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Aurora Borealis

August 3, 2016

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Did you see it?  Aurora Borealis tonight!!

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The Aurora Borealis put on a fabulous show last night about midnight.  I was lucky enough to catch it but can’t decide which shot I like best.  I like them all for different reasons, but this is Photo #1 in the line-up, once the Aurora began her dance.

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She was already making herself known when I arrived and I caught a shooting star as I set up my composition and camera settings.

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And then she danced!  Just after midnight, behind my town of White Salmon the party started.  Photo #2.

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It was chilly and dark and difficult to manage at first, but with each check of my camera’s LCD my excitement grew.  Photo #3.

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While my eye saw a dark clear sky filled with stars, Aurora continued showing herself on the back of my camera.  Photo #4.

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My eyes could only see what looked like a whitish cloud or fog on the horizon line where you see a greenish glow; and I could see columns of ‘mist’ rising from that.  Photo #5.

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If it were a stronger Aurora, I might have actually seen the color my camera displayed.  Photo #6.

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The wind was blowing clouds overhead so I knew my time was limited.  Photo #7.

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As Aurora danced in the Columbia River Gorge, so did I ~ to keep warm!  And I drank coffee to stay awake.  Photo #8.

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My day started at 6 a.m., so this midnight hour was hard to keep.  Photo #9.

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The cold, the coffee and my excitement kept me shooting, dancing and laughing with delight!  Photo #10.

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I need your help!  ……  Photo #11.

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I need you to help me decide which of these images to print!  Photo #12.

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You can vote for your favorite simply by commenting which numbered photo you like best.  Photo #13.

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As you can see, they’re all numbered: #1 – 16 ~ plus the Shooting Star shot.  Photo #14.

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What a magical night it was!!  Only lasted for about an hour.  Photo #15.

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Just after 1 a.m. the clouds rolled in and covered the Aurora.  Otherwise, I’d still be there.  Photo #16.

Please let me know your favorite ~ in a comment here, via private message on Facebook, or via email ~ linda at steider studios dot com (all one word).

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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.

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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

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