The first day the sun showed himself after his two month polar night retreat, he did just that. We had a simultaneous sunrise and sunset. No sooner had we seen him than he had gone again.
Now after two days, we have already a significant “day” lasting about one hour, with proper sunshine. The weather has even given us optimal conditions. Everything is moreover lighter now. It is now reasonably light again at nine o’ clock in the morning, even though the sun doesn’t rise until 11 o’clock. It does not become dark again until three o’clock, and it is not fully dark until half past four.
Had Adwick, Doncaster been at this latitude when I was growing up, today would have been our first glimpse of the sun. Doncaster doesn’t have our mountains. Nevertheless, although we shall have to wait another two days before we see it ourselves, it was for the first time this year visible on the highest ground. On the horizon yonder a golden fire radiated around the distant peaks that at least for now kept us in the shade.
There is tangible collective optimism when the sun returns. Some people suffer from seasonal affective disorder, and for these the polar night can be a long time. In many communities, like Finnsnes where our competing blog Arctic Organist gets written, they really go overboard with a celebration in the church to which most of the schools come along. Then again, being further North they have good reason: they won’t be able to see the sun for another two weeks!
My apologies for perfectionists like myself. Because I have been taking so many pictures in dark conditions, I had left the ISO-setting at 1600, meaning that the images are a little too grainy for my liking. Nevertheless, in accordance with the policy of this blog stating “Although we reserve the right to use colour photography, black and white shall be preferred…” this is one of the occasions, then, when colour gets to be used.
We shall be getting a new employee in our church here in Lødingen in just over a week. He’ll be living in the apartment immediately over mine. Coming from Örebro in Sweden, he is going to experience huge changes even though he has missed the polar night. When he arrives, the day will only be a few hours long; by the middle of April, the last traces of night will be disappearing! The polar night has of course its counterpart: in the Summer from mid-May to mid July, the sun never goes down, and there really is no night from the last week of April to the first in August.
If anyone wants to experience the midnight sun then the best time to do so is the month of June. If you come in July, it is true that we have it until the middle of the month; but because things change so quickly here, one notices that the shadows are already getting longer with every passing day. If you really want to know what 24 daylight is like, my recommendation is the first two weeks of June. Then not only is the sun out 24 hours a day (if it’s not cloudy or rainy of course) – but it is still getting higher in the sky.
I shall publish some links to places you can stay in Lødingen later on. Right now, it’s bitterly cold. You wouldn’t really want to be here!
Though I’m not thinking of trying skiing any time soon – I have tried it once and am not planning on any future attempt – this is the time of the year when Norwegians typically get their skis and enjoy the “great outdoors”.
It would appear my colleague in Finnsnes has fared better than my comical attempt back in 1994, when I was the subject of not a little mirth in the municipality of Snillfjord. You can go read what he has to say about it on Arctic Organist.
I have only two words, both for him and his family – “Good luck”! I think I might just have tried it were my hands and feet not so important to me. I have never forgotten the time I broke my arm at school. I had just started to play the organ, and it was weeks before I was playing again. Then there was the catching up to do.
The weather we are experiencing right now is also typical Easter holiday weather. It’s what we associate with this time of the year, and it does tend to come to order – which is a little strange given that the date of Easter changes every year. Nevertheless, with blinding sun and beautiful nature, it makes for wonderful photography.
It’s hard not to fall in love with Norway! Yesterday I had to drive to Sortland for a new pair of shows (I was forced to, having been presented with a large hole on my left shoe virtually overnight). Nevertheless, Norway’s nature captivated me all the way!
Naturally, I took my camera with me. I’ve noticed you like the pictures. As soon as I reached Sortland, I started taking more shots.
Fortunately for my poor cold feet, I found a shop that was having a sale. I managed to buy a pair of boots for 400 KR, which is very cheap. As long as they get me past the slush of the spring melt, and into the summer I shall be a happy man.
After I had bought my new – dry – shoes, I made one last stop to photograph the Sortland Bridge. This is photographed below.
It now seems very hard to believe, but I have actually climbed this mountain thrice. That was in the days before I got ill in 2003 (for those who don’t know, I required a heart procedure that year).
