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.
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.
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.
Last weekend there was a massive storm in the sky on Saturday night. Not the thunder and lightning kind – though there was a very energetic rain shower around 2am – rather a geomagnetic storm. With that came bright auroras which rippled and shot for several hours. The rain actually woke me up and when I looked outside, I could see the Northern Lights between gaps in the clearing clouds.
I picked up some gear and headed outside right away. Living near Bragg Creek we have dark skies except for the glow from Calgary to the east so it was easy to see the show right from my deck. When I walked over to the banks of the Elbow River, it coincided with an intense burst that lasted for almost twenty minutes. I woke my daughter up later when I went back home and we were able to catch another smaller outburst – her first in real-time. Easily the best part of a great night.
The architecture on and around Museum Island is impressive to say the very least. I spent a couple of nights photographing the buildings along the banks of the River Spree and the canals nearby. The lighting on many of the buildings at night adds to the majestic feel which seems appropriate given the enormous efforts to restore them since Germany’s reunification. Above is the Altes Museum and below is Berliner Dom which shares the Lustgarten and its central fountain.
Further down the river, I caught the moon rising across the river from the Berliner Dom. I loved the reflection of the lights in the water.
A long exposure as a night cruise passed by this outdoor party blurred the lights on the water – and a couple of people along the boardwalk.
I finished the late night walkabout with a stroll back to the Brandenburg Tor to photograph the eastern side with the absence of the masses that visit during the day and evening. Afterwards, I crossed to the western side and photographed light trails under the gate.
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.
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.
The 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.
The glow from the moon coloured the landscape as well.
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.
The sky to the east was beautiful this morning. I had a chance to photograph from a good elevation which let me see the horizon towards the east and the downtown cityscape in the other direction. I loved the explosion of color in the clouds preceding the sunrise and those added nice reflections in some of the glass facades of Calgary’s prominent buildings.
However it wasn’t until about 7am that the moon was fully in the Earth’s shadow about an hour before sunrise and stayed there until just before dropping below the horizon.
I walked through the downtown early ending up on the Centre Street Bridge. From the bridge, the moon was glowing red over the Prince’s Island Park on the Bow River. The Park was illuminated by Christmas lights and the occasional street light which formed nice elements to include in some of the compositions.
When the sun was almost up, the moon had necessarily started to move out of the shadow. It was also very close to the horizon at that moment so the last image of the eclipse I have is a sliver of the moon framed in between the columns of one of the four lion masted plinths on the bridge.
I was in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina for a few days last week. Great weather and very good golf courses. The area is bounded by the ocean and the land off the water has been recovered from swamp. I had a good vantage point of a major canal, the Intracoastal Waterway, that is about a mile back from the beach and runs parallel to the ocean for a very long stretch. At night, the sodium vapour lights provided most of the illumination and when mixed with stray Christmas lights and other types of lighting made for some interesting landscapes.
This boat, The Barefoot Princess 5, looked like a half-hearted re-creation of an old sternwheeler – without the wheel. Designed for sightseeing, it has maximum seating but at the expense of a bit of character. At night though it looked very nice with its blue lights and the street lights streaming through the decks.
A snowstorm obliterated the opportunity to photograph the “supermoon” on March 18th but I was out in a field the night before to see how the moon looked. The moon was impressive and it was really great to be out in the moonlight for a few hours. In the image above, the pink sky is the result of the city glow and the light from the moon. With two of the three deer walking slowly during the long exposure, they have a ghostly appearance.
As the last couple of deer trotted past, I panned with them. Under the moonlight they were dimly illuminated so I raised the ISO, opened the aperture and underexposed a bit to try to capture enough light to show the landscape with the deer moving through it. Even with the noise in this image I like the motion.
Below, a simple landscape image with the moon as it rises clear of a band of haze laying just above the horizon.
A long exposure looking west towards the mountains was one of the last images from the evening. The layers in this photograph from the lights, to the hill, the mountains and into the stretched sky are interesting.
As for the moon itself, I didn’t take an image that really showed the scale of it during this close pass unlike some of the incredible photographs I have seen around the web. This image was taken with a telephoto lens and then cropped in slightly. It doesn’t convey how close the moon came but it is nice to photograph our lone satellite.