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Steider Studios.Northern Lights.6.25.15

Closing in on the end of June and I’ve started many posts for this month but have yet to stay at my computer long enough to finish one!  Instead of going in chronological order, I MUST share my exciting adventure from last night.  I shot my FIRST AURORA BOREALIS!!!  I am so excited I can’t stop thinking about it and don’t even care that Mt. Adams is blurry.

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Wednesday’s adventure began when my friend Darlisa invited me to a ‘Solar Storm’ event on Facebook.  I’d seen all the Monday posts (with photos!) about the gorgeous Northern Lights occurring this week but it didn’t occur to me to stay up all night myself to photograph this amazing light show.

Steider Studios.Mt. Adams.6.24.15

Wednesday morning I studied blogs and help forums about how to shoot an aurora, then spent the afternoon scouting locations.  I chose this view of Mt. Adams because it was clear and close  ~ easy to get to & a short drive home.  Then I reviewed my camera, remote, lenses and chose the best gear I had for the task while waiting for late night to arrive.

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In spite of careful preparation ~ my wireless remote wouldn’t work; I couldn’t find the infinity symbol on my camera; I was out in the middle of nowhere by myself far later than my comfort level (11:45 until 3:15); feeling like I didn’t know what I was doing; the LCD on the back of my camera showed a lot of nothing but BLACK ~ and then all my worries disintegrated when I first saw amazing color on the LCD!

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A little side note, after about 15 minutes I had to get back in my car and maneuver it so the headlights were illuminating the field next to me ~ to be sure the sound of crunching brush getting closer and closer, and slurping sounds were indeed the cows I’d seen earlier in the day! Fortunately there was a fence between me and the cows!

 

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I don’t know if this is part of the Aurora, and I really couldn’t see it with my naked eye.  I’d see what looked like mist or a thin veil far off behind the mountain.

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I played with the ISO and shutter speed.  The widest I could get my aperture was around 5.6 ~ this makes me want to buy a better lens for this type of work!!

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Instead of throwing away many of my ‘black’ images, after bringing up the exposure, I could still see some color in many of them.

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Alas, most of the black shots looked like this after editing.  So many technical issues I need to learn more about.

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Of course I didn’t take notes as I shot, so instead of repeating my best efforts, I will have more learning sessions!  When all is said and done, I must say it was a fabulous first learning experience.

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Just after 3 a.m. I felt myself fading into the night and had to get some sleep. I grabbed one last shot of the stars above, then headed home. It was a gorgeous and glorious experience!  I’m glad I went out to shoot the Aurora Borealis and can’t wait for the next opportunity!!

I’m learning more about Northern Lights while trying to wrap my head around all the information at Space Weather Enthusiasts Dashboard and http://www.ips.gov.au/Solar/1/4

Steider Studios.Sunset.5.31.15

A beautiful sunset last night closed out the month of May.  It was full of hard work, but also full of adventure and good friends.

Steider Studios.Garden work fence finished.5.31.15

Yesterday my friend & neighbor Katie popped in with a trunk full of tools to help me repair my veggie garden fence.  After we finished I started planting this years crop.  Today I’ll buy more seeds and finish – I can already taste those yummy fresh veggies – an assortment of lettuce, zukes, cukes, carrots, and more!  Below the veggies are grapes and blackberries.

Slash pile burning

My giant ‘Slash Pile Burn‘ Fuel Reduction project through Department of Natural Resources is finally finished with paperwork submitted!  That was a long, hard, cathartic project, and I’m glad it’s done!  Yay ME!!  The image above is my friend Eileen who came up one morning & helped with her husband Jim.

Steider Studios.Friends

My fabulous ‘Gorge Glass Girls’ (Leila, Terri, Charlene, Kathy and Carolyn (who isn’t in this shot, but also an instigator),  gave me a wonderful gift:

Steider Studios.After Wings 5.27.15-3

They hired young men from ‘Wings’ to help bring up firewood from my now-cleared and burned forest.  These sweet, polite and respectful, hard-working young men – under the direction of Walt – brought up firewood from the farthest point of my property to the woodpile outside my back door.  They cut branches into wood-stove lengths and stacked as much as they could in a day.  Image above shows the remaing piles of firewood and I have all summer to leisurely haul it up.

Steider Studios.Merganser Family.Stevenson.5.25.15

My friend Nancy & I have been out on several photo adventures, looking for wildlife.  While chasing down a lead for a Wood Duck family we found a Hooded Merganser family!

Steider Studios.Heron in Flight.Ridgefield.5.11.15

We went to Ridgefield NWR, one of our favorite spots to photograph birds.

Steider Studios.Red-breasted Sapsucker.5.14.15

We went to Conboy Lake NWR for a day where we ran into friends who showed us a Red-breasted Sapsucker nest – can’t wait to go back and photograph babies!!

Steider Studios.Wood Duckling.Pink Reflection.5.11.15

And we went to Crystal Springs to watch Wood Ducklings learn how to be a duck.

Steider Studios.Owlet.Bingen Marina.5.15.15

I’ve also traversed the Columbia River watching my favorite little owl family grow up…..I plan to write a post on their progress from when I first found them.

Steider Studios.Pileated Woodpecker.Home.5.3.15

As I worked in my back woods all these months, I’ve watched more birds come to my now-open forest, like this Pileated Woodpecker;

Steider Studios.Western Tanager.5.15.15

and Western Tanager.

Steider Studios.Elk at Conboy Lake NWR

Now with most of my hard work finished, I plan to spend more time at Conboy Lake NWR watching for baby elk, baby birds, and maybe even see a baby otter this year!!  You’ll find me along the Columbia River checking all the Osprey and Woodpecker nests that I find.  And anywhere else that looks like a promising adventure!

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