On The Hunt for The Northern Lights: Photographer Alex Kuznetsov
Rovaniemi-based photographer Alexander Kuznetsov has the most intriguing hobby in the world: He hunts the Northern Lights in Lapland, Finland. The best time to see the magical Aurora Borealis is in Autumn and in Spring, Kuznetsov thinks. That’s when the phenomenal lights are at their peaks.
On Saturday 14th of October young Alex Kuznetsov got a birthday gift to remember the rest of his life. It came, literally, from the sky. Kuznetsov, who was on his way to local nightclub in Rovaniemi to celebrate his 18th birthday, stood on the road watching the most powerful show of the Northern Lights that he had ever seen.
Kuznetsov forgot his nightclub plans and let the Northern Light mesmerize him.
Alex Kuznetsov, 37, is known for his media All About Lapland. Started as an online and print magazine for tourists, Kuznetsov’s channels has spread to social media. His Northern Lights pictures are the most popular content on his Instagram (23 800 followers) and on Facebook (53 000 followers). Check also his @aurorahunting account on Instagram.
Now in late-August the nights are dark in Lapland again after the Midnight Sun season, and the new Northern Lights season has just started.
“This week I have taken the first northern lights photos of season, after a 4 month break!”
Autumn and spring are the best time to see the Northern Lights
Over the years, following different kinds of forecasts and space forecasts has become everyday hobby to Kuznetsov. By following space activity and solar winds he can see the likelihood of the Aurora Borealis, and by following cloud maps he can estimate what are the best locations to see the Northern Lights. The Northern Lights can only be seen in a cloudless sky, and only when it’s dark.
Note: nobody can never guarantee that the Northern Lights will show up during your stay in Rovaniemi. However, a bit of planning might remarkably increase your chances. Statistically the best time to see the Northern Lights is during two equinoxes, Spring Equinox in April and Autumn Equinox, in September and in March. However, the most magical Northern Lights pictures and videos are taken during the winter months, when the combination snow-covered trees and colurful lights on the sky create a true killer shot.
“Most commonly the Northern Lights can be seen as a thin arch above the horizon. In autumn, go to photograph the Aurora Borealis by a lake or a river, and capture them with beautiful reflections on water. Personally, my favorite place to photograph the Aurora Borealis in Rovaniemi is the Arctic Garden and its beach nearby the Science Center and Museum Arktikum”, Kuznetsov says.
“But it’s only rarely when you can see the Northern Lights with bare eyes in Rovaniemi city center. Normally you must go somewhere where you can see the northern sky in total darkness.”
When playing with natural phenomenon such as Auroras, you never know what’s going to happen. Sometimes lots of effort is needed. Kuznetsov has driven three – four hours just to be under the only cloudless spot in Lapland and managed to see the light show. Once Kuznetsov drove his customers directly to Rovaniemi Airport after a Northern Lights tour to catch the 5.40am flight. The Aurora show had started late after midnight and intensified when the night proceed. The Auroras disappeared when the sun rose and covered them under its light.
Passion for Northern Lights became a vocation
What used to be a hobby has turned to vocation. Nowadays Kuznetsov produces materials for companies and news agencies, such as Reuters. Millions of people have seen his photos that are often spread around the world through international media.
Since 2016 Kuznetsov has organized private Northern Lights photography tours by request to travelers in Rovaniemi. Kuznetsov starts Northern Lights trips only if he expects to see the Northern Lights. He tells that as far as he’s ambitious at seeing the Northern Lights himself, he’ll be providing tours for visitors, too.
“If there’s a snowstorm outside or if the solar wind has low activity, I advise my customers to stay home”, he explains.
Because of the Northern Lights, Kuznetsov mostly lives at night time. When office workers go to bed, Kuznetsov starts his hunt for Auroras if the weather and solar activity looks promising.
“If I know that there are the Northern Light outdoors, I can’t stay indoors. I want to go out and take another picture of the Northern Lights, a kind of that I haven’t taken yet.”
Book your Northern Lights tour now
Dip yourself into frozen lake under the Auroras and let your mind and body float wearing rescue suit that covers your whole body and keeps you dry.
Great chance of seeing the northern lights in the evening! Visit also Arctic SnowHotel where everything is made of snow and ice
Hop on a car with our knowledgeable guide and get ready to hit the roads of the far up North to find the very best locations to spot the Northern Lights.
Northern Lights Hunting Photo Tour by Minivan with BBQ