2019-20 New Year’s Aurora Getaway
2019/2020: Sold out (Wait list: 5 persons)
2020/2021: 5 seats available – register here
If you want to do something very special for New Year’s 2019-20, this is it. The 4-night (optional 7-night) New Year’s Aurora Getaway takes place about 310km inside the Arctic circle around the village of Kilpisjärvi in Finnish Lapland. We will have special light conditions as we will experience the polar night. This does not mean that it would be 24 hours darkness. For several hours, the sun will be close below the horizon, creating moody light. Once darkness sets, we will look into the skies for the ever-mesmerizing Aurora Borealis. With the moon being very small, it’s more likely to capture more colors and details of the Northern lights.
The highlight will be New Year’s Eve. First we will celebrate in Finland, hopefully with a mix of fireworks and Northern lights. Soon after that we will head towards Norway. We enter another time-zone and have the chance to celebrate the New Year a second time.
In case you would like to stay a full week, there is also the ‘Make-it-a-week’ -option to book three additional nights with aurora chasing.
A maximum of six participants makes this an intimate New Year’s Aurora Getaway. Each person will have a lot of time for in-depth discussions regarding photos, camera settings, composation and anything else.
As always and everywhere, the weather is an unknown. The program and its order might change depending on the weather conditions.
Join me on this special photo tour and let’s start the new year with nature’s own fireworks!
2019/20: 29 Dec 2019 – 02 Jan 2020 – Sold out
2020/21: 28 Dec 2020 – 02 Jan 2021 – 5 seats available
Make-it-a-week option for 2020/21: Book two additional nights 02 – 04 Jan.
minimum 4 participants
maximum 6 participants
Required photography skills
This tour is open to all skill levels, from beginners to professionals. Of course it is also possible to go on this tour without a camera.
Required fitness level
This tour requires no special fitness level. We will do short walks through the snow.
Price for 2019/20
Double room: EUR 1,425,00
Single room supplement: EUR 275.00
Make-it-a-week: EUR 965.00
Single room supplement: EUR 125.00
Pricing for 2020/21 not available yet
Included in price
– transfer from/to Kittilä airport (KTT) at predefined times
– accommodation in Kilpisjärvi in cottages (2 bedrooms per cottage with shared bathroom, sauna, kitchen and living room)
– aurora chasing every night
– a visit to the fjords in Norway
– warm overalls and shoes
– all transfers to photo locations
– flights in and out of Kittilä (KTT)
– photo gear (tripod, camera, lenses)
– travel insurance or any other private insurances
– dinner, snacks during daytime, alcoholic drinks
Our New Year’s Aurora Getaway together starts with the transfer from the airport Kittilä to Kilpisjärvi. The three-hour drive will likely be in darkness and on the way we will check the skies and hope to see the Aurora Borealis. It is good to have winter clothes packed so that they can be easily reached. Once in Kilpisjärvi we will check in to the cottages of Tundrea and then enjoy our first dinner together. Weather permitting, we grab our camera gear and look for more Northern lights.
We start the day with an introduction about the Northern lights and how to take photos of auroras. Afterwards there is time to explore the village of Kilpisjärvi. At our accommodation, saunas can be used freely whenever you want. At night we will head out to search Northern lights.
Day 3 – New Year’s Eve
As the day before, we will head out into nature for more photo opportunities. In the evening we can go for a New Year’s Eve dinner. Afterwards, we get ready to head out and search for the last Northern lights of the year 2019 – and the first New Year’s Aurora of 2020. Our first midnight will be in Finland, after which we will head to Norway, celebrating the New Year 2020 for a second time due to the time zone difference. Late at night we will return to our accomodation.
Day 4 – New Year
Today you can choose to relax or visit Lyngenfjord. After the long night yesterday, you can relax in your cottage and walk around Kilpisjärvi. In the evening we will head out once more to look for auroras.
For those who are still energized: Around noon (time to be confirmed) we will head towards Skibotn, Norway. After a 50 min drive we will reach the wonderful fjord landscape of Lyngenfjord with plenty of photo stops. We shall be back in Kilpisjärvi well before dinner time.
After an early breakfast this trip will unfortunately come to an end for those not staying the whole week. Transport from Kilpisjärvi to Kittilä airport is arranged.
You have the possibility to book an extra three nights from 02-05 Jan 2020. Choosing this option, you will make your stay a full week (Sun-Sun) and gives you three more chances to see the Northern lights. In daytime you can either relax, explore or have additional activities such as a snowmobile safari.
All program is subject to weather and might change accordingly.
Kilpisjärvi is located in the municipality Enontekiö in the Northwest corner of Lapland, about 310km North of the Arctic Circle. The population density here is around 0,24 / sqkm. Climate is arctic. The average annual temperature in Kilpisjärvi is about -1C (30F) and in January about -13C (9F).
The village lies at fell Saana, about one hundred people live here, right at the borders to Norway and Sweden. Here, near the tundra, no forest grows anymore. Only downy small birches give a hint that under all that snow is some fertile soil. From Kilpisjärvi it is possible to discover the unique Käsivarsi Wilderness area (possible only with a local guide) with mountain peaks above 1,000m. Only 60km into Norway lies the fjord Lyngen with a view to the famous Lyngen Alps.
In walking distance:
Shops and restaurants: 600m
Lake Kilpisjärvi with good view for Northern lights: 400m
Essential for night and aurora photography. The tripod will minimize camera shaking. Handheld photos in darkness will not be sharp. To adjust settings comfortably, the tripod should be nearly your height.
Any camera with the option of manual focus and a complete manual mode which allows you to adjust aperture, exposure time and ISO separately. Most suitable are dSLR cameras as well as newer mirrorless cameras. Pocket cameras with a zoom might be ok in some cases, you can contact me for that when booking.
