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!
As the Polar Night draws ever nearer, we have now come to the point where the sunset is in the middle of the day! Where I live we are – to all intents and purposes – already in the Polar Night. Although the sun is still there, as you can see from this photograph, you have to get on top of the mountain to see it.
Our church is still lit by the sun midday, but even from here you will see that there is a difference between the maths of when the Polar Night begins and when it does in practice – if you look towards the sunset on this picture you will see the mountains on the other side of the fjord. These will in practice hide the sunshine from all of Lødingen from the end of November. That makes the maths that say the Polar Night starts on the 6th December academic.
The picture was taken at five to one this afternoon. The Polar Night has almost come!
My colleague reports that Finnsnes is a bit “gloomy”. We have had our fair share of that too, but today conditions eased. Nevertheless, despite the sun now officially being “back”, we still haven’t seen it.
I thought that we might get a glimpse today; unfortunately it clouded over again. Even so I was able to photograph the amazing colours caused by the sun’s reflection in the higher cloud layers. With the new gas ferry, some of these photographs looked positively enchanting. The sun might not have made it, but the clouds and the colours were anything but gloomy.
It is said that the Arctic is a favourite place for painters. Now you can see why. The photograph does not really do the colours justice!
Looking out of my main window, I took the panorama shot below. There is a magic to these colours. Yet I still hope to be showing you the sun sometime pretty soon. If that does not get a move on, the Arctic Organist might just end up catching it first on the 23rd January!
This is where I now am! Thirty-three years ago to this day, Monday 10th December 1979, I was beginning my very first day at the now condemned buildings of (what used to be) Adwick School. After our concert at Lødingen Vestbygd this evening, I shall be writing more about that anniversary. This is the daily photograph from the Arctic North for 10th December.
This is the daily picture for Thursday 29th November!