Last night’s unexpected G1 (minor storm) came with high solar winds and a LOT of early promise. The data was looking good as I polished my lens and charged my batteries. By 9:30 the Aurora had flared up into great form with evidence of the high solar winds showing. The speed of the aurora was astounding – it rippled and flowed in one direction like a river of green light in the sky. However, in truly unpredictable fashion, the fat lady sang at 10:15 PM and it was over. That’s an early considering peak, average activity is at midnight.
I’m continuing to push the envelop of what I’m capable of for shooting the aurora.I took the opportunity last night to experiment with my first aurora panoramas. Often times a single image cannot capture the scope of the aurora, so the advantage is capturing the whole arc of the aurora in the sky. These images were stitched in Photoshop 6 and are comprised of 4 – 5 images each. I am happy with a first attempt!
Beyond the panoramas I experimented with timelapse last night too. Incredibly, the timelapse here has shots taken down to 0.5 second exposures and at only 1 second apart. It gives the aurora incredible flow! I am getting closer and closer to it really feeling real which is my auroral goal. The speed of the technique differs from the past (2-4 second exposures and 2 seconds buffer) because of some high speed SD cards I got for Christmas which removed the need for much buffering/write time. It’s great!
There’s PLENTY of snow on the north side of Spinach Creek and it can make moving around a bit of a hassle. The snow itself is pure powder and easy to navigate, it is the grabbing stems of vengeful, cut black spruces which muddy the waters! You are often in the trap before you know it, and several times I was successfully taken down during my saunter. For scale I plopped down on the hillside and snapped an image – a good 3 feet or so!
19 thoughts on “Aurora Borealis Panoramas”
Can’t get enuf Aurora stuff
Give me morea Aurora
That’snow laughing matter
Set me loose in black spruce
Aurora sky pleases me eye
Three foot deep makes me trip and weep
(if you were a gal) Panoramamama
(since you are a guy) Auroraskyguy
Gotta be bold when it’s forty degree cold
Battery gets cold…getting very old
Green sky at night, Ian’s delight
Nothing more to say to that! Looks like you’ve got it covered, haha.
These are fabulous, Ian!
Thanks Lee! I’m sure you are laughing at 3 feet while buried under 48 inches in a week 🙂
Ian, lovely, lovely, lovely…. Thanks for sharing and keep experimenting with your camera; it really pays off. One question came to mind that you as a scientist might be able to answer. What makes the aurora borealis green?
Ooo! Ooo! I know! Pick Me! 🙂 The green is actually caused by the reaction of incoming solar energy with oxygen and Nitrogen! Different colors result in the altitude and composition of the gases. Can read more here : https://ianajohnson.com/2014/02/08/aurora-borealis-science/
I hyperlinked and read the explanations. Interesting observation, the explain-blog was shot a year ago, and included Auroras du jour. The difference in photographic quality is astounding from then-to-now. -Combination of camera hardware and shooting skill software!
Pops, yup! I have thought the same. Took a season of shooting under my belt to get better – but today’s product is leaps and bounds above last year!!
Aurora breath…very funny:) From that standpoint, the green “breath” could be from all of the spinach and brussel sprouts you consume! Seriously, if I never get to see these displays with my own eyes, the timelapse certainly will fill that void. It is easy to see why you’ve been so captured by this amazing phenomena and continue to hone your skills to capture it on film.
Next goal – aurora gas 😉
Gonna take a lighter with you, too?
Might have to – in Johnson tradition!
I like the way that the music enhances the activity of the aurora. It creates a mystical mood. Once again, thank you greatly for your presenting these unique images to us.
Thanks Peggy! I stumbled across that tune and immediately thought “Aurora song”. So, I kept it saved up for just the thing!
This is amazing ! wow, I never get tired of looking at aurora pictures.
Thanks! I never get tired of taking them either – win-win for everyone 🙂
Amazing shots Ian! Looks like you had a lot of bright moonlight for the snow coveres spruce. Love it!
Yes! As soon as the moon is half full or larger the foreground lighting is tremendous. Thanks!