“I love it, when a plan comes together”, the famous phrase of Hanibal from the A-team, a series that I used to watch when I was a kid. With photography, this also works. It’s always good to pre-visualise an image and come up with an idea before you go out. When you have the image in mind, you only have to wait until you’re at the right moment at the right time before you can take the picture.

Great idea, not the right moment

Last time I was in Hamnnes, Northern Norway, we had little northern lights and lots of clouds. While I was walking around, I found these wooden racks to dry cod, something typical for Northern Norway. The idea that settled in my mind was to take a picture with these racks with northern lights above them. But unfortunately, the northern lights were weak and covered mainly by clouds. So there was no chance to make the picture. I was in the right place but at the wrong moment.

This week we returned and, despite the bad predictions, the sky cleared and we had some stunning displays of Lady Aurora. After I had woken all guests and made sure they were looking in the right direction, I quickly ran with my camera to the spot I knew I needed to be in and set up the camera. And yes, this time it worked! The auroras were right over the racks, which were lit slightly by the surrounding lights and the moon. The clouds and moon added an extra layer, and it seemed like the auroras appeared from the racks. Precisely what I had in mind!

The right place at the right moment

It’s something that I don’t do enough, pre-visualizing pictures and go out with a plan of what to do. But I must admit it’s very rewarding when it really works.



Arjen Drost

Arjen is a Polar ecologist, nature photographer and full time expedition guide on expedition cruise ships in both Polar regions. With his pictures and stories he likes to show the beauty of these very fragile and threatened places.

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