Aurora Freaking Borealis

I had just fallen asleep tonight, when my cell phone rang. It also acts as my alarm clock, and my first thought was “Nooooo, it can’t be 6:30 yet! I just closed my eyyyyyyyes!”

Instead, it was Libby telling me to look out the north window. Without my contacts in or glasses on my face, everything is blurry. But what I saw was a bright green sort of blurry. Skippy and I suited up (it’s 13° right now, at 10:50pm), and went outside.

I’ve never seen the northern lights before, so this was an amazing, first-time experience for me.

I managed to capture some of it, as you can see, but a lot is still missing. It was moving very fast, with the fastest bits turning red before disappearing.

About 1/4 of the visible sky was green, though most of it was just hazy. All the action was happening just above the trees.

I had just woken up, was wearing glasses (makes it hard to look through the viewfinder), it was 13°, and I found that the best shutter speed for capturing the action was around 45-55 seconds. My camera’s slowest built-in shutter speed is 30 seconds. I had also left my remote shutter release back in the house. So I got to stand there, holding the shutter button with my exposed hand, counting seconds out loud, while trying not to shake the camera. I think I’m going to have to prep my equipment before going to bed, so I’ll be better prepared next time. But, I think I got some decent shots despite the sub-optimal circumstances. :-)

6 thoughts on “Aurora Freaking Borealis

  1. What do you mean by it was moving? Does it roll like a wave? Or does it look like a flag blowing?

  2. Ryan

    It moved in 3 different ways: first, like a curtain being lowered very slowly. Second, rolling like a wave. Those moments were very intense, since it seemed like it was coming towards us, it was moving fast, and usually ended in flashes of red. The third way was like a long fuse being lit, where a bright point moved horizontally along the existing line.

    I’m going to prep my video camera for night shooting, so hopefully I’ll get some good HD video next time!

  3. MK

    Can I vote for Mother Nature for President please?

    This is truly incredible. Nice work documenting this wonder of nature. I am floored by the intensity of your experience…

  4. Jerry

    AMAZING!! Video please?!!!

    Thanks for sharing

    Jerry

  5. Jerry

    It’s like receiving news and images from heaven.

  6. It saddens me that in my life I will never get to see this in person.

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