Shrouded Aurora

I learned yesterday, from Minnesota Public Radio, that there was a good chance that northern lights could appear at night, so I searched for and I found an article (on the MPR website) in which the author recommended photographing across a lake from a south shore. And since our cabin is on the south shore of our lake, I decided to see what I could do with the opportunity.

I stayed up until 1 am, checking out the sky every half-hour or so and, though the sky was a little hazy for the lower 10° or so above the horizon, overhead it was mostly clear, with many stars visible—but, as yet, there was no sign of any aurora activity. A subtle glow from a distant town was lighting up the haze in the northwest, but there was nothing to the east of that. It was a lovely night, perfectly calm, and quite a bit warmer than it’s been for the past week or so. I stood there for a good while just absorbing it all.

I checked periodically through the night, and by about 4:30 the cloud cover had spread to the entire sky, so no stars were visible now—but a new light source was illuminating the light cloud cover in the north, and it must have been aurora light from behind and above. I experimented with camera settings and made two good exposures with slightly different compositions; this is my favorite. I shot it at ISO 4000, 30 seconds, and an aperture of 5.6. Happy September!

About krikitarts

Welcome to Krikit Arts! I'm a veterinarian; photographer; finger-style guitarist, composer, instructor, and singer/songwriter; fisherman; and fly-tyer. Please enjoy--and please respect my full rights to all photos on this Website!
This entry was posted in Fleeting Beauty, Nebulous Notables, Night Photography and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

24 Responses to Shrouded Aurora

  1. Winnie Hurd says:

    Wow! The possibility of seeing the northern lights gives me goosebumps. Lucky you!

  2. Peter Klopp says:

    Nice job! I’ll be looking for the Northern Lights in our area tonight.

  3. A good way indeed to welcome in the month.

    • krikitarts says:

      September always feels nostalgic to me as we get ready to bid fond farewells to another summer. It still feels a bit strange (and quite wonderful) to be heading back into an emerging spring in a couple of weeks.

  4. Vicki says:

    A lovely composition and hopefully, you’ll catch the whole panorama filled with Northern Lights soon. I must say, well done to staying up late and getting up during the night in high hopes.

  5. Cousin Joan says:

    At least Gary you got to see something. All clouds here. We will be moving on Sept 15 and will contact you with new e-mail etc. Love your Cousin

    • krikitarts says:

      Moving is always such an unpleasant undertaking. I hope it goes really smoothly for you and I look forward to hearing that it’s over and you’re settling in again.

  6. Meanderer says:

    It must have been wonderful to be there soaking up the atmosphere! I hope the clouds clear for you tonight.

    • krikitarts says:

      It wasn’t to be. When I reached the shore at 4:15, I couldn’t see any light anywhere. I shone my flashlight up into the sky and found nothing but fog. But I heard a nearby ruffle of large wings and heard a few Canada geese stirring. I didn’t startle them into flight, I’m happy to say, as it would have been extremely difficult for them to navigate in the complete darkness, I would think.

  7. seekraz says:

    I commend you for the effort, Gary! It might not be what you intended to capture, but it’s very nice all the same. :)

  8. Adrian Lewis says:

    Beautiful image, my friend, really beautiful. And good story – a good night’s effort! – too. A :)

  9. krikitarts says:

    Thanks a lot, Adrian, it was a nice little mid-night adventure. I’ve tried again during the past two nights, but thanks to cloud and fog, there was so little light that I would have needed an exposure of about a quarter of an hour–but there was nothing to see anyway!

  10. shoreacres says:

    Even without colorful photos, it sounds like it was a wonderful night, and there is something appealing about that reflected light in the lake.

    I’m rarely up and about after midnight any more, but when fall finally arrives, there’s nothing I like more than being out with the night birds and fish, taking in the cool air and generally being happy that summer’s in the rear-view mirror. Spring and autumn both appeal, partly because of all the changes taking place, and partly because it’s a joy to be working outside in those seasons. Summer and winter? Not so much.

    • krikitarts says:

      I will readily agree with you that spring and autumn are my favorite seasons, and I one large part of me wishes I could stay a bit longer until the full color finally arrives, but we’re heading south early this year to welcome our new granddaughter (will post a photo soon)! Pretty much everyone here in Minnesota loves summer, and now we don’t have to worry about winter any more. I clearly remember one early morning about 20 years ago when I was driving to work between Moorhead and Detroit Lakes and heard on the radio that the temperature was -36°F and the wind was at 60 mph, which produced a wind chill factor of 100 degrees below zero.

  11. Even filtered by clouds I’d be thrilled. Never saw the lights so I envy you this opportunity. I hope you got another chance to see the shimmering dance of them.

    • krikitarts says:

      I’ve only seen them a few times here at the lake, but I have been privileged to witness a few unforgettable displays through my career while visiting Finland and Sweden. I find myself wondering what our prehistoric ancestors made of them.

  12. bluebrightly says:

    Like Adrian said, it’s a good story…I’m impressed that you made the effort and the photo is beautiful.

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