Yellowknife I: Aurora Test Shots

Test shooting polar lights

After getting up at a quarter to four in the morning and traveling all day to Yellowknife, Canada, I was ready for my bed. I had spent more time at various airports than up in the air and it had been a long and tedious day. But I had made it up north in search for the polar lights or aurora borealis. Solar activity was low (Kp = 2) but I was in Yellowknife! And sure enough, shortly after 10 o’clock in the evening there was a faint green glimmer in the evening sky. Tired as I was, I decided to postpone my night’s rest for a little longer. While I was too tired to get really serious about it, I thought some test shots couldn’t hurt: finding the right spot for the shoot, experimenting with different image compositions and camera settings, photographing at -8 °F / -22 °C.

I decided to share this far from perfect test shot above anyways. I took it to see what colors the camera would pick up. I didn’t bother to really focus, but it is amazing how much more than the human eye the camera sees. The aurora was just moving in and only seemed a light greenish glimmer to me. And that the red neon lights of a nearby business illuminated the snow and ice on the lake as well as trees and bushes, I only realized after looking at the photo on my camera display. So I moved my camera, found a bright star to manually focus, and kept on experimenting!

However, my battery ran down fast and shut down at 82% because of the cold. Well, what are extra batteries for? After my fingers also shut down, I decided to call it a day. It was only after I was back indoors, that I realized I was almost completely frozen through. It took a while to get warm again and find some sleep, but what a wonderful start into my aurora adventure!