The Aurora Borealis, is there anything more astounding?
One of my dreams was to see the Aurora Borealis going off one day, I grew up on the West Coast of Canada and we were not in an ideal location to see them. However I moved near Edmonton, Alberta 8 years ago, and well, I GET TO SEE THEM ALL THE TIME!!! Ok sorry it is hard to cover my enthusiasm, but can you blame me? I am shocked to find out that people live here, rarely see them! Of course most people are not as willing as myself to venture out at 2am to track them… I have talked about shooting at night before HERE, but let’s go a little deeper.
|A Gif of the Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights. Taken in the dead of winter.|
First off what is the Aurora Borealis? Or What is the difference between the Aurora Borealis and the Northern Lights? Ok well nothing, they are the same thing. A little more scientifically The Aurora Borealis (Or Aurora Australis at the south pole) starts millions of kilometers away at our own Sun. The Sun erupts its flares and shoots electrons and protons towards the Earth, on ‘solarwinds’. Once they arrive they collide with gaseous particles in our atmosphere, causing an eruption of colour! Colours such as Shades of red, yellow, green, blue, and violet have been photographed.
The first time I saw them I just stood there in awe. It was a warm Fall (Faltumn) evening – I had my camera and was going to shoot some stars, or anything really. So I drove to a spot about ten minutes away from my house and set up for a shot. Once I got my settings in a place that I liked I pulled the trigger. 30 seconds later I was stunned, my photo had GREEN all over it! I looked up and noticed something I wasn’t even really looking for, the Aurora Borealis was starting to fire!
Within 10 minutes the sky was lighting up with swirls of green, when people say that they dance, it is very true! They move very quickly at times, and can disappear as fast as they appear. Which is what happened that night… I had about 30 minutes of actual shooting, then it all diminished into a green glow in the distance. Even so, a bucket list item was scratched off that night.
Since then I have been out MANY times chasing the Aurora. Some have been absolutely mind-blowing, others, not as much, but always awesome to see none the less.
I get asked a lot “Is that real?” or better yet “This is fake.” Well that second one is more of a statement but whatever, the fact is that these ARE real, and ARE extremely amazing to witness! I think the most important question people ask me is “Why do you like the Aurora, or space in general, as much as you do?” That answer is a long one, I will try to make this easy.
When I look up at night something comes over me, I am lost in the vastness of the night sky. Countless stars, planets, galaxies, billions of light-years away all shining to us. It is, for me, a hugely spiritual experience. I feel pulled up into it, the vastness closes around me, I feel as though I can even touch and participate with all the movement that we typically only see.
Ok so if you didn’t think I was weird before, you might now… Oh well, I mean I can only be what I feel is in me, and I truly believe that I have been created with the ability to join in with the beauty of all creation, that many people take for granted everyday!
This is why I photograph, I NEED to show what is out there, what has been made, what is wild and crazy, and to show it in a way that speaks to people. I need to show what I believe the God of the Heavens has asked me to show, the beauty of the whole Earth, and everything in it!
I suppose that not all will feel how I feel about something like the Aurora, some might see it and shrug. But I want those people to see a photograph I have taken and FEEL something real. I am all about reality, it is the best! “Ya but you just talked about crazy things, that couldn’t possibly be real!” Well maybe not to them, yet, but I insist, the way I feel is VERY real, more real than I even know yet!
Depending where you are on the globe will determine if you can see the Aurora. If you are in my neck of the woods, or even at a higher degree, check out www.aurorawatch.ca The University of Alberta has great equipment to predict the next event, and you can sign up for email alerts so you will never miss a show! Unless there are clouds… Dreaded horrible clouds…