Stream of thoughts

This is one of those images that I had envisioned a long time ago, during the first try at shooting Aurora borealis at this fantastic location in northern Norway. The background mountain is epic and there's a big lake in front of it, with a little river running into the lake.

As this location is in the mainland though, the weather is much colder than it is on Lofoten islands. Which leads to the lake freezing quickly once winter sets. Once it's frozen, every time it snows the snow just piles up on the ice- leaving us with rather boring foregrounds.

I always dreamed of having the combination of seeing the river open and thus allowing me to complement the Aurora borealis with a dynamic foreground with ice and moving water.

I tried several times over the years. And I often had quite decent solar activity leading to decent northern lights. But with northern lights images, I am a little bit picky. If there’s no foreground to make a balanced image I am simply not tempted to shoot.

Eventually, after years of failing at this location, I was finally lucky. I visited the lake to see if the river was open during the day and was suddenly all excited! If I only got a little bit of Aurora borealis, this could be the night to get that shot I dreamed of for so long.

The night was cold, around -18°C so I wrapped myself in all the warm clothes that I had. When the northern lights started going, I went into the river searching for a dynamic foreground. I got a little bit too excited of course, so I happened to slide into the water with one leg. I managed to ignore the coldness inside of my boots for an hour or two until I realized that my toes were completely numb!

Long story short: my toes are still alive and I went home with a big folder of images that I may never be able to repeat. The elements aligned.

A moment of joy was had!





Nordland, Norway

Camera position


Time of day


Elements aligned

Aurora borealis, partially frozen river




ISO4000, f/2.8, 20”


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