Music by Peter Nanasi, find this track and his work here: www.peternanasi.bandcamp.com/
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It is minus twenty-five degrees Celcius and the sheer cold is biting my skin. The air inhaled makes my lungs cough and the water vapor depositing on my facial hair instantly freezes as I exhale. There is no sounds around me but the cracking snow under my boots. The ice crystals reflect every bit of light coming from the stars above. The night sky is absolutely pristine. It’s one of the darkest I have seen to date. However a strange light seems to often brighten the sky. At times it remains a slow-moving whitish glow but it sometimes explodes into a firework of colors, shapes and brightnesses. The aurora borealis lightens everything up underneath: trees, hills, ice and even the water from the northern Norwegian fjords. There truly is something inexplicably magical about the polar nights.
‘Into The Polar Night’ tells the story of ten days of astrophotography spent within the arctic circle chasing the darkest skies and the northern lights in the harshest conditions. I traveled from Kiruna in Swedish Lapland to Senja island in Norway, going through Abisko, Sweden. It enabled me to encounter all the possible nordic landscapes: the boreal forest extending for hundreds of miles, huge frozen lakes with ice formations, snow-capped mountains, jagged-edged ridges rising up from the sea, the milder northern fjords with their beautiful colors. I got extremely lucky as all my ten days were sunny and all my ten nights were clear and full of aurorae. I went out to shoot every night trying different locations and subjects along the road, which eventually allowed me to stack up around 30,000 shots and a terabyte of data! I was amazed by the results: each scene offered a very eerie and mystical atmosphere that I wanted to transcribe back in the final short film. When the aurora was weaker the milky way, galaxies, nebulae and shooting stars stole the show. I was lucky enough to experience five solar sub-storms almost back to back and they produced all the different types of aurorae a chaser wants to capture: bands, pillars, pulsating, coronas, arcs. I also witnessed all the color palette: greens, yellows, blues, pinks, magentas, reds, turquoise and orange! It really was the spectacle of a lifetime, one that tops all the other natural spectacles you thought were unbeatable.
There are about three or four signature shots that I am extremely happy about. The first one (3:19) where the northern light crossed path with the milky way above the bay of Skaland, Norway, producing a beautiful X shape along the Andromeda Galaxy. The second one (3:04) is a tracked view of Aldebaran with the Hyades (in Taurus), and the Pleiades photobombed by green and pink auroras and setting above the mountains of Abisko. Note how the snow reflects the colors of the aurorae! The third one (3:11) is also a tracked shot of the Cygnus area in the milky way showing the North American nebula and the Sadr region (along Deneb) completely overtaken by the blinding green of the aurora. This shot was particularly difficult to produce because long exposures can definitely blow out the highlights in the aurora. Some of my favorite shots are also the different ice sculptures (frozen waterfalls and stalactites) reflecting the green of the moving aurora borealis in the background. However you will probably see many other cool astronomy features in this video (spot the Triangulum galaxy above the Devil’s Teeth of Senja in the scene at 3:27!). This 7 minute-long film is the result of countless hours of travel, shooting and post-production. My goal was to make you discover the hidden gems of the ‘Great North’ and somehow prove that everything the (fairy)tales tell is true! I shot everything with a Canon 6D Baader modified, the Sony a7s and the Sony a7rII. I utilized a variety of sharp and bright lenses (mostly Sigma and Samyang) ranging from 14mm to 300mm. All shots where pre-processed in Lr, exported and assembled into Sequence, and post-produced in FCPX. The absolutely mesmerizing soundtrack has been especially handcrafted for this film by the talented Peter Nanasi (more of his work at peternanasi.bandcamp.com/). All the clips are copyrighted AMP&F and may not be used for any purpose without the owner’s agreement. Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org for licensing and other inquiries. Thank you for watching and I hope you enjoyed the marvels of the polar nights as much as I did. Don’t hesitate to like, comment, share and of course follow me for more 4K videos!