Our Northern Lights Basecamp March starts with the transfer from the airport Kittilä to Hetta. After this two-hour drive we will check into our accomodation Hetan Majatalo and enjoy our first dinner. 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 almost every day excursions to beautiful nature locations.
You will also have time to recover from the nights or explore the area. For example you can go on a husky tour or 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 and we will have to pack our things to drive to Kittilä airport.
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 arctic. The average temperature in the end March is about -5C (23F).
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 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 two 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. With average temperatures of -2…-10C (28…14F) in the end of March, you need to be prepared. During the night it can be pretty cold, sometimes about -20C (-4F). 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 a 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.
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