Polar Night

Welcome to Longyearbyen, a small town up high in the north of the arctic ocean on the island of Spitsbergen. It was the destination of my recent winter vacation.

The photo shows a group of homes that I like very much. These nice little houses standing next to each other, all looking the same, but every one in a different color. This gives a lovely scenery. The snow covered mountains in the back are looking cold and uninviting. They are slightly illuminated by the city lights. That this is in the high Arctic is visible by the fact, that there are no plants growing, no trees, no bushes, just some grass beneath the snow. And we are at about the sea level, not high in the mountains. In front of the houses is a snow mobile track. The white line is the head light trail of a passing snow mobile. You can clearly see how bumpy the track is. One other interesting fact are the stars. The one on the right is not really a dot, it is a short line. This is because of the long exposure time and the fact that our earth is rotating. The star has moved that distance during photo capturing. The star in the center is partly covered by clouds and thus the movement has no effect here because it was visible a short time only. The photo was taken during the late afternoon hours. You see the strong blue of the last twilight in the sky. These were the last days of polar night. The twilight lasts longer every day and soon the sun is rising up the horizon. Even it was freezy cold the balcony door at the first house is open. What crazy people must live there.

The setup and settings were typically for night shots. I've mounted my EOS 500D on a tripod and activated shake protection. The lens I used this time was my EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Kit lens with a selected focus length of 18mm. The camera was set to aperture mode with an aperture of 8 to get a nicely clear photo. ISO was set to 100 to produce as little noise as possible in the photo. The camera has calculated a shutter speed of 30 seconds.