Northern Lights Under a Harvest Moon

We drove all over Antrim and Charlevoix counties yesterday, taking in the fall color. But as I was catching up on work last night, the aurora kicked up. Now, a light show is preempting the vibrant autumn scenery I had planned on sharing.

Since last night was a full moon (click for an awesome moon photo that I did not take), I didn’t have high hopes when the alert indicated we’d have a shot at seeing the aurora. Nonetheless, at 10:40pm, we turned off the lights, and I hopped upstairs to snap a shot looking north out our bedroom window. I set the camera up on my trusty not-tripod: a copy of The Frontiersmen and a silicone pot holder to prevent slipping. It wasn’t particularly impressive (my “tripod” set-up or the picture – your choice), but you could see some color – which was impressive considering how the moon was lighting up the neighborhood.

At about 11:00, the activity kicked up a bit, and Tony suggested we skip over to Torch Lake. I heartily agreed. Donning my puffy down ski coat and knit hat (hey – it was near freezing, and while I like playing in the cold, I don’t like to be cold), we drove to the south end of the lake. A light fog drifted across the still water, and fresh mint perfumed the air.

After a few shots, I recommended that we aim for a spot that’s a little more open. We settled on the Lake Skegemog overlook on M-72 at Hill Road. Better, but it was loud (okay, if you live in any kind of populated area, you should scoff at this assertion – there were a few cars, and the sound carried easily on the clear air), so we left for a view I discovered the other morning while running.

I took picture after picture, frustrated that the moon was obscuring the aurora, but delighted that it was also highlighting the autumn reds and oranges in the nearby trees and shrubs. For the most part, the aurora looked mostly like a faint smudge of lightness swiped across the sky, near the horizon. After I’d captured a few pictures, we returned home.

Because I am an infamous goal-post mover, I went directly upstairs, and repositioned the camera out our window. Just to see. This is why I am a goal-post mover: The light got stronger, and became more ephemeral. I shouted for Tony to join me, and I promise you I clapped a few times and hopped around giddily, because even without the 30-second exposure, you could see the green and red in the aurora. Curtains of light pulsing in the absolute stillness is utterly mesmerizing – and a bit eery.


21 thoughts on “Northern Lights Under a Harvest Moon

    • Thank you much! I really wanted to put them in a gallery so that you could see the changes more easily as you click through (those last 20 were snapped one after the other), but the gallery viewer thing is broken still 😦 And the slideshow limits them to a smaller size. No win 😦

    • Obviously I couldn’t choose! I did take almost 60 shots, so I pared out a few at least, even if it doesn’t seem like it from the overshare in this post 😉

  1. Some of your best yet, Heather \m/ I love the play on color between the trees and the aurora. The aurora itself is vivid in these … sad that I missed it (while working on my own blog 😉 but like Jess, I feel lucky to have experienced it through your post!

    • Thanks Jim! The aurora would have been astonishingly bright last night if not drowned out by the moonlight. But, I did get shots of fall foliage in with the aurora, and that felt like a win to me 🙂 Glad you got the chance to share the views.

    • Thank you Josh. Your compliment means a great deal considering your background. I sometimes feel like I might be overwhelming my readers/viewers with too many posts/photos. However, like another blogger friend (Carol, who often shows up in the comments) said: I am comforted to know everyone is here voluntarily and can click away easily 🙂
      Thank you for the nomination, but thank you more for dropping by!

  2. These are beautiful, in case you had not heard the rumor…lol. Could hardly believe the shots of fall colored trees/aurora and full moon. Just incredible.

    • I don’t have a favorite place to take aurora pics, and they can be so fleeting. We kept trying different things, and I like different things about each place. I guess it worked out 🙂

  3. Wow! Just WOW! How neat that your husband is ready to get up and go with you to take pictures at a moment’s whim. Thank you so much for sharing these.

    • We have kind of structured our married life together that way. We plan things, and think lots of things through (perhaps too much so in some cases), but we allow ample opportunity for spontaneity. We are both able, and it works for us. I’m glad I can share these, and I’m very glad you’ve enjoyed!

    • Sometimes I feel silly posting all the photos, but I really do love to share. I’m so glad you got to enjoy them! I’m looking forward to the increased solar activity that’s predicted 🙂

  4. Pingback: Howling at the Moon (and the Northern Lights) | Adventures in Michigan's Up North

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