Day 4/10 – Part 3/3

Kirkjufell

I return to Kirkjufell. Close to the sign, I try to walk to the waterfall in the dark, but that doesn’t prove to be easy. There seems to be a frozen pond between me and the waterfall, but the flashlight hasn’t enough reach to see it completely. I do see cars and people overthere, so apparently you can get there, but without knowing how, it’s impossible to do in the dark without a fair chance of getting wet.

I shoot here for a while photos of the light and the mountains in the south…

Aurora Borealis at Grundarfjordur

…and with Kirkjufell at the foreground towards the north. Here with a satellite trail in the upper right corner.

Aurora Borealis at Grundarfjordur

This reddish light is invisible for the naked eye. The camera appears to be a lot more sensitive than our own optical system.

Aurora Borealis at Grundarfjordur

For just a minute there seems to be a dark shadow to the left, next to the green light. Weird. Finally at the photo I notice that this is actually very weak dark red light. Not that weird in the end because our eyes are much more sensitive to green light then to red and blue.

Aurora Borealis at Grundarfjordur

The show keeps getting better. The bands are really moving now. Sometimes there is a kind of ripple effect visible, vertical bars moving from left to right like a conveyor belt. Wonder what’s causing that. Sometimes a new band gets build up in that way, every time a couple of new bars next to it.

Aurora Borealis at Grundarfjordur

It’s impossible to make this visible on the photographs, because of the long shuttertimes. The bars paint over each other, turning the light into a flat green band. This requires a lens with a larger aperture, which I will be going after, once home, for the next time.

Aurora Borealis at Grundarfjordur

Sometimes the light seems to fade away and then suddenly it’s back again. Shuttertimes and ISO have to be adapted all the time to match the intensity of the light.

Aurora Borealis at Grundarfjordur

A couple of times there is a narrow band visible that moves back and forth like a snake.

Aurora Borealis at Grundarfjordur

Aurora Borealis at Grundarfjordur

After a while I cross the road, because cars keep passing and it’s also time to change the foreground somewhat, closer to Kirkjufell. Here I stay shooting for some hours. A couple of times, the band is moving very fast while a ripple is going through it. At the underside the light is reddish for a very short period. Both times, the camera is busy with an exposure so I miss these.

Aurora Borealis at Grundarfjordur

I get into a talk with a couple of British guys. This is their first day here and they have been looking all day for this location. They intend to go to the waterfall and I wish them all the best. In darkness they are not going to find it. For just a minute a guy comes racing in with all his head lights on and parks his car wildly very close to us. Well thank you very much you clodhopper! Because of the bright light, I can barely see the Aurora. The camera luckily doesn’t have that problem.

Aurora Borealis at Grundarfjordur

Later I’m getting the feeling that the light has changed. The camera is getting much more out of it than I’m seeing myself. There still is a vague band with a touch of green light, but on the photographs almost the whole sky has green illumination.

Aurora Borealis at Grundarfjordur

Aurora Borealis at Grundarfjordur

Aurora Borealis at Grundarfjordur

Aurora Borealis at Grundarfjordur

Around 01:30 I’m the only one left here and the show is clearly less spectacular than earlier. Have been busy for 4.5 hours (-; Time flies… The cold has got into my clothes mean while. Time to go to bed. Gladly that’s very close by. The seat heating that I discovered yesterday is just lovely.

I must have have a look at the photographs, but around 02:00 I force myself to go to bed. Tomorrow morning I want to visit the waterfall around 07:00 for photographs.

Great night this has been. During the highlight of the show I found myself laughing loudly of pure pleasure. So beautiful and special this was! I wander what a 6 on the Aurora-scale must look like or what to think of a 9…

Maps, Charts & Downloads

GPS Map with color coded altitude information

Color coded distance/altitude chart

Color coded distance/altitude chart, Iceland Winter 2013, Day 04

Download the original gpx file here.

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