September 2016 – Aurora

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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?

Signs of Spring

Got a hot photo tip from a good friend of mine (thanks, Mel!) that at Sandbar Lake Provincial Park the marsh marigolds were out and the bugs were not! So I grabbed my gear and rubber boots to check it out.

field of marsh marigolds

marsh marigolds

I was surprised to see how abundantly they grew in this swampy area just adjacent to the picnic pavilion. The sun was setting and I tried unsuccessfully to catch some of the yellow blooms in the glow of evening sun. The colours were actually captured more truly in the shaded areas. I played around a little with the polarizing filter which helped to reduce some of the glare of the wet forest floor and gloss of the leaves.

Comparison

The iPhone does a decent job of capturing them too (with a little filter touch from Instagram)marsh marigold field

Although I didn’t notice a particular fragrance to the area (apart from damp dirt) there were some distinctive sounds. While I stood to shoot, I could hear the drumming of grouse in courtship nearby. When I decided to move, the earth seemed determined to hold me fast. It took significant effort to release my boots from the suction of the muck.

Sights and sounds of spring!