Interview with a Photographer Geir Lia Hammer, Aurora in Tromsø


Interview with a Photographer Geir Lia Hammer, Aurora in Tromsø's cover picture

Get to know Geir Lia Hammer a photographer and Northern Lights guide locating in Tromso. Geir has been a guide and has helped people seeing and taking photos of aurora for over 8 years. Let’s learn more about him and his aurora experience in Northern Norway! 🤓👇

Q: Please introduce yourself? Where are you from, and what brought you to become a Northern Lights enthusiast? 

"My name is Geir Lia Hammer and I have become a well-grown man who has passed 50 years old and now lives in Tromsø in northern Norway. I moved here in 1993 from Telemark in the south. My job was a carpenter and crane driver and since my health got worse therefore I had to find something else to do. So my hobby became a job when I was offered to be a Northern Lights guide in 2013 by a local company in Tromsø.

I have always fascinated by the Northern Lights that dance “daily” over our heads here in the North of Norway."

Q: How do you prepare yourself before going out to capture the Northern lights and what is the most challenging factor to consider when hunting the aurora in Norway? 

"Before I go out, I go through a checklist which means that I first check the weather, northern lights forecast, photo equipment, and clothes that I should wear. When I check the Northern Lights forecast, I go through many different apps and websites."

Q: What advice will you give to an aurora lover visiting Norway for the first time?

"The most important advice I would give is to bring good footwear and warm clothes such as wool that is closest to the body. Nothing is so frustrating as having to cancel a Northern Lights trip because you get cold. The temperature in northern Norway can easily drop to minus 20°C or colder during winter. And the important tip is to be patient because the aurora does not come by snapping your finger, you are expected to wait for hours."

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Aurora over ocean in Norway by @hammer_foto

Q: What is your tip to get a beautiful Northern Lights picture and do you have a favorite picture of all time?

"I personally like to have both foreground and background to make the image a little more interesting. The foreground can be a rock, ice, human or anything else. The background can be mountains, waterfalls, and water or the ocean.

It is a difficult question as I have taken tens of thousands of Northern Lights photos but to choose one it will be the photo taken on the island of Sommarøy at the coast taken in 2015."

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A man observe the colourful aurora over the mountain and sea by @hammer_foto

Q: Where is your favorite location to see the Northern Lights?

"In Tromsø and on Kvaløya where I live, there are countless beautiful places for Northern Lights photography, but to name a few. It will be Grøtfjord, Sommarøy, Ersfjorden, and Kattfjordvannet. My favorite location is a 2-3 hours drive away and it is the island of Senja."

Q: What is your best buy gear for aurora photography that you would recommend?

"My equipment is a Sony a7m3 and for that, I have two lenses. Samyang 12mm fisheye and 15mm Laowa wide-angle plus two good tripods. There are many good cameras and lenses for aurora photography I would suggest to contact your photo dealer for help."

Anyone who dreams of seeing the Northern Lights do not hesitate to travel to experience this fascinating and beautiful phenomenon.

Q: Have you ever had the most amazing or unexpected aurora experience that you will like to share?

"It must be my second trip to Iceland in mid-April 2016 when I got to experience a fantastic Northern Light while staying in a cabin nearby Myvatn in the north. A few days later of my trip I photographed the Northern Lights at Godafoss which was completely unexpected".


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Northern Lights over Godafoss in North Iceland by @hammer_foto

Q: Lastly, is there anything else you would like to share with the readers?

"Anyone who dreams of seeing the Northern Lights do not hesitate to travel to experience this fascinating and beautiful phenomenon."

You can follow Geir on his Instagram account, there you will see tons of his amazing photos. If you are traveling to Norway and look for an aurora guide check out Borealis Expedition 💚

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