I’ve now been retired from Merck for seven years. I worked at Merck in Rahway, New Jersey; Boulder, Colorado; and West Point, Pennsylvania for over 27 years. In the seven years since retiring I have visited six continents, 43 different countries (several more than once) and 44 states. I have been at sea for over nine months (four Semester at Sea Spring Enrichment Voyages; three Semester at Sea Semester Voyages (Spring, Summer, Fall); and two Hurtigruten voyages (one in Norway, and one to Antarctica). I returned to Argentina and Chile for a photography trip with Thom Hogan, and did two Iceland photography safari’s (one summer, one winter) with Mike Hagen. More recently, I attended photography workshops with Steve Simon in Cuba, Japan, and Portugal. Last summer, I visited Germany with my Brother and Parents. During this time I have taken over 1.6MM images. Not all of the images have made it into my posts yet… When at home, I’ve completed several renovation projects including a new roof, solar panels and a Geothermal HVAC system (replacing an oil-fired furnace and water heater, and an electric central AC system). With the solar panels and elimination of the oil furnace I am essentially carbon neutral since the Geothermal system requires less energy to heat and cool the house. I’ve also planted several wildflower meadows in the yard that are attracting birds, bees, and butterflies. I did have two down periods due to Lyme disease which slowed me down the end of 2016 and 2017. Now trying to decide on my next trip.
Gone to See Norway 2013. Chasing the Northern Lights. Day 10: Southbound Hurtigruten Coastal Voyage.
On the second day of the southbound Hurtigruten voyage, the MS Nordkapp stoped in eight ports: Mehamn (01:00-01:15); Kjøllefjord (03:15-03:30); Honningsvåg (06:00-06:15); Havøsund (08:15-08:30); Hammerfest (11:15-12:45); Øksfjord (15:30-15:45); Skjervøy (19:00-19:45); and Tromsø (23:45-01:30).
After going in and warming up, I went out on deck again early morning hours (just after midnight). One band of the green lights went all the way from horizon to horizon over the top of the ship. I switched to a fisheye lens and went to deck 7 where I could get this image (notice the big dipper). I had all of my cold weather gear on, and it was still cold, especially since the ship was moving at 15 knots. At this point you could tell who the hard-core photographers were, as we were the only ones still out on deck.
At the end of the day, I disembarked from the MS Nordkapp in Tromsø. I met up with a photographer friend from France (we both were on a photography trip with Thom Hogan in Patagonia in 2010/2011), and spent the next week in and around Tromsø “Chasing the Northern Lights”.
Gone to See Norway 2013 Chasing the Northern Lights. Day 9: Hurtigruten MS Nordkapp Norwegian Coastal Voyage Northbound (Båtsfjord to Kirkenes) then Southbound (Kirkenes to Berlevåg).
On the seventh and final day of the northbound Hurtigruten Norwegian coastal voyage, the MS Nordkapp stops in four ports: Båtsfjord (00:30-01:00); Vardø (04:00-04:15); Vadsø (07:30-08:00); and Kirkenes (09:45-12:45). After spending 3 hours in Kirkenes, the ship turns around and begins the southbound voyage stopping at three ports: Vardø (16:00-17:00); Båtsfjord (20:00-20:30); and Berlevåg (22:15-22:30).
During the stop in Kirkenes, I took the bus tour which includes a stop at the Russian border.
Just before midnight there were some faint northern lights. I had to increase the ISO to 6400 to get this image. You can clearly see some red in addition to the green color.
Gone to See Norway 2013. Chasing the Northern Lights. Day 8: Northbound Hurtigruten Coastal Voyage.
On the sixth day of the northbound Hurtigruten coastal voyage, the MS Nordkapp stopped in seven ports: Øksfjord (02:00-02:15); Hammerfest (05:15-06:45); Havøsund (09:30-09:45); Honningsvåg (11:45-15:15); Kjøllefjord (17:30-17:45); Mehamn (19:30-20:00); and Berlevåg (22:30-22:45).
On the previous night, the ship went to the narrow entrance of Trollfjord and shined high-powered spot lights to show the narrow passage and high walls. In the summer the Hurtigruten ships go into Trollfjord as part of the northbound voyage. In the winter they only go to the entrance due to avalanche danger. After the ship turned the lights off, I thought that I got an image with a glimmer of green from some low northern lights. The ship staff told me that it was just a reflection on a cloud from one of the fish farms. I went out again early in the morning and got an image that does show some faint northern light activity. Later in the evening, I got some more images showing some northern light activity. Several passengers asked why my camera was able to see the northern lights as bright green where they could barely see anything with their eyes, let alone with point and shoot cameras. The tour director on the ship was not yet making a ship wide announcement that northern lights were visible since he didn’t want folks to go away and say “is that all there is?”. Before beginning this trip I debated not taking a DSLR. Now I am glad that I did. These images were taken at ISO 1600, f/1.4, and 4 seconds. I didn’t have the tripod out with me so I held the camera body against my chest. You can see some camera motion in the stars, but it is not as bad as I thought it would be. For white balance, I used 3500 °K as a starting point since that is what I use when photographing star trails.