We went down to Boissevain on the weekend to help out with the Dunrea Flea MarketIt rather outgrew the available space in Dunrea., and stayed over at our friends’ farmhouse a few miles south of town. There were a few shows put on by the Northern Lights that night; I caught one of them. They danced for about 20 minutes while I watched. Here are some of the photos I got.
I tried to capture a panorama, to show just how much of the sky was involved. Unfortunately my image-stitching program balked at creating a panorama; the aurora were moving too much for the software to find similarities in the photos. I manually aligned them instead.
And I did up a quick timelapse. The 33 seconds of video represents about 33 minutes of photos, each one a 5‑second exposure.
When the show was winding down, I turned around and saw that the Milky Way was high above the farm. One more photo, I thought, then I’ll go inside.
My friend Tim was camping at Wasagaming, as is his wont on the September long weekend. I went to visit on Friday evening.
We headed up to Spruces to check out the sunset…
…and the moon.
Later, the galaxy appeared as the moon set.
And I decided to try to catch Jupiter with my 55–250mm lens, which is usually too shaky at 250mm. It seems to have worked. (If I’m reading this right, the moons are, L‑R, Callisto, Europa, and Io.)
After I dropped Tim off at his campsite, I saw that the aurora were making an appearance. I stopped in a few places (the beach in WasagamingMan, I really don’t like the orange lights at the beach, the dock on the golf course road, and on the roadside on #10 highway).
Last night, the aurora data looked good, and also the sky was clear (unlike other nights lately). I packed my camera and tripod, then headed out to one of my favourite spots (Twin Pines Field, let’s call it) about 10:45pm.
The temperature dropped while I was out, going from about 24°C to 17°C. Everything got coated with a slick of dew, including—as you can see in the last photo—my lensActually, it was the transparent UV filter over the lens, which was much easier to wipe clean. Phew..
All told, I shot almost a thousand images, each one a 5‑second exposureNerds: 11mm, 5s, f/2.8, ISO3200., which conveniently means that making a timelapse at 12 frames a second creates a video where 1 second of video = 1 minute of real time. So my hour and twenty minutes at Twin Pines Field condenses into a minute and twenty seconds for your edutainment.
The aurora forecast was great, but the earthly forecast was clouds, clouds, clouds. I ventured out anyway, hoping against hope for a small break in the clouds.
On the back road I chose, there were clouds all around, and lightning—lots of it—to the south and east. I didn’t hear any thunder, but there were moments where the clouds lit up from within. I managed to get one bright bolt in focus.
Looking up, I saw that there was indeed a break in the clouds, just large enough for Jupiter to shine through. If you view the photo full-size, you’ll see two moons as well: Callisto on the left and Ganymede on the right (if I’m using this tool correctly).
Then, before heading home, I decided to take a couple shots of the northern sky. There was a hint of green to it. This is the best photo I managed of the aurora trying to peek through the clouds.
After I watched the new Top Gun talkie, I checked the data in my aurora app while I was still in the parking lot. It looked goodThe Bz reading was ‑11, where the further into the negative, the better; I usually see a decent show if it’s at ‑4 or so., so I hurried home, grabbed my gear, and went out of town.
Unfortunately it was cloudy to the north. I set up anyway, hoping the clouds would move off, and started snapping photos.
Long story short: the clouds didn’t move off. I gave it about 45 minutes, and then packed up and went home.
Here’s a timelapse of about 20 minutes’ worth of my attempts. Each frame is a 10-second exposure.
And here’s a handful of my favourites from the photos I got. (I think I caught a meteor in the first one, on the far left.)
The aurora data looked good and the sky was clear, so I packed up my camera—grabbing, at the last minute, my 50mm lens, thinking I’d maybe get some shots of Orion with it—and headed out to find a dark spot.
10 minutes northwest of town, I stopped on the side of a gravel road and got set up. There was a faint haze to the north which, to the camera, was green (my eye saw it as grey). The data showed that there should be a bit more activity in about a half hour, so I started snapping photos. Initially I was taking photos at 10 second exposures. As the night wore on I dropped that to 5 seconds, then 2.5 and finally 2. (I took a few frames at 1 second with my f/1.8 lens, but they were a little darker than I like.)
Here’s the results.
It was even visible in town, if you knew what you were looking at. This photo was taken on my street, just before I went back in the house.
Added: I took a few photos for a panorama to show how wide the show was. This stretches from the west to the east; the road visible on the far left and the far right is, in fact, the same road.
It’s been a while since I went out chasing aurora. Tonight the clouds stayed away, and the temperature, while chilly, didn’t feel like it was going to kill me. I got a couple shots of the aurora, faint and hugging the northern horizon…
…and also an hour or so’s worth of star trails, including what looks like an iridium flare. (It looks like my camera moved at some point early in the hour. I didn’t jostle it; maybe the wind shifted it slightly.)
It was quite a show last night. The aurora covered the northern sky, east to west, and reached up overhead. For about 15 minutes around 11:15pm, it looked like the videos you see that are shot up in the north: bright, sharp, and frenetic.
The image at the top is a panorama, 6 photos, stretching just about 180° from west to east.
Some of the photos in the gallery below were taken literally 2–5 seconds apart.
It was the best show I’ve seen in decades, and here’s to more active shows in the months and years to come.
Nerdy details: all images were 11mm, f/2.8. Exposure times varied between 1 and 5 seconds. ISO was either 1600 or 3200.
Last night I took a drive, and got some shots of a diffuse aurora borealis on a back road a few miles outside of town.
I shot for about ½ hour between 11 and 11:30 pm, and made a short timelapse video, too. Each second of video is about a minute in real-time.
And then, when I came back to town, I decided to get a few shots of the old Kullbergs warehouse demolition going on at 18th Street and Pacific Avenue. The photo below is an HDR merge of two photos, to try to balance the brightness of the exterior with the darkness of the interior.