The 1st SIGMA Astro Expedition concluded
The Astro Expedition took place between the 12.3 to 15.3 20203 in the Artic regions of the Nordics
The expedition was a collaboration between SIGMA and two of our Ambassadors, Lorenzo Mirandola and Luisa Schaffner, that runs Artic Road Trips (articroadtrops.com). Seven people joined us on this exciting expedition. A truly international group of people, they where from Germany, Italy, Hungary, USA and Australia.
We also prepared the best possible SIGMA loan equipment for the attendees. We brought 3 pcs of the fp L camera (61 Mp and excellent for this type of photography) and 10 lenses. Among them our latest F1.4 Art lenses that is prefect for Astro and landscape photography - 20mm F1.4 DG DN and the 24mm F1.4 DG DN - both Art lenses. Other lenses were our 14mm lenses both DG HSM and our 35mm DG DN Art.
The expedition started from Rovaniemi in Finland and each desitination was determined daily based on the weather- and solar activity forecasts, the aim was to find locations with clear sky during the night with maximum chance of catching the northern lights.
We started from Rovaniemi (Finland) with two vans. But first task was to, as a group, do the much needed grocery shopping for the four days. Then we took off in the vans and the first stop was Yllästunturi and a leg stretch stop at the top of the Levi Ski Resort and for a small photo session with the snow packed trees. We then started the hike of the first day to Särkitunturi - 3km up and 3 km down - and when at the top we could witness the sun setting (which happens quite early this time a year above the Artic circle). Then it was time to head for the Lapland Hotel in Ylläs for the first night. After a quick dinner we took the vans for a 30 min drive as Lorenzo and Luisa got information the nightsky would be clearing up and a good chance for seeing and shooting some northern lights. It was a relatively cold night with -28 Celsius (-18.4 F). But we had no luck with the weather and we could not really see any nothern lights. A bit freezing we went back to the hotel, where we arrive at 02.00 am and called it after a long first day. Nice first day and great feeling of the Arctic enviornment. And we think some of the groups realized they maybe did not bring enough warm clothes (note to those who wish to join next time.. bring WARM clothes)
After a late night last night we did not stress and after a good breakfast we where all energized and ready to hit the road again around 12:00. Lorenzo and Luisa shared the next destination at breakfast which was Andøya in northern Norway. That meant that we would travel nine hours by car all the way from Finland through the Swedish lapland region and over to Norway. When we reached Abisko for the first break after a long first leg. Then continued to Bjervik for lunch and some photo shooting at the fjord.
Then we continued towards Andøya in order to be in time for the northern lights.. we had strong hopes this night.
After another stop on the way to take photos of the milky way.
Arrived at the cabines at Risøyhamn by the sea and some time for sauna and bathing in the artic ocean.
Conditions for seeing the nothern light this night was execellent and just before midnight we headed out to see them. One of the cars slid slightly of the road into the snow and we all had to go out and dig it out. After that we could continue to the spot for watching the northern lights.
This night the northern lights really showed itself this night, the amaziong show went on until 4 am. Some of us got tired and one car went back to the cabins, and the other car stayed until the end.
Photos: Nothern lights at Andøya in northern Norway - Day 2
Both taken by Santeri Laamanen - SIGMA. He used the new SIGMA 20mm DG DN Art with Sony A7 III
A very relaxing morning as it was a loooong day yesterday and we left the cabines right before 14:00 and the destination today was Jockfall in the Swedish lapland. Which mean another 9 hours drive, this time back into Sweden and down towrads the North of the Baltic sea. The weather forecast showed a good but short window of clear skies conditions for tonights photography. As time was pressed to reach Jockfall for the window we took only few short stops (one to see a golden eagle and one for reindeers in a scenic view). It was a tough drive in heavy snow fall through all Sweden almost. But basically 120 km from Jockfall the sky opened up as promised and we did multiple stops on the rest of the way and got some really great nothern light shots. After a long and hard day we had dinner at 03:45 am and than hit the beds in the Jockfall cabines.
Photo : Santeri Laamanen - 20mm DG DN with Sony A7 III
We woke up to a sunny morning by the river kalix in Jockfall. We stayed at the cabines until after lunch and before deciding the destination for the night we went and checked out the tip of the Baltic Sea at Siknäs. Eventually it looked on the forecast that the best conditions would be close to Rovaniemi in the Rauna region.
Bit fortunate as Rovaniemi is the end station of the expedition as well.
However the weather was not really on our side as the clouds was catching up to us all the time and that resulted in us having to stop and go more instead of staying in one place in order to stay ahead. And the temperature was -25 Celsius and at 4 a.m. we called it a day after getting some nice pictures.
Tired but happy we all came back to the Hotel and went to sleep. Great memories!
/by Santeri Laamanen - SIGMA Nordic
Short background of our Ambassdors:
Lorenzo and Luisa are both passionate Aurora Hunters and Astrophotographers.
In December 2021 they founded their company Arctic Road Trips and since then they have been organising Trips all over Finland, Sweden And Norway.
Their base is Rovaniemi in Finland from where they start their Trips and Tours.
The goal is to show people the best and most beautiful places in the north and get the best chances to see the Northern Lights. All this they combine with photography to capture all the magnificent moments.
Check out Lorenzo and Luisa's previous road trips, on their instagram and their website