Last night was interesting to say the least. It was predicted that there would be a great display of the aurora borealis (northern lights) on Thursday night, September 17. With clear skies I anxiously awaited the moment to hop in the Rav and head for the hills.
Time ticked. Hours passed. Nothing. Off to bed I went. The next day on the spaceweather website an article mentioned about how the aurora had missed earth. The predictions were incorrect.
With nothing forecast for a few days I had no plans of doing any aurora forecast but last night around nine-thirty p.m. local time I checked the Ovation Aurora website and saw a huge swath of green covering the eastern part of North America. Wow! This looked promising but the weather forecast was for cloudy skies overnight with a chance of rain. Pfffft.
Out of curiosity I opened the back door and walked onto our deck. Looking up between the tall maples in the yard I could see stars twinkling. Should I go? I could see a few faint clouds low on the western horizon.
I quickly set the camera up. I have a small scratch on the lens barrels of the lenses that I use for night photography. The scratch marks infinity. It’s difficult to focus at night. This is a time saver. The camera exposure was set to manual. From previous shoots I found that ISO 1000, F2.0 at 8 seconds is a good starting point. If the display on the back of the camera is too light or dark it is easily adjusted by changing the aperture or increasing/decreasing the exposure. I use ISO 1000 because with my camera body I find that it is easy to reduce and eliminate almost all image noise.
I grabbed my little headlamp and phone and headed off.
We have had unseasonably warm September weather reaching the low 20’s Celsius during the day. It was also warm during the evening.
Half an hour later and I was pulling off the highway to the little churches and cemetery by the side of the road. A hundred meters in front of me was the second church. I thought that I saw the reflection of tail lights as I pulled up and sure enough as I got out I could hear voices in the distance. Probably photographers doing the same as I. A minute later they were in their vehicle and driving away leaving me the church and cemetery to myself.
Already clouds were starting to fill the sky. Should I stay and hope the skies cleared? I decided to shoot what I could. The aurora seemed to be more obscured by the clouds than making themselves visible but that’s nature photography. You take what you can get.
Half an hour later the skies were completely overcast and I was on my way home.
Another day on the prairie,