For night and aurora photography you should bring a fast lens (meaning wide aperture, with a small f-number like f/2.8 or better) to make the most of the available light. Lenses with f/4.0 are doing fine also but you might have to crank up the ISO. Auroras often stretch all across the sky. To capture a big part of it, you want to have a wide-angle lens (24mm or wider).
If you bring a compact camera, make sure the lens is f/2.8. Again, you can contact me for that when booking.
Remote control (optional)
Use during night photography or long exposures. The remote allows you to take photos without touching the camera.
Head lamp / Flashlight
Will be important during the night. If you can get a head lamp with a red light option, it will be helpful.
In cold weather your batteries will discharge quite fast. It will be important to have at least two extra batteries with you. Using hand warmers, you can revive the batteries to get the last bit of energy out of them.
To read more about aurora photography, check out my aurora guide ‘Fox Fires’, part 4.
Make sure you have the right clothing. Temperatures can be around -20..-30C (-4…-22F), at times colder. You will receive an overall and thick shoes, but under it, it is important to have several layers.
Best is a woolen layer. For example, merino wool is excellent.
Another woolen layer and some fleece layers usually work well.
Top layer (under the overall)
Top your layers off with a winter jacket, best for them will be windproof.
Shoes, socks and gloves
They will be essential as your toes and fingers will be one of the biggest challenges to keep warm. Hand and toe warmers can easily be purchased online. Important: Operating the camera in the cold without gloves can be tough. Get a thin pair with which you are able to press the camera buttons. These thin gloves can be worn under thick ones.
Head, face and ears
Make sure to properly protect your head and ears against the cold. Having windproof, fur type of hat with ear flaps makes a big difference. A balaclava helps to keep your face warm, especially your nose and cheeks.
For hot juice, tea or coffee to keep you warm during our excursions.
To backup your photos from the camera and editing. If we are extremely unlucky with the weather, we will do some post processing in Lightroom.
15% due within 14 days after registration
85% due latest 30 days before tour start
Cancellation and refunds
Up to 60 days before tour start: Full refund minus an administration fee of EUR 100.00
59-30 days before tour start: 85% refund of the entire trip’s cost
29-15 days before tour start: 50% refund of the entire trip’s cost
Less than 15 days before tour start: 5% refund of the entire trip’s cost
Feedback from participants
Here you can read what participants wrote, who were already on this photo tour. On the Testimonials-page feedback from all the tours is put together.
BEST New Years ever! How fun to celebrate twice, once in Finland followed by a quick jump across the border to Norway, yay for an hour time difference. Sooo glad I opted for the weeklong version of the New Years Getaway. It was just the perfect combination of nightlong aurora hunting and quiet days to relax and enjoy the surrounding area on my own; sprinkled with group excursions exploring the beautiful landscape during daytime, from short trips to experience the magical sunset and blue hour to an all-day trip to a fjord in Norway. “Stooooop, look, reindeers!” And always plenty of time to take oh so many photos, what a luxury to never be rushed.
Thomas, thank you for generously sharing your photography knowledge, I could have never captured the special Polar Night mood without your help and for getting me started on star trail photography. Your passion for northern lights and love for Lapland is contagious, so glad we were kept indoors once by a snowstorm so we could focus on your workshop, taking full advantage of your expertise and experience. I learned so much!
This tour was everything I was hoping it would be for New Years: adventure and time to relax, unscheduled alone time and group excursions, lots of chances to advance my photo skills with results keeping me busy editing my raw files all year long.
Thank You * Kiitos 🙂 hope to do this again in the near future!
Vor ca. 3,5 Jahren lernte ich durch meinen Partner Thomas und seine enorme Begeisterung für Polarlichter kennen. Inzwischen bin ich genauso süchtig nach den tanzenden Lichtern am Himmel und seit ca. 2,5 Jahren fotografiere ich auch selbst.
Silvester in Lappland mit Lady Aurora und einmal die Polarnacht erleben – das klang höchst verlockend und ich wollte unbedingt dabei sein. Also meldete ich mich kurzerhand an.
Am Flughafen angekommen, wurden wir schon erwartet, um zu unseren Unterkünften gebracht zu werden. Doch weit kamen wir nicht, denn schon nach kurzer Zeit hielten wir an, um die ersten Polarlichter zu fotografieren. Wow, genauso hatte ich mir das vorgestellt. Wir freuten uns wie kleine Kinder zu Weihnachten und die Stimmung war ausgelassen. Was für eine Begrüßung.
Auch im weiteren Verlauf der Reise, gab es unzählige großartige Momente und es ist mir ein absolutes Rätsel, wie Thomas es trotz gegenteiliger Wettervorhersagen und wolkenverhangenem Himmel immer wieder schafft, genau die Stelle zu finden, von wo aus man doch die magischen Lichter sehen und fotografieren kann.
Ich kann gar nicht sagen was mir am besten an dieser Reise gefallen hat, denn für mich war sie rundum perfekt. Angefangen bei der Unterkunft, über die vielen verschiedenen Ausflugsziele in der Nacht und auch am Tag inklusive der atemberaubenden Polarlichter, die Zeit zum Ausruhen, Saunieren oder die Umgebung einfach mal auf eigene Faust zu erkunden bis hin zum einzigartigen Erleben der Polarnacht, die mich in ihrer Farbenvielfalt und ihrem Zwielicht sehr beeindruckt hat. Allem voran aber Thomas, der mit seinem unglaublichen Engagement, Fachwissen, Leidenschaft und Sympathie nicht nur die ganz besondere Silvesternacht sondern die gesamte Reise zu einem unvergesslichen Erlebnis für mich machte, die ich in großartigen Fotos festhalten konnte.