We are sailing….(Northern Lights 2)

After 2 days and 3 nights at sea, we have survived the euphoria of Sail Away, the Black and White Gala evening (which we avoided) and the disturbing consequences of opening our balcony door at the same time as the Stateroom door, to arrive at our first port of call, Alesund.

Alesund is known as the Art Nouveau town and walking around it is clear why. The consistent architectural style of the buildings came about due to the fire which devasted the town in 1904. Buildings made mostly of wood were susceptible to fire and, along with a prevailing wind which helped to fan the flames, the town was destroyed leaving 10,000 people without their home.

Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany helped to rebuild the town in the Art Nouveau style prevalent at the time and as the building was completed between 1904-1907 the Art Nouveau style dominated. Even the drain covers reflect the Art Nouveau period!

After lunch and a crafty afternoon snooze I went up to the photography desk for guidance on how to set up my cameras to photograph the Northern Lights. Before I watched John Maclean’s invaluable talk onboard about the Northern Lights, how they are formed, when they appear and how to photograph them successfully I thought it was a case of “point-and-shoot”. How wrong could I be?!

To understand how to take successful photographs of the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights), you need to get to grips with some of the science. It sounds daunting but its actually very interesting and helps to get the best out of your cameras.

Roxy, the amazing photo desk manager gave a comprehensive understanding of our camera functionality; f-stops; aperture settings; shutter-speed and ISOs all came together in a fail-safe way to get that once-in-a-lifetime photo. Before leaving the session, Roxy helped me to set up my cameras ready in case I should spot the elusive Lights; My fuji; Canon and i-phone were now on full alert and I wasn’t going to change the settings until I saw the Lights!

Earlier that day the Captain confirmed that we had sailed into the Arctic Circle and the chances of seeing the Northern Lights were increasing the further we travelled north.

Me and my cameras were ready.

(To be continued)

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