Snowmobiles in Polar Twilight

92mm  f/5.6  1/50sec  ISO400
Last year in late February I spent my Winter holidays in Longyearbyen on the Island of Spitsbergen up high in the Polar North of Europe. At that time it was the last days of so called Polar Night were the sun not rising the whole day. But since the first sunrise of the year was near it was not completely dark during day time. Instead it was 8 to 10 hours of twilight which produces such a mystic atmosphere over the country. The sky shines in colors of blue and purple to orange and the treeless snow-covered landscape is reflecting the same colors. It is such an incredibly beautiful and emotional mood, you cannot get enough of it. I already posted another photo of that location last year.

110mm  f/5.6  1/125sec  ISO400
I was on an excursion at about half up a mountain making a rest when a group of snowmobiles came by. The black mobiles with their bright headlights gave a nice contrast to the bluish snow and the colorful sky that I had to take some photos of it. The scene in the second photo with that line of black objects with red backlights following the path up the mountain is great. I love the beautiful color of the sky very much and the snowmobiles look so tiny in the landscape and in contrast to that mountain.

Taking photos at these twilight light conditions was not easy. You have to chosse a relatively high ISO value to get reasonable shutter speeds. But high ISO value causes image noise which is very unfavorable especially with all those plain-colored low-contrast areas. I had to make a compromise between image noise and shutter speed which ended up in an ISO value of 400. The shutter speed was at the lower limit for taking photos by hand without risiking too much shake. Image stabilization helped me with that. Only the moving snowmobiles are lightly motion-blurred. The photos were taken with my EOS 500D and my Tamron 18-270mm zoom lens. Camera was set to P mode with fixed ISO value and calculated shutter speed and aperture automatically.

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