Aurora Borealis

Waterton – a look back at the landscape

Kian and I went camping at Waterton National Park in 2015. I had not realized that it was almost six years ago. When a prospective client asked about my favourite landscape images from the area for a print, I put together this little set for her review.

Link to the portfolio: click here

The Northern Lights color the night sky above Waterton National Park

It brought back fun memories. Looking forward to getting back there with my kids to create a bunch more.


Equinox aurora revisited

Last weekend, I shared one photograph of the Northern Lights from the geomagnetic storm that hit earth in the early morning of the spring equinox. The aurora rippled high into the northern sky for a few hours. Desirée and I watched them for much of that time. Here are a few more images from an incredible night.

After leaving Bragg Creek to see the sunrise at Ghost Lake, the aurora faded into the brightening horizon. This last photograph of the rolling hills north of the lake suggested an echo of the Northern Lights. I’m not sure if they were there still or if it was more my imagination.


Spring Equinox and the Aurora Borealis

The northern hemisphere’s Spring Equinox was welcomed by an incredible performance by the Northern Lights last night. Desirée and I went out early this morning and watched them dance along high in the sky for hours. It was one of the most beautiful displays that I have seen. It’s made for a slow start in daylight today but was wonderfully worthwhile!

Spaceweather.com has a great article today about auroras and equinoxes which I found really interesting. From their front page, “Around the beginning of spring and fall,  cracks open in Earth’s magnetic field–a phenomenon called “the Russell-McPherron effect.” Solar wind pours in to fuel geomagnetic storms.” I didn’t know about that effect – very cool!


Aurora Prairialis

The Northern Lights have been increasing their activity into the southern Canadian latitudes lately. After what seems like close to a year of quiet night skies, it is wonderful to enjoy them again.

We found these dancing lights on the prairies south of Cochrane near the end of September. It was a calm display but hopefully a harbinger of things to come.


Aurora Borealis in the Yukon

Last summer we went to Whitehorse to visit my girlfriend’s family.  One of the nights, we noticed a few lines of color waving in the sky above our patio.  We hopped in the car and drove out of town.  Whitehorse is a pretty small city but the urban lights were too bright for the display to stand out.  We followed a gravel road up a forested hill to a stony field that opened up.

The moon had not quite set when we set up so the first half an hour had the bright moonlight, illuminated clouds and muted northern lights blending across the night sky’s canvas.

The moon set and the aurora display intensified as well so that the greens, blues and traces of purple rippling above were mesmerizing.  We stayed there for a couple of hours.  That was my first time to the Yukon and it was wonderful to be able to enjoy the Northern Lights that far north.  I hope for the same kind of luck when we visit there next.


A faint light from the north

2 seconds at f/1.8 on ISO 4000

We are in the solar minimum and the Aurora Borealis displays at this latitude have been at a minimum as well.  On a night walk last night I noticed a bit of color in the sky.  Longer exposures showed a diffused haze of the Northern Lights.  Subtle but still beautiful.

5 seconds at f/2.0 on ISO 3200

The quiet show ended quickly.  It was very nice to see them once again.  As the aurora faded out I needed my headlamp to bring a bit of color to the last photograph.

2 seconds at f/1.8 on ISO 3200


Nightscapes in Kananaskis

A 25 second exposure and a fast lens (in this case, a Canon 24mm f/1.4 set at f/1.8) revealed wisps of clouds stretching east across the Kananaskis River valley a little after 4 in the morning on October 7th.  The soft green glow betrayed the Aurora Borealis pulsing low over the northern horizon.

Red light from my headlamp illuminated Highway 40 in this 10 second exposure that centered on the hazy Northern Lights.


Northern Lights… softly

On the weekend there was a minor geomagnetic storm which enveloped the Earth for a couple of days.  Around midnight on Sunday I could see a green glow along the northern horizon so I walked down to the Elbow River.  It runs near my backyard and I was quickly down at the water.  A couple of hours saw a few sprites stretch away from thick Aurora band which stayed low in the sky.  However the Northern Lights were comfortable doing a slow waltz on this night.  Next time I’ll hope for a more energetic dance but I certainly enjoyed the quiet beauty that was shared.

 


Autumn Aurora

I walked my dog early this morning and when I looked to the north could see the Northern Lights rippling and snapping above the horizon.  The hound was returned home and replaced by my camera.  I walked down to the Elbow River which runs nearby and spent a couple of hours photographing the Aurora Borealis before it faded out against the approaching dawn.  I’m feeling very lucky to be able to enjoy such a show in my backyard!


May Aurora Borealis at Lake Minnewanka

The aurora storms in May were beautiful.  This is one photograph from May 20th in Banff National Park along the Lake Minnewanka shoreline.  There is a good chance of more displays this weekend.  I’ll be looking up and hopefully the ribbons of red, green and purple will be dancing above.


The May 21st Minnewanka Aurora – into the early morning

Following on from my last post on this geomagnetic storm, here are a few of the images from later in the night.  As the early hours of May 21st dripped past, the sprites in the Northern Lights appeared and then alternated with beautiful glowing arches.  These continued painting across the sky well past the earliest sign of dawn.

The rise of the crescent moon came just after 4 am as the aurora’s glow started to fade and night handed the sky over to day.  Within an hour the sunlight brushed its own colors across the canvas now shared with clouds instead of stars.


Lake Minnewanka’s Northern Lights

There have been strong Aurora Borealis events over the past couple of weeks.  These have extended far enough south that those of us in southern Alberta have been able to enjoy great displays in the night sky.  Throughout the earliest hours of May 20th the Northern Lights flashed, rippled and glowed over Lake Minnewanka in Banff National Park.  It was a beautiful night with few clouds and a sky that looked like someone had spread out all the diamonds across a dark blanket.

Along the lake’s western shore, many people had come out to see the auroras.  When I passed the marina, the storm was in a lull but the green glow drew a sharp line on the Palliser Range’s silhouette.  I’m usually alone when I’m photographing at night so it was neat to be part of a loose community all there to enjoy this natural event.

Most people were lined up along the dam.  I hiked down a trail a bit further south and found a stretch of rock along the water’s edge that looked good to me.  I spent the next four hours watching the sky, scrambling around the rocks and photographing the aurora.  The photographs here are from the first hour during an active period following the lull.  I will share a few more from later in night in another post soon.