Aurora Basecamp September
Register here – Seats available
The Aurora Basecamp September is a 4-night (optional 7-night) northern lights photo tour and takes place around the village of Hetta in Finnish Lapland soon after the September equinox. Traditionally the weeks surrounding the equinox are providing a very good chance to observe Northern lights.
Autumn comes to its end, making way for the arrival of winter. Depending on nature’s mood we might be able to enjoy the last autumn colors, the first snow or both combined. Lakes and rivers will still be mostly open, giving us and our cameras opportunities to catch reflections.
At night we will try and find the ever-mesmerizing Aurora Borealis. During the day you will have the possibility to either recover from the nights or explore the area. We will also have at least two daytime excursions to some beautiful nature locations and maybe even see some reindeer.
In case you would like to stay a full week, there is also the ‘Make-it-a-week’ -option to book three additional nights of aurora chasing.
A maximum of six participants makes this an intimate photo tour. Each person will have a lot of time for in-depth discussions regarding camera settings, composition and anything else.
As always and everywhere, the weather is an unknown. The program and its order might change depending on the weather conditions.
Overview – Aurora Basecamp September
2019: 28 Sep – 02 Oct 2019 (or – 05 Oct) Seats available
2020: final date open
Make-it-a-week option: Book three additional nights 02 – 05 Oct.
minimum 4 participants
maximum 6 participants
Required photography skills
The Aurora Basecamp September is open to all skill levels: for those who are mostly used to the auto-mode as well as for those knowing their camera very well. Of course it is also possible to go on this tour without a camera.
Required fitness level
For this tour a basic fitness level will be sufficient. We will have some short hikes of maximum one hour to reach beautiful spots. During clear nights we will of course search for Northern lights.
Double room: EUR 1,150,00
Single room supplement: EUR 120.00
Make-it-a-week: EUR 700.00
Single room supplement: EUR 80.00
Included in price
– transfer from/to Kittilä airport (KTT) at predefined times
– accommodation in Hetan Majatalo in double rooms with bathroom
– half board (breakfast and dinner included)
– aurora chasing every night
– at least 2 daytime excursions to beautiful locations
– all other transfers
– flights in and out of Kittilä (KTT)
– photo gear (tripod, camera, lenses)
– travel insurance or any other private insurances
– lunches & snacks during daytime (grocery store nearby)
– alcoholic drinks
– warm overalls & shoes (can be provided upon request)
Our Aurora Basecamp September starts with the transfer from the airport Kittilä to hotel Hetan Majatalo in Hetta. After this two-hour drive we will check in and enjoy our first dinner of traditional Finnish and Lappish food. Weather permitting, we grab our camera gear and head into the night to look for the Aurora Borealis.
At night, we will try and find the Northern lights. In daytime we will have a lecture on aurora photography and at least two daytime excursions to beautiful nature locations.
You will also have time to recover from the nights or explore the area. For example you can visit the nature center and walk up the local hill to enjoy a wonderful view towards Pallas-Ylläs national park.
After an early breakfast this tour will unfortunately come to an end for those not staying the whole week. Transport from Hetta to Kittilä airport will be arranged.
You have the possibility to book an extra three nights from 02-05 Oct 2019. Choosing this option, you will make your stay a full week (Sat-Sat) and give yourself three more chances to chase and see the Northern lights.
All program is subject to weather and might change accordingly.
Hetta is located in the municipality Enontekiö in the Northwest corner of Lapland and around 800 people live there. Climate is rather arctic. The average temperature in September is about +5C (41F) and in October about -2C (28F).
Hetta is located about 220km North of the Arctic circle, 35km South of the Norwegian border and right at the northern edge of Pallas-Ylläs national park.
In walking distance from our accomodation:
Shops and restaurants: 350m
Nearest lake: 500m (lake Ounasjärvi)
Here is a list for the camera gear you might want to bring. Some of it is needed, some of it is optional. If you are unsure about anything, you can contact me during and after booking. We can go through your current gear together and figure out if and what you might still need.
Important for night photography and long exposure photos. 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. If you don’t have a tripod, you can rent one for 25 Euros for your entire stay.
Most suitable will be a dSLR camera where you can exchange lenses. Your camera needs to have the option of manual focus and a complete manual mode which allows you to adjust aperture, exposure time and ISO separately. There are also a bunch of suitable mirrorless cameras out there. Pocket cameras with a zoom might be ok in some cases.
Lenses (at least one needed)
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).
For daytime photography it is good to have a basic zoom (24-70mm, 24-120mm or the like). The variety helps you to create diverse photo compositions.
Remote control (optional)
Use during night photography or long exposures. The remote allows you to take photos without touching the camera to avoid blurry photos.
If you want to take photos of smooth water or moving clouds, you will need a neutral density filter. A polarizer can be used f.e. to create better contrast between white clouds and blue sky. A graduaded ND filter will help to balance the light difference of ground and sky.
Head lamp / Flashlight (useful)
Will be important during the night. If you can get a head lamp with a red light option, it will be helpful.
Spare batteries (useful)
In cold nights your batteries will discharge faster than usually. It will be important to have at least one extra battery 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 at night can be around 0…-7C (32…20F), at times colder. With most normal late autumn/winter clothing plus some layers you will be fine as we are still pre-winter. In case your clothes are not sufficient, a warm overall can be provided.
Best is a woolen layer. For example, merino wool is excellent.
A layer of fleece usually work well.
Top your layers off with a thick autumn or basic winter jacket and trousers, best for them will be windproof.
Shoes, socks and gloves
Trekking or hiking shoes will be most useful to navigate through nature, also they keep warm enough. Woolen socks will be good with these shoes. For your hands it is best to bring two pairs of gloves with you. A thin pair with which you are able to press the camera buttons, and thicker ones in case you get cold. Hand and toe warmers can easily be purchased online.
Head, face and ears
Make sure to properly protect your head and ears against the cold wind. A woolen beanie, ear flaps and a scarf will help to keep head and neck warm. A windproof hat is good to have when being out during uncomfortable weather.
For hot juice, tea or coffee to keep you warm during our excursions.
In case your fingers, toes or other body parts tend to get cold, it is good to bring warmers. There are many different brands, some sell variety packs like this one.
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