Last night, after crawling into bed with Heather to watch a sitcom, my phone buzzed. It’s not often that folks call me in the late hours, so after the show was over, I hopped out of bed to find a message from my friend Shea excitedly telling me about the Aurora. He hasn’t let me down with reports of northern lights in the past, but just to be sure, I headed to Facebook to see what the crowdsourced space-weather report looked like: tons of people were chatting up the lights.
Not wanting to miss out on epic action, we bundled up and walked to the end of the street, seeing the sky aglow with the wisps of light. While the lights were certainly present, they were a bit bland to the naked eye – the truly amazing show had been earlier when the message was left. Not wanting to miss out on a return event, we went back home, tucked Heather into bed, and I headed out to make some photos.
Shea and others had been texting through the night encouraging and tipping each other off to aurora awesomeness in the case that we were not keeping eyes peeled to the sky… (Sometimes driving to a new location means that you miss the most amazing display ever.) It was nice to know that someone else was out in the cold and enjoying the sights. In a strange way, it’s kind of like that song in Fievel Goes West. Anyhow, back to last night.
After standing in the Mendenhall River for around an hour and thirty minutes, I was able to capture a variety of shots, and eventually headed back to the road where Shea had showed up. We stood and talked for the next hour or so making a few frames, and also gathering images for a time lapse video. Eventually I made it home, offloaded images, and was able to slip under the covers at just shy of 4am. Today has been a day of caffeine!
Take a look at what I came back with – shown in chronological order:
And lastly, the time lapse video. This was at ~2am for an hour. 400 frames, each at ~8sec/ea. Playing at 15fps.
Take a look at the larger versions by clicking on an image or heading to my 2012 Fine Art gallery.
I thought I’d throw up another one from my outing last weekend – I would venture to say that I like this one better for the additional ‘interesting’ things in the frame, though it’s not strictly a photo of the aurora.
What do you think? Do you have a preference?
For the past couple of years, I have taken on the task of creating a photo calendar featuring some of my work from the past year. It’s a fun project for me to look back and find 12 of my favorite images, and of course my mom loves it because she can now brag about the artist, but still get’s her annual calendar from her son! 🙂
In reflection of my 2011 images, I didn’t think I had a strong enough collection in one particular vein to have strictly a Macro, Wildlife, Scenic, or other theme. But with Heather’s help, we were able to get it done. You can call this particular grouping, “photos that made the cut”! Ha!
For printing this year, I decided to go with one of our partners, Kodak Gallery. In the past I had used iPhoto, chosen for their fairly simple process to get a large, quality calendar. So many places offer calendars but at some minuscule size (like 8.5×11) which, to me, communicates mass-market cheapness. I’m a big fan of quality over price.
After receiving the calendars last week, I can say that I like the product. The size is more than adequate –14.25″x10.9″– (larger than the iPhoto calendar –13″x10.4″– that I’ve had previously), and the print quality gets a 7/10 ranking because while the quality of the print & paper was mostly amazing (9-10/10), the downside was that their printer obviously had some issues as there were color bands across many of the images (5/10). I haven’t decided if I’m going to chase down their quality control offices and demand a refund (reprinting is too late in the game for Christmas Gifting.) They may be expensive to make, but it’s fun to share, and most people can actually use it throughout the year!
If you don’t get one from me by new years and you REALLY, REALLY have to have one, let me know. I’m happy to order more, but you’ll cover the costs. 🙂
Here are the images (in order of how they appear in the calendar). Click for a larger view.
Saturday morning I snapped awake at 4am and suddenly realized that the northern lights might be out. I had noticed a stronger than usual chance of the aurora, so was enthusiastic to get up early to explore. I checked Facebook for the requisite comments about the lights and found several folks who had commented enthusiastically. So I set out… And found nothing but a sunrise. 🙁
Last night I opted to stay up late in order to look for the lights. A friend came along so we headed out to the Mendenhall Glacier in hopes of escaping the light pollution of streetlights. After checking out the horizon and not seeing anything of note, we continued to the shore of the Mendenhall Lake. Night photography is always something I enjoy and I had hoped that I might be able to capture some of that cool blue coloration of the evening sky and maybe even the Big Dipper over the glacier itself.
I thought the evening worked out well, photographically speaking. The Auroras came out for around 1-2 minutes at nearly 2:50am, and Joel can tell you how excited I was. I seem to have a knack for getting shots of the aurora the night after a great display. It works, but one of these times I’m hoping the timing will be in my favor.
Enjoy the photos…
See these and more in my 2011 Fine Art Gallery.
On Heather’s Birthday, the UAF Aurora Forecast showed to hit a 4/10. It doesn’t sound like much, but for those living in Juneau, it means that it’s very likely that the Northern Lights will be visible provided the sky is clear. Lately we’ve had a cold snap and with the skies clear, I was excited to get out to see some Aurora. As it turns out, I’ve seen other postings (through facebook) suggesting that my late-night session in the cold wasn’t nearly as spectacular as earlier in the night, but when your wife wants to head to bed… Well, who am I to argue? I wound up getting out of bed at around 2:45am and headed light hunting. Here’s my favorite shot from the evening: