Clouded Aurora

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 good[1]The 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.)

Foot­notes

Foot­notes
1 The 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.

Aurora at the end of March

Aurora, March 30th, 2022

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.

Aurora, March 30th, 2022
It was even vis­i­ble in town.
A short timelapse
Panorama of aurora

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.

Some faint aurora

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.)

Star Trails

Aurora — Oct. 11th2021

Panorama of aurora (179°)

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 25 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.

Aurora, April 162021

Aurora borealis

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.

I like how the clouds oblig­ing­ly fol­low the line of the pow­er lines

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.

Kullbergs Warehouse demolition
Things fall apart / the cen­tre can­not hold

The late show

Aurora Borealis

About mid­night last night, after I got home from get­ting half an hour of chilly star trails (and charged up the bat­ter­ies the cold killed), I checked the space-weath­er app on my phone. It told me I had a strong chance of see­ing some auro­ra if I left like right now.

So I did, and between about 12:15 and 1 AM, I got almost 400 pho­tos of north­ern lights.

And I made all 393 pho­tos into a 30-sec­ond time­lapse, too. (Every sec­ond of video rep­re­sents a minute of real time.)

Nerdy details: each pho­to is a 5‑second expo­sure, 11mm, f/2.8, ISO 1600. The pho­tos were edit­ed for brightness/contrast; the frames in the video are all straight-out-of-camera.

Autumn Aurora

Aurora Borealis

Space Weath­er pre­dict­ed Arc­tic auro­ras (orig­i­nal­ly the storm was pre­dict­ed to be stronger, but got down­grad­ed). Some­times that turns out, so since it was clear last night, I head­ed out of town for about an hour.

When I ini­tial­ly set up, there was noth­ing real­ly hap­pen­ing, auro­ra-wise, but I decid­ed to shoot for a while any­ways. If noth­ing else, I’d have a half-hour star trails image. The moon was full, so I’d have a nice bright fore­ground, too.

Con­tin­ue read­ing “Autumn Auro­ra”

Writing Retreat 2020, Day 7

Minnedosa cairn with a plough on top

Fri­day:

  • I lay awake from about 4 am till about 5:30 am thanks to a cou­ple of thun­der­storms pass­ing through.
  • In the morn­ing, I biked about 6 km before it got over­ly hot.
  • While I was out on my bike, I took pho­tos for a cou­ple of panora­mas (one of which turned out as I’d hoped).
Minnedosa cairn with a plough on top
The plough cairn (panora­ma; 18 pho­tos, 50mm, f/2.8 each)
  • I wrote 500 words in Daniel, Daniel, Daniel, did some pre­lim­i­nary edit­ing of “The Slow Apoc­a­lypse” (though it might still be too ear­ly for me to work on this), and wrote 300 word in “Dried Flowers”.
  • I read a few more chap­ters in The Wiz­ard—as I approach the end, I’m torn between savour­ing it and find­ing out what hap­pens next.
  • I tried to come up with a coher­ent end­ing for Daniel, Daniel, Daniel, because while I know the final scene, I don’t have the sto­ry’s end­ing ful­ly fleshed out yet. It’s a bit frus­trat­ing, frankly; I’m the kind of writer that needs a sol­id end­ing before I start a project. I thought I had it, but the char­ac­ters are going their own ways.
  • I noticed the sky had got quite colour­ful about 9:15 pm, and stepped out­side in time to snap a pho­to of a love­ly sun­set. I only got bit­ten by 22 mos­qui­toes in the 5 min­utes I was out­side, too, so that’s a victory.
Sunset with clouds: blue, orange, pink, and indigo
Sun­set on a Fri­day evening
  • About 11:45 I went and got some pho­tos of Comet NEOWISE and the north­ern lights. (And anoth­er cou­ple dozen bug bites.)
Comet NEOWISE and aurora
Comet NEOWISE and aurora
  • And I man­aged to catch the Inter­na­tion­al Space Sta­tion as it went over­head, even though it tried to hide behind a cloud.
The International Space Station ducks behind a cloud
I waved to the ISS astro­nauts as they went by

All in all, a good Fri­day, even if it was a bit too hot to even think straight. (No sweet­er sin than air con­di­tion­ing, I tell you.)

Series: Bike Ride Photos

The entire series: Down by the riv­er; Bike ride birds; The ex-gar­den and the weir; Snap­shots of a ride; Across Town; Black­bird; North Hill cam­pus; Lilacs and coun­try roads; A pop of colour; Back lane flow­ers; More Breniz­ers; The riv­er is high; A bird and a reflec­tion; Rideau Park; Writ­ing Retreat 2020, Day 7; Writ­ing Retreat 2020: The Num­bers; Storm dam­age, sun­flow­ers; Eleanor Kidd gar­dens; Scenes from today’s ride; All right, autumn can be pret­ty; Bike ride, April 10, 2021; Bike ride wildlife; Bike ride, May 16, 2021; Some flow­ers for you; Lilacs; Under the bridge; A fence, a tree, and the sky; Tur­tle Cross­ing; Ceme­tery crit­ters; On Reflec­tion; Week­end rides; Upon Reflec­tion; Deer and paparazzi; Sep­tem­ber Bike Ride; Corn & Sun­set; On Reflec­tion: Oct. 1st; Autumn Trees; A bit of graf­fi­ti; Novem­ber bike ride; Geese; Day 30; Quack quack; Skin­ny deer; Mon­day bike ride; Sat­ur­day snaps; Deer + Flow­ers.

Series: Writing Retreat 2020

The entire series: Writ­ing Retreat 2020; Writ­ing Retreat 2020, Day 1 & 2; Writ­ing Retreat 2020, Day 3; Writ­ing Retreat, Day 4; Writ­ing Retreat 2020, day 5; Writ­ing Retreat 2020, Day 6; Writ­ing Retreat 2020, Day 7; Writ­ing Retreat 2020, Day 8; Writ­ing Retreat 2020, Day 9; Writ­ing Retreat 2020: The Num­bers.