Last year we visited Sanford Zoo to see their spectacular Asian Lantern Festival; in fact it was so good we went twice last year – and last night we returned, taking friends with us. Amazingly we saw almost no repeat designs from last year, with everything different but just as spectacular as our previous visit – and here of course, are lots of photos …
A number of the “lanterns” are animated (some even interact, responding to banging drums nearby!) so here’s a video compilation of some of the moving displays:
Our first visit to Iceland in 2017 was with an organized group; it gave us a great taste of the country but having to do what the group has planned, is a bit awkward sometimes. That trip only spent an evening in Reykjavik so we had added a few days to the end, to see the city (here). In 2021 we completed skipped Reykjavik though we did spend time in the other “major” city, Akureyri.
So this year we re-visited Reykjavik – it was a bit cold for walking about but we did it anyway. We also visited Perlan to walk through a FREEZING COLD manmade ice cave!
One reason for visiting Iceland in the winter was the hope to see the Aurora Borealis / Northern Lights; Margaret had an app reporting good solar activity so we were hopeful, though we something like 300 cloudy days per year in Iceland, we were gambling a little. We figured maybe we’d have to drive a long ways but with ten days to try, there was a hope at least …
Our first chance was November 26 after driving maybe 15 minutes from our hotel to get to somewhere with no street lights. But then the next night was better, and the night after that was better still – all we had to do that night was step outside from our hotel room!
So here’s a selection of the better aurora photos (all of them just using iPhone 12 handheld!):
I also took a couple videos again with iPhone 12; for this first video I used the timelapse feature over a couple minutes and was amazed just how good it came out for handheld!
On the last night from the hotel patio, the aurora brightness was so good and movement so rapid that I took a realtime video (again handheld iPhone) … while sometimes the aurora seems to be stationary but changes if you check every minute or so, in this moment the movement was changing continuously and obviously!