Night Photography

The Northern Lights over Southern Alberta

Spring Equinox Aurora - © Christopher Martin-2319
The Aurora Borealis has been very strong for a few nights in a row, reaching southern Alberta regularly which comes after what has seemed like a very long absence.  Perhaps it has just been me that was absent for shows since last year but being out for this one on the night of March 18-19.  When I went out at 11pm, there was a dull green bow low in the sky towards Calgary.  After a while, the arch began to glow brighter and stretch higher.  Columns then started to separate from the green band and the arch itself dissolved.  For the next couple of hours the lights shifted their shapes, colors and intensity.

Spring Equinox Aurora - © Christopher Martin-2522

Spring Equinox Aurora - © Christopher Martin-2382-2

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Spring Equinox Aurora - © Christopher Martin-2572

I was out on the berm that sits between Redwood Meadows and the Elbow River.  The height of the berm, the rocky shoreline and the snow remnants allowed for a variety of perspectives.  The three and half hours that the Northern Lights performed allowed me the time to explore these.  It was an amazing night.

Spring Equinox Aurora - © Christopher Martin-2549

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Spring Equinox Aurora - © Christopher Martin-2539

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Spring Equinox Aurora - © Christopher Martin-2491

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Spring Equinox Aurora - © Christopher Martin-2505

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Spring Equinox Aurora - © Christopher Martin-2383

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Spring Equinox Aurora - © Christopher Martin-2529

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Spring Equinox Aurora - © Christopher Martin-2472


Aurora over the Elbow River

 

Spring Equinox Aurora - © Christopher Martin-2500-3

Canon 5DIII – 24mm lens: 6 seconds on f/1.8 at ISO 3200

In the middle of the active Aurora that reached southern Alberta the lights were reflecting brightly over the waters of the Elbow River in Redwood Meadows.


Saint Patrick’s Aurora

Saint Patrick's Aurora - © Christopher Martin-2473
Canon 5DIII – 24mm lens: 2.5 seconds on f/1.8 at ISO 6400

The night after St. Patrick’s Day brought out the Aurora Borealis over southern Alberta.  Along the Elbow River, west of Calgary, the bands of color rippled in the sky and on the surface of the water for several hours.  I met two photographers, Stacey and Clif, out on the berm.  They had come out to Redwood Meadows in search of the Northern Lights.  The show took a little while to start so it was nice to chat while we waited.  When the lights did start to dance it was beautiful.  I will share more images from the night soon as the colours and mood changed throughout the night and allowed for great variety.


Under the stars with Kian

Under the stars - © Christopher Martin-0981

My son and I spent a couple of hours down on the beach watching the stars and playing around with some longer exposures.  It was a beautiful night made infinitely better with him there.

Under the stars with Kian - © Christopher Martin-0955

Under the stars - © Christopher Martin-0965

Rocks and stars - © Christopher Martin-0949

Under the stars - © Christopher Martin-0968


Under a sky full of stars

Under a sky full of stars - © Christopher Martin-0149-4

(Please click the image to open a higher resolution version)

I walked along the Elbow River early this morning with one of our hounds.  The stars were shining, twinkling, immeasurable and incredible.  My dog seemed to take little notice but I was spellbound.

Settings: Canon 5DIII + Canon 24mm f/1.4L II at f/4 for 15.0 seconds on ISO 3200 


The last half of the lunar eclipse

Blood Moon - © Christopher Martin-4533The clouds cleared at the point during this week’s eclipse when the moon was just coming out of the earth’s penumbra.  The top edge of the full moon was just coming into e sunlight.  The majority of the surface was still in shadow and was a deep reddish orange.

Blood Moon - © Christopher Martin-4606

 The glow from the moon coloured the landscape as well.

Under a blood moon - © Christopher Martin-4547Landscape under a lunar eclipse - © Christopher Martin-4552

The moon left the shadow much too quickly for me but it was fun to watch the different looks as the clouds moved, the colours changed and the blood moon slipped away.

Cloud and eclipse - © Christopher Martin-4711Moon haze - © Christopher Martin-4709

The sky brightened along with the moon and I called it a night.Moonrise - © Christopher Martin-4658


Blood Moon Steampunk

Blood Moon Steampunk - © Christopher Martin-4579

(Please click on the image to open a higher resolution version of this photograph)

Eclipses fascinate me and this morning’s lunar eclipse was outstanding.  It was overcast for much of the night so I wasn’t sure how visible the Moon would be as it reached totality.  While it was in the Earth’s umbra, the clouds started to clear and I was able to watch the latter part of the performance.  This image was taken when a cloud passed along the top edge of the Moon while the moon was coming out of the penumbra and the sun was lighting the upper hemisphere.


More lightning on the edge of the prairie

The other side of the fence - 2014 © Christopher Martin

With the nightly storms, I have had a couple of opportunities to get out and photograph the lightning.  These are the remaining shots from the first night that I went out and had great forks of lightning stretch out in the clouds near my home.  The storm’s strikes would come in waves and resulted in several nice images.

Lightning along the Cowboy Trail - 2014 © Christopher Martin

I wanted to put a person into the scene and I graciously accepted the invitation to do so :)

Storm watching - 2014 © Christopher Martin

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Night lightning - 2014 © Christopher Martin

 


Electric Sky

A very energetic storm rolled out of the mountains and spread across the prairies last night.  Bobbi was driving home as the clouds thickened and the lightning began to streak across the sky.  At her urging, I went out to photograph the light show and it was spectacular.  The summer heat seemed to have loosened up Zeus’s arm and he was firing bolts down to the ground and between clouds for a couple of hours.

Electric sky - 2014 © Christopher Martin

(Please click on the image if you would like to view a higher resolution version)

This image was taken at the sports field in Redwood Meadows just a little ways from my house.  The clouds were running east along the south side of the Elbow River.  To the north, the sky was clear which presented an interesting background to lightning.  Following a few minutes set up by the field, I went out onto the prairies after this image and had a great (although late) night storm watching.


Aurora Borealis over the Elbow River

Aurora over the Elbow - 2014 © Christopher MartinAurora over the Elbow
Canon 5DIII + 24mm f/1.4 lens: 2.5 seconds at f/1.6 on ISO 1600

The Northern Lights came to life over my home in Redwood Meadows a couple of nights ago.  I threw on some winter gear and walked down to the Elbow River with my camera and tripod.  The moon was waning but was close to full and lit up the snow and ice so my headlamp wasn’t needed.  I went out on the ice and watched the Aurora ripple across the northern quarter of the sky.  It was a cold and very late show.  And I loved it.

Note: Click on any photograph to open a higher resolution version of the image.

Aurora fire - 2014 © Christopher MartinNorthern Lights on ice
Canon 5DIII + 24mm f/1.4 lens: 1.6 seconds at f/2.5 on ISO 1600

 

Aurora Flare - 2014 © Christopher MartinAurora Flare
Canon 5DIII + 24mm f/1.4 lens: 4 seconds at f/2.5 on ISO 1600

The colors dimmed after an hour or so and I could barely make out the lights.  The camera could still resolve them and I liked the subtle color in one of the last images from the evening.

Fading Aurora - 2014 © Christopher MartinFading lights
Canon 5DIII + 24mm f/1.4 lens: 3.2 seconds at f/2 on ISO 1600

 

Searching for the Northern Lights - 2014 © Christopher MartinSearching for the Northern Lights
Canon 5DIII + 24-105mm f/4 lens at 24mm: 8 seconds at f/8 on ISO 1600


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