Best Images from Abisko 22/23 Season
05 / 04 / 23
Just come back from an extended trip to Abisko in Northern Sweden and what a trip it was. So I thought I would put a blog post together with my favourite images from the season and a brief explanation about each image.
Abisko is a tiny village in the far north of Sweden just where the Norwegian border crosses over the top Sweden, so you are very far North, approximately 200km north of the Arctic circle.
I got there on the 10th of September for holiday and used the time hiking in the mountains and a time to relax after what had been quite a difficult year.
The reminder of the blog will be the images in sequential order of when they where taken and what occurred to get the image (at the end of the blog will be a gallery of the images if you want to look at the larger versions).
Image 1 - A view from Tjåmuhas
This was taken in September when me and good friend of mine headed for a multi day hike to the summit of Tjåmuhas 1743m. It's a beautiful looking mountain but the hike is quite strenuous with no path and many rocks (welcome to Swedish mountains). The snow here is the remains of a glacier with a beautiful view down into Abisko National park.
At this time the mountain birch trees in the valley are in glorious autumn colours.
Image 2 - A view from the other side of lake Torneträsk
Later in September some friends of mine asked if I wanted a lift across lake Torneträsk in their boat. They said they would drop me off and pick mu a few days later. Naturally I was more than up for it. On day number one I thought I'd hike to the summit of Láirečohkka 1124m. A mountain so obscure there's no real information on Google!
This was the view on the way back down with an amazing view 10 km over Torneträsk to Abisko
Tjåmuhas mountain from the previous picture is centre left with the double peak
Image 3 - Aurora other Lapporten Reflected in Torneham bay
This season the sun started heading towards solar maximum again which in short means in theory you will get more big auroras and that's what we saw in practise too. This was in my view the first really big night of the season. One of the good things about this time of year is the open water allows you to get mirror reflections so effectively you are getting double the aurora! In this image the camera is pointing to the south east rather than the north which shows the level of geo-magnetic activity.
Image 4 - Sunrise over Lapporten
During a chunk of October and November I had gone back to the UK for nearly a month. When I got back to Abisko it had certainly moved more into Winter.
This morning down at the river delta ice had started to form on lake Torneträsk and was gently moving on the water reflecting the light from the sunrise (although from this point of time you now never see the sun)
Image 5 - Sleeping on the Job
This was simply a bit of a joke selfie done with the ten second timer on the R5 - but I quite like how it came out. If you are ever in the area and the mountain lakes freeze before they get snowed on they become the go to place for aurora photography as the reflections and structures in the ice can make great photography.
Image 6 - Lapporten View Via Ice Covered Branch
One of the more technical shots of the selection. I found this ice covered branch while exploring the western side of Torneträsk. It's a stacked image to get everything in focus and I had to exposure blend the image too. Saying that it only took about 45 mins to process the image which in my view is one of my favourites of the season.
Image 7 - Moonrise over Clauido
One morning at the beginning of January Claudio messaged me to see if I was up for a swim in Torneträsk. It was a beautiful morning but it was cold at around -18C.
We went for it and it was a beautiful morning with a huge moon and one of those purple skies you only get during the polar night.
Image 8 - Moonrise over Frozen Trees
I had photographed these trees in previous years and they are a go to spot after a big storm as at this time of year they can get covered in ice. This year they where exceptionally beautiful until they got covered by more snow and ice.
Image 9 - Aurora over Frozen Cliffs
Now into the beginning of February after a trip to the UK and a chance to photography the frozen cliffs on Torneträsk. I had tried these cliffs a few times with aurora but had only got them with mild aurora in the past. This night it worked and there was a fairly bright moon which helped illuminate the ice.
Image 10 - Ice Flower
I hadn't done any macro photography for a while and then had perfect conditions for finding ice flowers. Warm weather to increase the humidity then freezing temperatures to force the water vapour to freeze on the icicles.
With these I invest the time to find one which has a dark background and as interesting ice structure as possible. This is of course a stacked image.
Image 11 - Perfect Camouflage
I had a vision of this type of image for some years. I just needed to find some semi compliant ptarmigan and wait for the right weather then hope the two things would come together. Basically I was wanting to get a high key image which demonstrated how perfect the winter plumage of the ptarmigan is. It takes a second to see the ptarmigan...
Image 12 - Tengmalm's Owl
There is a certain irony in this image of an owl. This was the 1st time in 9 years I've managed to photograph this species.
The ironic part was I had just been to the other side of lake Torneträsk for two days looking for wildlife and not seen anything. Then after getting back and brining my equipment back to my room I had this beautiful owl just outside my bedroom window!
Image 13 - Northern Hawk Owl
I have spent so much time photographing northern hawk owls this season. I usually see some through the season but this year we had 3 take up residence in the village and most days if I looked I would see at least two. So I had to include on NHO image and I settled for this quite simple one which shows the owl in all its splendour and strong eye contact.
Image 14 - Lapporten View Via Falling Water Drop
Another fairly technical image which required very specific conditions. It requires very bright sunlight so you can get 1/8000 of a second shutter speed so that the water drop is sharp as it accelerates very fast as it drops from the icicle. The camera has to be very specifically placed so that the water drop falls within the narrow plane of focus and then you just have to hope that you get Lapporten in the refraction...
Image 15 - Traffic light Aurora
The last tour I did of the season and on the 23rd of March we had the craziest aurora of the season (actually the biggest geomagnetic activity in 8 years). In my ten years of photographing auroras I have never seen this combination of colours. So even though a big of an awkward composition the image made it into my top images of the season.