The firey night of the Red Sands

So we eventually got a chance to spend the night on the beach of Red Sands. Up until the very end it seemed like we’d catch a cold. It wasn’t too smart to go to a sauna just before heading outdoors. But it couldn’t be helped, every news article was unanimous, there would be auroras that night. And it would be our last night in Lapland! The cold might catch us but we’d have time to be sick at home.

So we packed up, cleaned up around the volunteer accommodation and jumped into the car. As we drove to the parking spot (which, in this case, meant one would simply park their car on the side of the road), we noticed a car with French plates. So it wouldn’t be to crowded.

As we approached the beach and its wilderness hut, we saw the owner of the car – a French gentleman with his daughter. They’d come to see the auroras and for her, it would be the first time. He invited us into the hut but after I told him about our little 100 night challenge, he was very supportive of the idea. We pitched our tent fairly close to the water but not too close for the tide to drag us with it. This was when we started hearing more voices coming from the hut’s direction. A couple from Tampere had arrived along with some local aurora chasers. As we were talking, the first wave hit the sky.

They died down as quickly as they showed up and we started setting up for the next wave. We had plenty of time to talk about photography and life in general. The show began after a while and Heikki kept shooting and mumbling how he doesn’t know how to capture all that glory and how it’s so incredible to see something like this. What do you think, did he do a good job?

We took in the view and sat in the tent while the other photographers did their thing. The photos sen below are by the hand of one Tomi Valo. He told us he’d moved from Helsinki to Lapland and you could totally tell. I suppose the Southern dialect dies hard. He works in music and photography and mentioned that aurora chasing has gotten completely out of hand – his score for one Winter was 10 000 photos, I think? You should check out his Flickr account for more aurora shots and more. Thank you so much for the pictures, Tomi! If you’re reading this, accept our best regards!


The other photographer on site was Lea Alatalo whose photos you can check out here. She’s also a fairly keen on chasing after auroras and apparently the best ones always show up when she’s already on her way home.

Sleeping on a beach is something else, by the way. All the sand! It’s coarse and irritating and gets everywhere. But the view made it all worth it.


We had to basically run to get our morning coffees because the late night spectacle kept us up. But despite the early morning and sandy shoes, we couldn’t have been happier. See you soon, Pallasjärvi Lake.


In August through September of 2016 we were volunteering at Pallas-Ylläs National Park. We applied a new coat of paint to several huts and other buildings, first in Hetta’s Pyhäkero and later around the vicinity of Pallaskota. Everything involving this particular experience can be found under the tag National Park Volunteers. That and The earlier adventure aka our first Lapland hike can be found here.

This post was done in collaboration with Canon.






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