Greenlandic lights

During most of our trips, we don’t see any northern lights. People often ask what the chances are, but don’t realise it has to be dark to see them. However, as Scoresbysund is about 1000km south of Spitsbergen and it’s now the middle of September, it is getting pretty dark, so the chances increase. Unfortunately, we were not very lucky with the weather, as it was overcast for most of the time. Until our last evening in Greenland. Just before I went to bed, I had a quick check outside (I hate it to be woken just after going to bed), and there they were. Not extremely bright, most of the time our eyes only saw something white, but it was really the Aurora.

Aurora borealis in Greenland – 24mm, 2s shutter speed, f1.4, ISO 3200

Now my challenge came to try and make some decent pictures of it. On land no problem at all, but on a moving ship, it becomes a different story. Tripods are great of course, but only for so much use if the ‘ground’ you place it on is moving. And for Aurora-photos, you always need a shutter speed of several seconds, far to long for the ship to stay stable. This time, I got lucky. First of all, the sea was quite calm, so the boat didn’t move that much. And secondly, with my new Sigma 24mm/f1.4 lens, I managed to reduce the shutter speed to only two seconds, if I put the ISO a bit higher. Okay, at close examination still not perfectly sharp and a bit noisy, but very decent results, I would say.

Reflection of Northern Lights behind the ship. Do I see some bioluminescence?

When I placed myself on the back deck, I noticed there was another light to be seen as well. In the water behind the ship, bioluminescence could be seen. Tiny animals producing light and creating light flashes behind the ship. I did give it a try to photograph the combination, but that was too complicated. However, the result was still quite nice with the reflection of the northern lights in the water.



  • Oh my goodness, Arjen, you graced us today with the most magical lights. Love your word choice for the title (Greenlandic), and enjoyed hearing the story unfold. Seeing the aurora borealis is a miracle in itself, then capturing it on a moving boat, another score. THEN to see the bioluminescence too…what a night!

    Liked by 1 person

  • Arjen

    Nothing to do with the lights but have you seen that a Beluga Whale has been spotted in the entrance to the River Thames, UK.

    To see the lights is still on my bucket list.


    Michael Stallwood.


    • Yeah, just read it somewhere. They sometimes get lost and may end up in weird places.

      For the lights, just pick the right time and go to Northern Scandinavia. About half a year ago, I wrote some stories about how to make a trip to northern lights on my blog. Just go for it 😀

      Cheers, Arjen


  • Hello Arjen,
    I have enjoyed my visit to your site, your pictures are beatiful.
    You have allowed me to become acquainted with a world that I can never see myself.
    Thank you for that, Erica


    • Bedankt voor het compliment, Erica. Dat is inderdaad een van de redenen dat ik m’n foto’s graag laat zien, om mensen die niet naar zulke plekken kunnen gaan, toch kunnen laten zien hoe het er daar uitziet.

      Groeten, Arjen

      Liked by 1 person

      • Dat is het mooie van internet dat de wereld zo dicht bij is en ik kan mij helemaal verliezen in mooie plekken en plaatsen van de natuur in de wereld.
        Het is fijn dat zoveel mensen dat delen.

        Ik blijf je volgen, Erica

        Liked by 1 person

    • Bedankt, Ronald. Het is inderdaad ontzettend gaaf om te zien, zelfs al ben ik in de gelukkige omstandigheid dat ik het intussen al vele malen gezien heb.

      Als je zelf op pad wilt, zijn er natuurlijk de nodige georganiseerde reizen, maar er zijn ook genoeg mogelijkheden zelf iets te regelen. Zie hiervoor een eerder blog van mij:

      Succes ermee!


Submit a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s