Soar with the Aurora in this Breathtaking Real-time Video

“Soaring” by Ole Salomonsen

We’ve posted many beautiful aurora photos and videos over the years here at Universe Today, but this one about stopped my heart. Titled “Soaring”, it was all shot in real time by Ole Salomonsen, a landscape photographer based in Tromsø, Norway. Salomonsen has been shooting spectacular stills and videos of the northern lights for years. While not the first aurora video done in real time, it’s probably the most successful, high definition effort to date. Ole used a Sony A7S, which he calls “the best low light camera ever”.

It was shot from late August to mid-November in and around the city of Tromsø, as well as on the island of Senja, Norway’s second largest island and a three-hour drive from the city. But what sets this video apart from many is that it shows the aurora unfolding live as if you’re standing right there. No time lapse.

Coronal aurora scene from "Soaring". Credit: Ole Salomonsen
Coronal aurora scene from “Soaring”. Credit: Ole Salomonsen

Having witnessed the northern lights many times over the years from my home in northern Minnesota, I can vouch for how close to reality this work truly is. There’s a little more color saturation than what the naked eye would pick up, but the aurora’s changing rhythms are beautifully captured. Ole also mixes in dramatic pan shots taken as if you were running to find a clearing to get the best view. Honestly, that blew me away.

“Although auroras mostly move slowly and majestic, they can also move really fast,” wrote Salomonsen. After seeing the slow undulations of curtains and rays early in the film, you’ll really appreciate the aurora’s other side – its dazzling speed.

Scene from "Soaring". Credit: Ole Salomonsen
The human perspective – another scene from “Soaring”. Credit: Ole Salomonsen

“The corona I captured and the lightning fast sequences at the end are some of the most amazing shows I have witnessed in my many years of hunting and filming the lights,” added Ole.

And now for the most amazing part. What you just watched is only a fraction of what Salomonsen has shot during the season. Expect more soon!

Watch the Northern Lights Dance and Shimmer in “Silent Storms”

Aurorae were once believed to be warring clans of spirit soldiers, the skyward ghosts of virgin women, or the glow of fires burning inside celestial caves. Today we know they’re caused by ions in the atmosphere getting zapped by charged solar particles caught up in Earth’s magnetic field. But the knowledge of what creates aurorae doesn’t make their shimmering dance any less beautiful for those lucky enough to see them. I’ve personally never witnessed an aurora, but photographer Ole Salomonsen has — and he’s created yet another gorgeous time-lapse of the northern lights over his native Scandinavia to share their beauty with the world.

Continue reading “Watch the Northern Lights Dance and Shimmer in “Silent Storms””

Stunning Aurora Video: Polar Spirits

This year, there have been some epic auroral displays, and astrophotographer Ole C. Salomonsen has just released this new video which includes real-time recordings of these “polar spirits.”

“My main focus is on getting the auroras [to] show as close as possible to real-time speed given the time available in a short video,” Salomonsen wrote on Vimeo. “In the film I have tried to show the slower majestic dancing lights, as well as the more faster, dramatic and abstract shows, and finally the auroras in combination with city lights and urban elements.”

Simply stunning, and if you watch closely on the opening sequence you can actually see some whales breaching out in the fjord!

POLAR SPIRITS from Ole C. Salomonsen on Vimeo.

Fires in the Sky: Aurorae and Meteor Photo by Ole Salomonsen

A bright fireball slashes through curtains of aurorae shimmering above the mountains of northern Norway, captured on camera by Ole C. Salomonsen in the early hours of September 20.

Salomonsen, a master at photographing the Northern Lights, says this was the biggest fireball he’s ever caught on camera.

“The fireball lasted for about 6-7 seconds until it vanished behind the mountain,” Ole recalls. “By the way, this mountain is over 1350 meters (4440 feet) high, and I am standing only 600 meters from the foot of it, so do not be fooled by the 14mm wide angle lens! There was some very distinguished blue colors surrounding the fireballs edges. Never ever seen anything big like this!”

The mountain at right is called “Otertinden”, and is about a 90 minute drive north of Tromsø, Norway — a hot spot for stunning auroral displays.

And if you’re wondering if the aurorae and the meteor are really in the same region of the atmosphere, well, they likely are. Incoming meteoroids begin to glow at around 70 to 100 km up, which is also about the same altitude that aurorae are visible.

Although Ole stated that this wasn’t the best aurora photo from the shoot, the fireball and its reflection in the still river made him feel this one “deserved to go first.”

The photo was taken with a Canon EOS 1D-X and a Nikon 14-24mm lens.

See more of Ole’s work on his website, www.arcticlightphoto.no, and you can like his page on Facebook here. (Also he’s got a couple of great time-lapse videos too!)

Image © Ole C. Salomonsen. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

Grab a seat for the Celestial Lights show!


Painstakingly assembled from over 150,000 digital photos taken over the course of eight months, this stunning time-lapse video of aurora-filled Arctic skies is the latest creation by photo/video artist Ole C. Salomonsen. Take a moment, turn up the sound, sit back and enjoy the show!

This is Ole’s second video project. The footage was shot on location in parts of Norway, Finland and Sweden from September 2011 to April 2012, and shows the glorious effects that the Sun’s increasing activity has had on our planet’s upper atmosphere.

Ole writes on his Vimeo page:

The video is a merge of two parts; the first part contains some more wild and aggressive auroras, as well as a few Milky Way sequences, hence either auroras are moving fast because they are or they are fast due to motion of the Milky Way / stars. Still, some of the straight-up shots are very close to real-time speed — although auroras mostly are slower, she can also be FAST!

The second part has some more slow and majestic auroras, where I have focused more on composition and foreground. The music should give you a clear indication of where you are.

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The music was provided by Norwegian composer Kai-Anders Ryan.

Ole’s “hectic” aurora season is coming to a close now that the Sun is rising above the horizon in the Arctic Circle, and he figured that it was a good time to release the video. It will also be available on 4K Digital Cinema on request.

“Hope you like the video, and that you by watching it are able to understand my fascination and awe for this beautiful celestial phenomenon,” says Ole.

You can follow Ole’s work on Facebook at facebook.com/arcticlightphoto, and check out his website here.

Video © Ole C. Salomonsen. Music by Kai-Anders Ryan.

Heads Up: It’s Another Mind-Blowing Aurora Photo

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Photographer Ole Christian Salomonsen is a master at capturing the northern lights in all their glory… as this image once again shows.

Ole describes the story behind this photo:

“Shot at the end of a ‘weak’ aurora night in Muonio, Finland. Took this at outside the cabin I was staying at close to Harriniva. The outburst came from an CME that first started disappointingly weak. I was about to go to bed but thought I should wait just a little more and see. Man am I glad I waited!!”

Man, are we glad too! Thanks for sharing these amazing views with us Ole, and keep up the great (and chilly) work!

Image © Ole Salomonsen. Used with permission. See more of Ole’s work on www.arcticlightphoto.no.