Midnight Magic

Auroral Loop

The aurora forecasts for Monday night were for “Moderate” activity. In aurora lingo that’s code for a sleepless night that began just after 9 and went on more or less continuously until after 2 am. For hour after hour, the entire sky was filled with swirling bands of light, sometimes bright enough to throw a shadow on the ground, at other times more muted.

As always, the challenge was to find a composition that worked. Aurora pictures generally need an “anchor” to be effective, something earthbound to give a sense of scale and place. Shots that include just the aurora may be colorful, but don’t tell much of a story.  However, the area around Great Slave Lake is not wildly dramatic: there is no Denali here, no ragged peaks to showcase the lights. There are, instead, thousands of square miles of trees, and trees are invariably an essential part of the composition.

Dancing Sky, 1 AM

Here are two images from last night’s show, showing the lively nature of the aurora that we were lucky enough to see.

Nikon D3, 24mm f1.4 lens