My First Adventure with Northern Lights
June 25, 2015
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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!!
Instead of throwing away many of my ‘black’ images, after bringing up the exposure, I could still see some color in many of them.
Alas, most of the black shots looked like this after editing. So many technical issues I need to learn more about.
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.
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