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!
Wow! The possibility of seeing the northern lights gives me goosebumps. Lucky you!
So far, I’ve only managed to see their effects (this time), but I plan to have another go tonight, if the predicted intermittent clouds give me, um, a break.
Nice job! I’ll be looking for the Northern Lights in our area tonight.
It’s unfortunate that they’re so elusive, but that’s what makes them so special.
A good way indeed to welcome in the month.
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.
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.
I did get up at four this morning, to find the whole lake enshrouded in fog. But a few ghostly Canada geese were sharing the calm solitude nearby.
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
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.
It must have been wonderful to be there soaking up the atmosphere! I hope the clouds clear for you tonight.
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.
Ah, that’s a shame. It often happens here that cloud cover coincides with a meteor shower or eclipse!
I commend you for the effort, Gary! It might not be what you intended to capture, but it’s very nice all the same. :)
The effort is (very nearly) always worth it, and there’s often a (usually pleasant) surprise lying in wait!
Beautiful image, my friend, really beautiful. And good story – a good night’s effort! – too. A :)
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
I wouldn’t doubt that they saw them as some sign and, since they are so beautiful and mysterious, beneficial omens for the future.
Like Adrian said, it’s a good story…I’m impressed that you made the effort and the photo is beautiful.