Northern Lights

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As I was going through some older images…

I don’t like to call it a “bucket list” – but rather I call it my “things to do in life” list. Everyone has one right? Well… on mine always right up near the top was to see one of the most famous sights in nature… the Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights.

I came a cross this image as I was doing some editing – it is from the one and only time I have ever witnessed the Aurora Borealis. About 7 years or so ago we had gone out to dinner one fall evening, and as we pulled into the driveway at home I stepped out of the car and was absolutely mesmerized by an intense and unique pinkish/red glow in the sky overhead.

It took me a while before I realized exactly what was going on, but when my brain clicked into gear I grabbed my camera and tripod and scurried down to the local golf course in an attempt to try to escape the light pollution from being in-town and get to a place that was relatively dark. The colors I witnessed in that night sky were stunning and unforgettable. I saw the most intense reds, oranges, pinks, yellows and greens. The skies overhead were on fire, and I even had to de-saturate the colors here.

Without any kind of interesting foreground to frame the scene, I struggled to do justice with the camera to what my eyes were seeing. I ended up pretty much forgetting about trying to take photographs and just stared at the sky for what seemed like ages. It is very hard to put into words what I was seeing, and I was in absolute awe of the phenomenon I was witnessing all across the night skies above me.

The light show lasted about 45 minutes, and sometime during that span I set up the self-timer and walked around in front of the camera hoping that I might be able to create a silhouette of my shape to at least try to add something of interest to the foreground. I remember the shutter was open for something like 30 seconds or so, and that I had to guess where to stand with my back to the camera so as to be in the frame, and I also had to stand perfectly still during the exposure so that my outline would be relatively sharp. I kind of like how this turned out… but unfortunately other than that one occasion, I have yet to see the northern lights again.

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