Between Christmas and New Year I took a week off work to head on vacation in Northern Norway. One cab, three flights and a bus journey later and I had made it from New York to Alta, Norway. If you were following along with my Instagram Story then you’ll know that when I landed at 2pm in the afternoon it was pitch black. This was because I was visiting the region in the middle of their ‘Polar Night’. Norway’s Polar Night is a period of time between November 25th and January 19th where the sun doesn’t rise above the horizon. I was excited to experience this phenomenon, and I’m pleased I did (and also very pleased I only had to experience it for three days; it’s intense!). Each day at around 11am the sky would start to gently glow – as long as it wasn’t snowing – and there would be around an hour of this faint glow before the sky would start to glow pink from below the horizon line, which is a bit like that moment just after the sun disappears from view in a normal sunset. One one of the days the whole sky lit up in bright shades of pink (seen above) creating the most incredible contrast with the white snow-laden landscape below. By 1pm it would be pitch black dark again. Crazy, right?! Needless to say, photography was almost entirely off the cards during the three day trip due to the non-existant daylight. That said, I did manage to get my drone up into the sky for a few aerial pictures on the clearest and ‘brightest’ hour of soft light, along with some iPhone snaps. Check them all out and see more of Norway’s Polar Night, after the jump!
This is one of my drone captures that shows the landscape surrounding the Tipi I stayed in one the edge of a forest about ten miles or so outside of Alta.If you look closely you can see me down there stood next to my tipi! Can you see me?Here’s a look at the pink glow that comes from below the horizon line for around an hour each day during Norway’s Polar Night.This was the Tipi I stayed in at Holmen Huskey Lodge, which was 1/3rd glass so you could lie in bed and watch the stars and Northern Lights. The left picture was taken around 11:30am at the ‘lightest’ part of the day; the right photograph was taken around 30 minutes later, showing how quickly the soft glow of light fades during Norway’s Polar Night.Here’s the tipi at 3pm in the afternoon! Inside felt very cozy as there was a wood burning stove. It really was a magical experience and I’m so pleased I took the trip all the way up there. I’d never done anything like this before!This was one of the huts close to the tipis, which had a central fire for people to sit around and drink hot blackcurrant as a way to stay warm.I spent one of my mornings in Alta trekking and sledding though a snow-capped forest with a Sami family and their reindeer. The Sami are the indigenous people of Norway, and there are 60,000 of them in the country – the largest population of all the Sami countries; Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia. It was such an honor to be welcomed into their life to learn more about their culture and day-to-day living. The family I spent time with are ‘herding’ Sami, which means they look after herds of reindeer, migrating with them through the mountains. Each Sami has their own herd which they migrate with and care for. Sami people speak their own dialect; each village has an individual style of clothing; and they have their own government that sits below the Norwegian government. The reindeers in their herds don’t have names but instead are marked by their ears. (P.S. The flare you see below isn’t the sun, it was a big lamp lighting a snow field!) Have you ever been to Alta or experienced Norway’s Polar Night?//iPhone photography by Will Taylor