Late night show

All my aurora apps were buzzing with notifications of potential aurora activity and the weather apps predicted clear skies, so I convinced my photo buddy, Mel, to join me for a late night stop at Sandbar Provincial Park. When we arrived an the landing, which conveniently extends directly north from the shore of Sandbar Lake, there was a hint of an arch of green glow on the distant horizon.

Eventually, some activity occurred along with additional colour. The purples aren’t visible to the naked eye; prolonged exposure seems to bring that out.

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While we waited for something spectacular to happen, we tried our hand with some Milky Way shots form the skies behind us. Note: always take a look behind you every now and then while out on a shoot! I’ll share more about the Milky Way in a later post.

Since not much was changing in the northern skies and the band of Milky Way stars gradually moved behind the tree line, we decided to relocate for a better view of the southern sky.

While doing that the sky behind us brightened significantly (remember to always check behind you!) so we headed back to the landing.

What a show!!

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The activity extended from the horizon to directly above our heads. It was difficult to know where to look or point the camera!

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This image is a panorama I was able to have Photoshop construct with about a dozen portrait shots of the north sky.

Can you pick out the Big Dipper?

Dark night; Bright sky

Was fortunate to enjoy a clear night out at The Cabin.

There were some serious challenges with my gear (actually the operator) and I wasn’t able to get the focus set properly; so much yet to learn.

But the lights of the Milky Way shone bright.

Milky Way

Late night lights

During the past few weeks the night skies have been alive with activity. September 8th looked promising enough from the back of my house to tempt me out with my camera to a dark, isolated place to see what I might capture. At the base of a tower on Tower Hill, I popped up through the open roof window in my Rav4, propped my camera and tripod up on the roof and pointed it north. There was a steady stream of gentle green haze twisting and reforming just at the horizon. With a remoter shutter, I snapped several hundred (somewhat dark) images in hopes of being able to create a time lapse video of the movement since none of the individual shots appeared interesting on their own. Here’s what I posted to FaceBook.

Aurora time lapse September 2015

Not a real fair representation of what I saw but I’m learning. And then what I saw, took my breath away! The long lines shooting up from what was in my viewfinder extended directly overhead and almost to the opposite horizon; narrow ribbons undulated like parallel ripples in a narrow stream. The expanse of the lines of light was astounding.

I relocated down the hillside, parked again and popped back out through the roof for a new perspective on the increasingly active sky. I truly didn’t know where to look. To the south, I could see a dancing of line of light mimicking the tree line.dancing northern lights

 

Directly above it began to look like a flower opening.

Aurora Borealis September 2015

Then to the west over Ignace, it shredded itself into brilliant streaks.

shards of northern lights

I decided to snap photos until my camera battery died or the card was full; which ever came first. I filled the card and headed home. It was hardly possible to sleep from the intense adrenaline rush of the experience.

The photos are just a glimpse of the majesty of the sights that night. They do cause me to seek out the next opportunity to better the shots; longer exposures and improved focus on the foreground. (It’s not easy getting a good focus through a tiny viewfinder in the dark but we’ll see what we can do…)

 

Hit and Miss

A couple of thunderstorm systems passed just south of us just after sunset last night. Lightning and thunder played tag in the air. Between 9 pm and 10 pm I shot 87 images in attempt to capture at least one with a streak of lightning

lightning shoot thumbnails

The camera was set with my 17-50 mm at 17 mm, ISO 1600, f/2.8 and BULB so I control exposure length. I was using my Trippertrap remote shutter for the second time.

Triggertrap webpageIt works through the app on the smart phone. It has lots of great features but I really miss the feel of a button. The ‘trigger’ on the phone is a small dot at the bottom of the screen so it is difficult to find by touch. Perhaps there’s a setting for any part of the screen to set off the shutter – will have to look in to that.

Anyway, there was a lot of lightning but most was sheet lightning.  Even when I thought I was capturing a streak of lightning, the extreme brightness caused the lines blended into the overexposed sky. It was tricky to react like a trained game show contestant with a buzzer and at the same time calculate how long to leave the shutter open relative to how bright the flash of light was! But about the 65th try, I got one!

lightning streak in sky

1.0 sec, f/2.8, 17 mm, ISO 1600 with Canon EOS 7D

 

Waters flow

With sorrow I share that last week we suddenly and tragically lost my husband’s nephew at the age of 26. Buddy spent time around the docks of our seaplane base off and on from the time he was a toddler. He started his flying career with us in 2004 and was back to work for us this summer. He was a gentle soul with a dimpled grin and quick wit, and he was an excellent pilot.
passing rains
My tears fall and mix with the summer rains.
Like the rain the sadness comes in varying volume, randomly; sometimes sudden, tumultuous; sometimes softly, gently.
Like the rain the sadness passes. The sun returns with warmth and light. I go on, stronger.

early bird

It was worth getting up early this morning to catch the lunar eclipse.

A quick glance out the window confirmed the event was actually visible and under way. I had set up the camera and tripod the previous night so I wouldn’t have to fumble with gear at the sleepy hour of 5:30 am. I stepped out on to the landing, pointed the camera at the moon and set about getting a shot. The air was a fresh -10C but reasonably calm; still chilly for one in a fuzzy robe and winter boots. After snapping a couple test shots, I headed back indoors, dressed more warmly and returned for more of the show.

lunar eclipse

A system was moving in and just as the moon was half gone, it was all gone!

about to disappear lunar eclipse

I snuck back inside and curled up on the couch to watch for the cloud cover to break. After about a half hour, I gave up and climbed back into my toasty warm bed.

 

August 2014 Calendar – Island in the storm

One of my favourite aspects of living lake-side is watching the rain move across the lake. Whether a light shower or raging storm, the sight, sound and smell is amazing. This past week we experienced several days of sudden and brief thunderstorms. I was able to capture the dramatic change in the colours of sky, shore and water before heading for cover!

island in the storm 1 island in the storm 2 island in the storm 3 island in the storm 4 island in the storm 5

I decided to lay the calendars on two images taken in the sequence but could not decide which I liked better. So, I’ve set them both up so you can choose. Different screen resolutions can be found here.

free desktop calendar august 2014_1440x900
Calm before the storm
Here it comes!
Here it comes!