Taken Away…

taken away, aurora borealis, northern lights, autumn, foggy, fog, landscape, long exposure, night time, stars, clouds, Dan Jurak, Alberta, autumn,

For most of Thursday it poured. And it poured. And it poured.

The skies were dark and heavy yesterday. Hanging just above the horizon they looked more like the dark clouds of November than mid September.

The NOAA had issued a forecast later in the day saying that a G2 class storm would hit the earths atmosphere soon and that would be sure to spark auroras over the northern and southern hemispheres.

I looked at the forecast, more specifically the Cleardarksky.com website to see what the cloud cover might be overnight and it wasn’t looking promising for the Edmonton area. A couple of hundred kilometres north of me was clearing but I didn’t want to drive that far to see the lights so I waited, hoping that maybe the forecast would be wrong.

Around 5pm when Environment Canada updates their local forecasts there was a chance of frost predicted overnight for areas just north of me. Frost? After having chased foggy and frosty mornings for many years I knew that frost doesn’t usually form when the skies are cloudy. Clear skies I thought?

For the rest of the evening I kept stepping out onto the deck and looking north to see what the sky looked like. It was starting to break up. No longer solid, heavy, grey skies, there were large breaks of blue among them.

Finally just before bedtime I decided to take a short drive north, maybe to nearby Bon Accord and just scout out the skies. If the clouds were too heavy I would turn around and be home by 10:30 pm.

As soon as I left the city limits I started seeing fog on the road. At first light and then heavy. The fog was so heavy that I slowed down until it lightened up a big and then hurried north while watching both the road ahead of me and the sky above.

Ten minutes later and the fog was getting heavier again as I neared the valley where a small river coursed. Valleys like this are usually the first to become foggy and the fog was thick and heavy there. Should I turn around or stop and watch for a few minutes? I pulled over just before the bridge and started taking pics as cars and trucks made their way along the highway.

Happily I had decided to wear long pants and a hoody over my fleece jacket because with the humidity it was feeling cool. Close to 0 Celsius I figured.

After a short while I locked my vehicle and carefully made my way along the shoulder of the highway towards the bridge ever aware of being off the road should a vehicle come my way and SMACK end my photography for the evening.

At the bridge the fog was even thicker and the clouds that were above me were reflecting the lights of the villages nearby. I snapped away watching the aurora behind the clouds stopping occasionally to observe the stars twinkling directly above and then it happened.

It was an unmistakable sound. It was a sound that I had heard since early childhood.

Making their way from their nesting grounds high above the Arctic Circle I could hear the distinctive sound of hundreds and thousands of white-fronted geese making their way south stopping along the way every few hundred kilometres to feed and then off again to the Mississippi Delta for the winter.

I thought to myself in the dark, what does it look like from high above to those geese? With the northern lights dancing high above and the fog and clouds beneath them with the sprinkling of the lights of towns and cities below them what did it look like?

How did it look to the brothers and sisters that had just been hatched that summer making their way together for the first time southward, wings beating, the sound of the wind whistling through their wings. For thousands and thousands of years these white-fronted geese had made the journey together south. Before man had arrived in North America they were flying over this same location where I stood.

I was both standing on the ground looking up and imagining myself among the geese taking in the marvel of the universe because it indeed was the universe that was being showcased with the stars, the earth and the aurora borealis.

It was fall and it was magic, a magic that goes unnoticed by so many of us and it is a shame for indeed for that few moments I was taken away.

Happy shooting,

Dan

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~ by Dan Jurak on September 15, 2017.

4 Responses to “Taken Away…”

  1. i’ve never seen like this before!!!

  2. It was a special night. They don’t come along ver often. Thank you.

  3. You are really pumping these out lately
    and they have been wonderful
    Fall has not yet arrived in Ontario but
    you make the waiting worthwhile

    thanks Dan

  4. It is feast or famine Ray. I haven’t been interested in taking pics for a while and now the urge has returned. BTW, it is looking great for aurora tonight and the forecast for the whole upper half of Alberta is clear skies. I might be making an overnight trip to the mountains later today if the aurora forecast cooperates. 🙂 Autumn in the rockies. 🙂

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