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Photo: Nicolai Solbakk Willumsen

4K time-lapse captures the auroras’ delightful dance

He skipped a party to film the northern lights. That’s a decision Nicolai (20) doesn’t regret.

Though he comes from a part of Norway where the northern lights may appear several nights a week, 20-year-old Nicolai Solbakk Willumsen never ceases to be amazed.

Living in Sortland, in Northern Norway, he’s spent a lot of time over the past few years learning how to capture the lights on camera. Do it right, and there’s a seemingly endless demand for great pictures and videos of the auroras online.

Last Saturday, instead of joining his partying peers, he got a tip from a contact at the webside that their magnetometers were running amok. As Willumsen is well aware, this means that an unusually spectacular aurora might be imminent.

With two friends, he went to an area that overlooked the Sigerfjord, and set up his camera. The result is this magnificent time-lapse video. See it with sound on full screen mode to get the best experience:

“We set up the camera around 11 PM, and set it to time-lapse mode. That means the camera will automatically take a picture every five seconds,” explains Solbakk Willumsen to Visit Norway.

“Then we headed to town to look at all the people. After a couple of hours, we went back to pick up the camera. When I saw the pictures, I immediately realized we might have gotten something great,” he says.

Willumsen published the finished film at the website Liveleak, where it soon hit the front page and got 30 000 views. After putting it out on YouTube, it was shared – and praised – by Russia Today and others.

Nicolai Solbakk Willumsen

“My goal was never to get a lot of clicks, really. But I do wish to showcase the magic that is happening here, to those who may never have seen the northern lights. For those of us who live here it might be commonplace, but it’s clear, from the response from other parts of the world, that people think this is really cool.”

To read more about the northern lights – why it appears and where you can see it – click here.

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