sweden

The most unexpected northern light sighting.

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During our way back to Stockholm, we stopped by Sunsvall for a night. Sunsvall is further from the arctic circle compared to the Kiruna, Abisko, and Lofoten so we didn’t expect to be able to see the northern lights there.

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But we are wrong! After we checked in, we decided to go to the city center for our dinner, but when we got into our car, I saw the sky glowing green right above our heads.Then I realized it was the northern lights!

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We are all pumped up! we quickly googled a better location with less light pollution compared to our hotel,  we found a lake nearby and we drove there as fast as we could.

CMY_PHOTOGRAPHY-3The lake was frozen and surrounded by threes, it was a great location! When we got there the Northern light gets really intense and it was incredible to be able to see it up close, it was right above us, it was an epic experience for us! but after few minutes of northern light shooting, clouds started to came by and block our view. We are unprepared for the cold night and we headed back to our hotel.

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Our hotel is on top of a mountain, the view there is spectacular. It was quite late, all of my friends are going to bed, but I didn’t give up, I went outside and tried my luck on the northern lights. I was lucky, the sky cleared up and the aurora light show appears again, the weather and the strenght of the northern light was so great, I can see the light even on top of the city, where the light pollution is very high.

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After realizing how lucky I am, I quickly found a spot and point my camera straight up and started to take photos. When the northern lights are right above you, it is a lot more beautiful then looking at them in a distance, it was surreal!

CMY_PHOTOGRAPHY-6And this is where I got  my favorite northern light photos, the Angel.

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Ice Hotel, Sweden.

During my recent trip to Sweden, I visited the famous Ice Hotel. The hotel is made out entirely with natural ice and snow. Since we are on a tight budget, we didn’t stay at the hotel, we went there and joined the guided tour.

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But unfortunately, we are there before the completion of the 2016 Ice Hotel, as they rebuild the hotel each year with different design submitted from designers around the world. The Ice Bar, Ice Church and some of the rooms are not yet ready. We are slightly late for the tour and we need to chase up the tour at the area where they carve all the ice. After that the guided brought us to the rooms and since the tour are too big, we are ask to walk around the room ourself and if a we had any question we can ask the guide ourself.

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The rooms are smaller then I expected, maybe its unfinished, but some of the design are really amazing. It is quite challenging trying to take photographs of all the rooms and there are large amount of tourist during my visit and getting a clean shot of the room means I need to be either faster then the other or wait until the crowed goes to the other room.

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Another challenging factor is the lightning condition in the rooms. I don’t have my tripod with my during the guided tour, and I need a smaller aperture to get everything in the room sharp. I used all kind of methods to be as steady as possible.

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The above design is one of my favorite! I am sorry I forget to note down the designer’s name for the rooms. I think you can get more info from their official website.

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The Snice (a combination of ice and snow) ice to build the hotel has a higher density than snow and therefore is a better insulated and it melts slower. No matter what is the temperature outside, the rooms are always between -3degree to -5degree. ( well thats still very cold ! )

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The idea of getting room designs from all around the world is very interesting! (Maybe I could submit a design next time. 😛 )

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I was very impressed by the cool rooms, but It’s a bit sad that I don’t get the chance to see the famous Ice bar and Ice Church.