(C) Mikko Lemmetti 2015

Now! Auroras! Wow!


Thought I’d post this short story in English for a change. Yesterday evening I received an urgent phone call at about 8 PM from my friend. He told me to get out immediately because the ”sky was on fire”. And indeed it was. That is, undoubtedly the strongest magnetic storm this spring in the magnetosphere, causing a sky full of northern lights – or Aurora Borealis.

I had been having hints about the nature’s spectacular show during the evening from a Facebook group I belong to, and the Auroras Now service by the Finnish Meteorological Institute predicted a powerful display of northern lights for the evening. So powerful, that even in the Southern Finland, the sky was full of auroras of different colours and shapes.

I rapidly attached my camera on the tripod, dressed up warmly and went outside to a field near my house where there was plenty of space to shoot. My Canon EOS 70D has a Wi-Fi, so I was able to control the camera also with my smartphone through the EOS Remote application in addition to the controls in the camera itself. That way I could be standing a distance away from the camera and even try some trick photography with long exposure.

As I had not taken any photos of the northern lights before, I was a little anxious to try, but some of the shots turned out just fine for a first-timer. I had a ISO setting of 6400, aperture 8, and exposures of 10 to 20 seconds. I noticed afterwards, that albeit reasonably good photos they were, they also had significant amount of colour noise. Actually, I had expected that it might happen, so I took a next set of photos about an hour later with a much lower, 800 ISO. Those shots had much less noise.

Anyway, on the first ”round”, I had a head lamp, and with my smartphone I triggered the camera shutter and started walking around my head lamp flashing on 1 second intervals. That produced quite interesting effects on film (if you excuse me for using that term with digital photography).

In addition to the visual pleasure, I could hear the sounds of owls hooting in the distance. I could discern at least three different species, and that was quite exciting, too! For example, there was a Pygmy owl, probably one Tengmalm’s owl and a Ural owl.

I can’t wait for another chance to go out and see (and shoot) the Auroras! I might even try some creative photography again, too!

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(C) Mikko Lemmetti 2015

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