Tag Archives: Boulder Lake

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

Lady Aurora Did Not Dance!

The Aurora Borealis would not come out and dance last night. It was shy and hid behind the clouds! Actually made for a cool picture!

The Northern Lights photo was taken about 8:20 pm, and given the almost full moon combined with the fact it was not yet truly dark (2 hours after sunset of 8:35), my camera settings were quite different … ISO of 800; Aperture of 2.0; and Exposure of 6 seconds.

Oh yes … our yard was also invaded by late season migrating birds!

Boulder Lake north of Duluth


Slate-Colored Junco


White-Throated Sparrow


Snorora Borealis!

What a way to end a photographic year … the Northern Lights on New Year’s Eve! While snow flurries and clouds made for challenging conditions at best, I decided when God gives you apples, make applesauce! Thus, I tried some light painting with my small flashlight and was able to capture “snowflake trails” against the Aurora. I was out at Boulder Lake which is about 25 miles north of Duluth, Minnesota. At one point some timber wolves started howling while I was on location! Pretty cool. Life of the Northwoods photographer!

Snorora Borealis!Snorora-Borealis-1

24 Hours of Lake Superior Magic!

The  past week has been non stop drizzle, rain, wind and clouds, but yesterday that changed as the sun reappeared, and thus started 24 hours of magic! I live 600 yards above Lake Superior across from a wilderness creek which roars down to the big lake. The combination of Lake Superior, and the fall bird migration is an outdoor photographer’s dream.  The past 24 hours were a dream!

Pre-Dawn at Canal Park … the Buffalo enters the Duluth Harbor


Sunrise approaches as a Saltie waits anchored out on the lake


A Bald Eagle takes flight while migrating near McQuade Harbor


Horned Locks migrate through out area, down from the sub-Arctic


A Snowy Owl at dusk decides to winter in warm Duluth … a tundra arrival


The Northern Lights set the sky on fire at Boulder Lake
Boulder-Lake-Nov-2015-Islands Boulder-Lake-Nov-2015-2Pines