It has been almost two weeks since I come back from trip to Iceland. As Marek showed is one of the previews posts Brief Report from Iceland we had experienced quite a lot of different weather events, such as very strong winds, snow storms, heavy rain and of course clear and cold nights during which we were extremely lucky and had a chance to witness the amazing Northern lights shows. Just before our trip started, the weather forecasts did not give us much hope to see the Northern lights, since very cloudy and stormy weather was expected for almost every day and night. So our expectations were very low.
Everything started on Tuesday morning when we met Stefan, who took us to Landmannalaugar with his amazing Land Rover Discovery adjusted for serious off-road driving. As usual weather was changing almost ever thirty minutes during the whole trip and sometimes we were not able see more than few meters ahead of us, due to heavy snowstorm. However, after couple of hours we safely manage to get to our final destination, and spent rest of the day hiking and taking pictures around the base camp. The weather continued to be on and off, until approximately 9 pm, when the sky suddenly cleared out and millions of start were shinning on very quiet Landmannnalaugar. It was it, our chance to see the Northern lights, we got out within few minutes and then waiting and waiting, until some greenish light appeared on the northern horizon. Unfortunately, its intensity was very small and disappearing entirely after few minutes, approximately after an hour of nothing happening we decided to go back to the hut, but luckily Marek stayed out there little bit longer and called us back because the light returned. This time its intensity was little bit higher but still nothing extraordinary, but still it was amazing experience, colors, positions and intensity of the lights were changing quite quickly and we were just silent witnesses of this ethereal show, and approximately around 11:15 pm it was over again, but we were still standing out there, chatting and realizing how lucky we were after such day.
Suddenly something absolutely unexpected happened (yes, again) the greenish explosion over the sky was really unbelievable; luckily we still had our cameras ready to capture it. This last performance did not last for long but its intensity was very high and for a brief moment I felt closely connected to the whole universe:) When it was over we were still standing there and almost did not believe to what we just had seen, and when clouds covered whole sky we went to bad, and falling asleep with the feeling of victory.
Fortunately, our luck did not end at this point and two days later we had a chance to see even more spectacular northern lights show and again everything happened quite quickly and unexpectedly, but this time I was little more ready for it than before.
One thing I have learned during that week is to never give up and expect unexpected. For the future I set up new challenge to capture Northern lights on black and white 5x4 sheet film. I am starting to test how far I can push Kodak T-Max 400 to achieve as short exposure time as possible without emphasizing the film’s grain. Let’s hope it will work out.