When photographer Harald Warholm came up with the idea to shoot a time-lapse featuring one of Norway's most iconic mountains, Torghatten, little did he know it would take several years to properly execute it.

That's because this particular time-lapse captures not just a beautiful view, but also a stunning moment in which the sun peeks through Torghatten's famous tunnel, which runs straight through the middle of the mountain.

Not surprisingly, there were several logistical struggles Warholm had to overcome to capture this rare moment, the most pressing of which was figuring out the exact time that this celestial phenomenon happens. Much like the famous Manhattanhenge, this Nordic alignment only occurs twice a year (in spring and autumn). Even after he figured out the rough timing, Warholm was confronted with another hurdle: Poor weather.

These challenges continued to thwart him for years — up until a few days ago. With both the timing and weather on his side, he was finally able to catch the time-lapse he'd dreamed about.

"As a photographer, I live for these moments when several years of work finally pays off," Warholm explains on his Vimeo page, where he uploaded the short yet sweet clip following a bit of post-production using Adobe After Effects and a handy tool called LRTimelapse.

If you're curious to see what the mysterious Torghatten looks like in the daylight, search no further:


Photo: Rosino/Flickr

Although it might appear tiny from a distance, Torghatten's natural tunnel is quite large. Measuring about 115 feet in width and 66 feet in height, the tunnel extends 520 feet through the granite mountain. Hikers are easily dwarfed by this magnificent cave, as evidenced in the photo below.

Inside Torghatten

Photo: Orcaborealis/Wikimedia

So, how did this fascinating tunnel come to be? Scientists theorize that it was formed during the last Ice Age when the rock on the lower portion of the mountain was loosened and eroded by water while the summit remained mostly unscathed. This, of course, is the logical explanation, but if you prefer explanations that involve mythical troll kings, there's a great story for that, too!

Legend says that the tunnel was made by the troll Hestmannen, who was pursuing a beautiful woman named Lekamøya. Upon realizing he wouldn't be able to catch her, Hestmannen instead decided to kill her with an arrow. Luckily, the troll king Sømna was there to toss his hat in the path of the arrow, saving the woman. Now Sømna's hat — complete with a hole from Hestmannen's arrow — lives on in the form of Torghatten.


Photo: Stefan Schurr/Shutterstock

* * *

Catie Leary is a photo editor at Mother Nature Network. Follow her on Twitter and Google+.