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.
Where I live the sun is no longer visible. Due to geography, my home is already in the Polar Night. Nevertheless, the sun is still visible in other parts of Lødingen.
My colleague in Finnsnes has a countdown to the start of the Polar Night on his competing blog. It should be noted, however, as I have previously pointed out, that these dates are often academic. In Lødingen the Polar Night should not begin until the 6th December…. but of course, the earth isn’t flat, and just like the place I live in Lødingen loses all sunlight the last week of November.
At last! By very popular demand, and just for our loyal members…. the pictures from this part of the world, as we go into the darkest time of the year. The Daily Picture is back. What’s more, it’s all in a beautiful colour supplement. You can find it by going to the menu at the top of the page.
Yes, we’re sorry – we are two days late. We’ve been struggling with some copyright issues.
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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.
O winter that from us fleest fast,
each night is shorter than the last,
yet in the pureness of thy snow,
the night like day can also glow,
And on such nights as these I say –
oh that thou couldst with us stay!
When I was growing up in Yorkshire, I can remember very clearly a yellowy glow at night. If I were in bed, and I saw it, I knew straight away what it meant! I should excitedly go to the window – and sure enough should be in awe that it had snowed.
Of course the car had had to be dug out first…. or should I say, I had to dig a way to the garage in order to even get out!
But at least it was a good opportunity to use the black and white feature on my camera. I think that snow pictures are fantastic when taken in black and white. A lone barren tree, for example, in a cold snow setting suddenly comes to life…
Indeed the same can be said of the wintry road. This just would not look so magical if taken in colour!
This picture above is looking in the direction of the shore, and the picture below is in the other direction towards our church (not visible)…
Now of course you will be wondering about our schools. Clearly we had a lot of snow today. As we know from England, schools and snow don’t go together. You will imagine how worried I was when I went to teach my piano pupils in the afternoon! The place would surely be deserted?
Yet there were so many cars parked outside the school that I had to drive about 500 meters further, and walk into school by the school’s playing field… which (shock! horror!) not only was white with snow, but unlike our English counterparts, was completely so. There was not a turf of grass to be seen!
Not only was there plenty of life, but the place was bustling with children! Can you imagine that! You would think that they must be so traumatized. After all it had snowed, and what if one of them should fall and break an arm or a leg? I think this borders on child cruelty that the headteacher doesn’t close everything down on environmental health concerns!
Not only were the parking places – on both sides of the school – full of cars, but the children had come on their sledges. Probably some teachers had done too. They call these a “spark”, which quite literally means “kick”. So you could say the kids came to school today on a “kick”.
English people will see straight away how irresponsible we are! Norway is such a barbaric country you see, and schools go about their business without so much as batting an eyelid if it snows. What is even worse, all our public services carry on normally as well!
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!
Snow affects us all differently. How it affects us seems to change with age as well. I remember reading callmeSheBear, one of my favourite blogs a month ago, and that post pretty much summed it up for me.
During the Winter thus far, we haven’t actually had very much of it. That seems to have been rectified. The clouds are just rolling in, and instead of showering us in torrential rain every day are finally giving us the precipitation people tend to associated associate us with.
As callmeSheBear has noticed, there is a magic about the snow that transcends its nuisance value! I love it when the trees get covered like this. It’s also a very good indication of whether the snow is likely to melt too. When the temperature is at, or above freezing, the snow quickly melts from off the tree branches – so you can “see” from looking outside your window if it is above freezing.
Of course the snow really can be a nuisance. Once again I had to dig myself out, and all the way to the garage in order to do the shopping today. Some of my Facebook friends in England posted pictures of them doing the same, and a friend of mine in Carcroft really surprised me with the pictures he posted. Nevertheless, while it is clear that there is snow in England right now, I still think you English are getting off remarkably lightly…. that you should be making such a fuss about it!
So when I had finally gotten to my car, I drove first to buy my lottery ticket. If you see a flying pig, you’ll know that my numbers came up this week. In fact the lottery is on even as I am typing this, but since the telephone has not disturbed me I think it is fairly safe to assume that I shall not be going to Leipzig just now. I have decided that if ever I win it I shall take one month’s unpaid permission, and go to Leipzig in order to hear the one and only Thomanerchor. Oh well…
For me the snow is only a nuisance. I realize some people don’t like it, but I just don’t like having to keep clearing it up all the time. Nevertheless, it is all pretty normal, and unlike the United Kingdom we don’t stop every single service, and close all our schools whenever we see a little snowflake!
I can understand:
- that these days teachers often live at a distance from the schools they teach in
- that there are no studded, winter tyres in England (and these are also illegal too)
I cannot, however, understand why there should be the chaos every time it snows there. From what I can see, there really is very little compared to us. Yes it can be icy; but I cannot for the life of me think of meeting the same conditions as met me on my drive to Vestbygd last Monday – there was sleet, a lot of water underneath thick slush, all of which rested on thick frozen ice. Now that was slippery! I crawled along at about 25 miles per hour (see I even converted my speed for you!).
What is more, we are miles away from large population areas; most schools in England, closed even as one can see tufts of grass showing on their playing fields, are well within such areas. Yet snow apparently renders all civilisation helpless, for some reason. Perhaps they have the wrong sort of snow over there. It must certainly be very dangerous, given they have so little of it!
callmeSheBear is right, I think. Those of you reading this in England will have to read what she says about it. She rediscovered the magic of snow. Oh, and she has some absolutely wonderful photography on her blog as well.
“We drove back home from our winter walk in the woods, and I wondered when I lost that ability to see the magic in winter. I doubt that I will figure out exactly when and why I lost it. All I know for sure is that I saw a hint of some familiar magic in the snowy landscape that day and I want more of it.” – callmeSheBear 27th December 2012
That post from callmeSheBear was called “Feel the Magic”. When I see what has happened to my backyard, I completely agree!
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!