This picture doesn’t look anything like as dramatic in colour! Putting it into black and white makes you really notice the mountain’s size, the brightness of the sun and the mountain’s snow.
Notice the block of flats. An ordinary house would perhaps get up to half their height, perhaps a little short of this. Yet the mountain towers over everything! The mountain’s name, literally translated, means the Shoulder of Lødingen. I just love this place:)
Does anybody have any thoughts about why some pictures are clearly better without any colour?
It seems strange, but I have noticed this before. There’s a lovely blog called Religious Buildings. That’s exactly the same. It just wouldn’t be quite the blog it is if the pictures of churches were in colour!
This winter has been rather special. We haven’t had that much snow. As you all know, because of global warming, we shall soon be able to sunbathe under palm trees from every street…
As you may gather from my cynical tone, I don’t hold much truth in that theory, but then neither am I so worried when it doesn’t snow. It means more work for me. I have to dig myself out. What is worse, when I have cleared a path to the garage, the snow plough comes along to clear the road – leaving a pile dumped at the swing (which is where my garage is) and I then have to manually dig myself out of that.
We don’t have a lot of the stuff yet. More is now forecast, so I suppose I shall just have to get used to shovelling myself to the garage every morning…. and afternoon…. and evening:( Thankfully the temperatures have plunged below zero again, making the snow more like dry sand. It is far worse when wet because then it is very heavy.
Everything looked so beautifully fresh and white today that black and white just seemed to suggest itself automatically. Perhaps you can’t see the problem I have with the snow plough on this photograph, so take a look at the next.
When the plough has come along, there is usually a wall of snow at the sides of the road, blocking my path from the garage. It is extremely, extremely irritating when I have spent half an hour shovelling free access – and then just as I am sitting down getting my breath back inside I shall hear the plough coming, and see to my dismay that I have to go out and start afresh. What is worse, the plough tends to leave more snow than there was in the first place! When this is wet, as mentioned above, this is backbreaking work.
Norwegians have a saying about the snow (at least my type of Norwegians, who aren’t fond of all the trouble that comes with it). We say “snow is nice – up on the mountain”! Nevertheless, I must admit that there is something very special about the lighting conditions when snow first falls. It conjures up a certain excitement from childhood years, and everything looks strangely different. You see things, quite literally, in a new light.
It is hard to believe that only two weeks ago there was no day, and only twilight. Today the sun came up at ten o’clock and went down at half past two! The light grows stronger each day, and this is made yet more powerful by the snow. I shall soon require my sunglasses in order to be able to drive.
So like the Brits, the snow has also come to us. Needless to say, we shall not be closing our schools, shutting everything down, and life will go on pretty much as normal. That is apparently not what happens in the United Kingdom, with much less of the stuff than even we got today.
I was beginning to think the rain would never cease. Today it did. We saw some wonderful glimpses of the sun, and had four whole hours of it!
As the sun was going down at quarter past two, I shot the above picture of the ferries. One of those is the new gas ferry, called the “Lødingen”. You can see her more clearly in the picture below.
We in the church were planning a tour on this. Unfortunately, we found out that today the new gas ferry would not be leaving Lødingen until after three o’ clock in the afternoon. By that time, of course, it is starting to get dark again. So we have postponed our tour until next month.
The gas ferry you see above is heading towards Lødingen Quay. You will see the soft, pink glow in the sky. A few minutes before this photograph was taken, I took a picture of the outgoing ferry (furthest out yonder, on the top picture) before it departed at quarter past two. You could see that same warm glow reflected on the mountainside beside our shore.
While I was down by the shore, I took a panorama of the fjord. It really did look beautiful.
Yet today the sun was back with a vengeance. I think today’s picture really has to be this one, taken just after our church service.
Not to be outdone by my friend up North, whose first glimpse of the sun is coming in only two more days, and whose reportage of that event I most eagerly am awaiting – up in Finnsnes they really go overboard in celebrating this – I have not only created the panorama of the fjord, but a 360 degrees panorama of our church. Now you can picture yourself standing outside Lødingen Church.
Don’t forget that if you click on these pictures once, you get the highest resolution. If you then click the picture again, it should reduce in size to fill your screen. You can then scroll right or left. Enjoy!