Aurora Borealis Reflections

My plan was to capture an Aurora reflecting on water. Buffalo Lake or Cartwright? The two are hundreds of miles apart. Buffalo was closer. Cartwright was darker. I checked the cloud forecast at Windy, saw clearer skies over Cartwright, and a decision was made. Thankfully, I made the right call and I got my reflections May 10-11, 2024.

2,200 of them!

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cant-stand-still

Photographing an Aurora Borealis G5-level Storm has been one of the highest honours of my life. I’m grateful to have seen it with my own eyes 15 years after having been diagnosed with and beating stage 4 cancer.

An incredible 2,200 photos captured. 389 of which were included in this 16 second time lapse (mp4). Available as an NFT.

Life achievement earned thanks in part to good luck, careful planning, and perfect alignment with the universe.

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Check out a few of the 389 images included in the time lapse, randomly selected of course.

(Photo prints and puzzles available.)

On any other night, any one of these aurora images would be bangers. On this night, thanks to a near record G5 storm, the goal posts moved to where otherwise fantastic captures have become average. I’m not sure future auroras will reach such heights. 🤍 We can only hope.

Willing Model
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cant-stand-still

This G5 / kp8 storm was visible as far south as Sinaloa Mexico by my friend and mentor, Alfredo Juárez.

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North America
south
Southern Hemisphere
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Europe/Asia

Technical aspects of this aurora borealis shoot.

Two cameras. Both the Nikon D780 and the Nikon D810 shooting in full frame (FX). Single captures (2,200 in total). Some were later sequenced into time-lapse videos at 24 frames per second. For the D810, I mounted a Tokina at-X PRO 16-28mm F2.8 FX Lens and an intervalometer on a sturdy Manfrotto tripod. The D810’s 36.6 megapixel sensor captures excellent detail.

For the Nikon D780, I mounted my favourite wide angle lens, the Sigma 14-24mm, attached an intervalometer, and set it on a Manfrotto tripod. The D780’s 24.5 megapixel sensor captures light exceptionally well. Its viewfinder features touch controls, peak banding display for accurate focus, and adjusted angle preview screen.

All images shot in Manual mode…exposures ranged between 2 to 8 seconds with ISO ranging between 3200 and 500 at times as the aurora’s brightness varied greatly. All images were captured at f/2.8, shot in RAW format (NEF), and lightly edited using Camera RAW, Topaz De-noise, and Topaz Sharpen tools. Otherwise, very little editing was done.