran around making noises like over excitable school children - myself included. It was absolutely mind-blowing to say the least. If this is a sign of things to come then all I can say is that we're all in for a real treat over the coming months and years - the Solar Maximum is upon us and I for one intend to make the very most of it. Equipment used - Canon 5D Mk II. Canon EF 14mm f/2.8 lens. Gitzo Tripod with Kirk Ball Head. ISO 640 - 1000. Shutter Speed - 4s - 25s. Aperture f/2.8.
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