Sunday, December 8, 2013

A cold but beautiful night

The Northern Lights were out last night!  I must admit, I am a junkie.  On nights when the sky is clear, I can't resist checking the aurora forecast before going to bed.  Last night's check revealed that the chance for aurora activity was good, and others were posting on Facebook that they were already seeing the lights.  One of our bedroom windows looks to the north so Jessica and I took a look and sure enough, there was a green ribbon of light dancing in the sky above Mt. Josephine.  Once I see the lights in the sky it's pretty much impossible for me to stay in the house and I was soon heading out the door to photograph the lights.

My tendency is to head inland away from the village because I like as little light pollution as possible in my night images.  So, I took a drive up Old Highway 61 to check out some of my usual favorite spots for shooting the night sky.  By the time I got there, however, the lights had dwindled and were barely visible.  I took advantage of the lull in activity and drove around looking for a new location to shoot from.  I came across a road that isn't normally plowed in winter, but right now it is plowed because someone is logging down this road.  I figured there was a good chance of finding some nice trees for a strong foreground element to my shots.

Sure enough, near the end of the section of road that was plowed, I found a nice spot.  There was a nice glowing arc of aurora light in the sky, but it was very faint and really wasn't moving at all.  I spent the next two hours watching the arc of light, patiently waiting for the activity to flare back up.  At about 2:00 in the morning the lights got a little brighter and started to move a bit more.  That is when I made this photo.  The temperature outside when I clicked the shutter to make this photo was minus 15 degrees (Fahrenheit).  The lowest temperature I saw while driving around was minus 21.  Needless to say, after four and a half hours watching and waiting for the lights, it sure was nice to get back home and crawl under the warm blankets!

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