Lady Aurora Danced at Midnight! (Northern Lights)

I watched Lady Aurora dance at midnight! She was shy at first, and forced me to wait for over 3 hours behind her “green glow”, but the queen of the night skies finally came out and performed!

My photos were taken last night (March 1/2) on a frozen lake in northern Minnesota. The temperature was 10F with a brisk wind starting to blow out of the Northwest. The Northern Lights display last night was NOT a “classic” rays shooting skyward. Instead bands of color turned on and off, sometimes blinking to appear only for a few seconds, followed by the lights flashing on in a totally different part of the sky. Totally cool … just different.

Finally, it pays to dress warmly. I had on thermal underclothes, a wool sweater, a jacket liner plus a heavy coat. In addition to gloves, I was wearing a pair of heavy mittens. The coup de grace were my Steger Mukluks. My toes were nice and warm the entire time I was outside!

On my Facebook page some friends asked me if I would share my photography settings. Here are the details for my selfie … ISO = 3200; Exposure = 10 seconds; Aperture = 2.0 with White Balance set to Auto. I was using a Sony A6000 mirrorless camera with a Rokinon 12 mm wide angle lens. My Northern Lights page gives much more details about viewing the Northern Lights and camera settings. These photograph settings were “not” what I started with last night, but a totally dark sky (no moon) caused me to up the ISO while an active Aurora allowed me to shorten the exposure.

In terms of the question … “Do these images approximate what I actually saw?”. The answer is “yes”. I do not like to push my light sensitivity up (ISO) and record something completely different than what I saw with my naked eye. If I am going to stand for hours in the extreme cold on frozen lakes, I want my camera images to reflect my actual experiences! In addition, it would have been extremely difficult to see last night’s display if I had not been in northern Minnesota in an area almost devoid of any light pollution. Unfortunately most Americans live either too far south, or in urban areas where cities lights do not allow one to experience the wonder of the night time skies.

Lady Aurora Dances

In a Frozen Bog … Waiting and Watching the Green Glow

2 thoughts on “Lady Aurora Danced at Midnight! (Northern Lights)

    1. Thought of you folks heading south. Lady Aurora is a tough mistress and dances when she pleases!

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