A Sometimes Early Riser

It’s not often that I’m the early bird. Night owl, absolutely. But when you stay up late like we do, you don’t tend to race the sun in the morning. When I do happen to be awake early in the morning, it’s almost always because we’ve got early plans…or I woke up early and found the sights out our upstairs windows too inspirational not to grab the camera.

Last night, I knew we had a chance of northern lights, so I was watching my online feeds to see if I should venture out with my camera. Around midnight, we started the bedtime routine with our furry house companions, and decided we’d let our text messaging service alert us if the solar storm ramped up. After all, we had plans for some routine maintenance on the car in Traverse City around 10:00, so our usual 9:00am wake time wasn’t going to cut it.

Sometime shortly after 4:00 Tony’s phone rang. He didn’t recognize the number, but it woke us up enough to check on the aurora alerts. As luck would have it, the storm was expected to surge in about 50 minutes. I grabbed all my gear – including layers because it was 45-degrees! – and headed for Torch Lake.

I huddled on a bench on the south end of Torch for over an hour, capturing over 100 images of the dancing northern lights. Normally I’d be disappointed in any cloud cover, but I actually quite like the little bit of color the Alden light pollution adds (Alden is the little town on the right side of the image whose marina lights are painting the photo orange). As the storm wound down, I packed my gear, and headed back to bed.

One of the first photos I shot
aurora 8-28 beginning

A photo about halfway through the set
aurora 8-28 middle

The last photo before I called it quits
aurora 8-28 end

And while I very much enjoy these aurora photos, I can’t help but wish I had played my usual night owl; despite the storm intensity being greater around 5:00am, there was more of a light display in the hours I slept through. I’m still happy with these. These are enough 🙂

15-second time-lapse. Please ignore the way oversaturated image that youtube created for this. Link to the same video on Flickr follows for those who can’t view youtube. Enjoy!

August 28 Aurora over Torch Lake
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12 thoughts on “A Sometimes Early Riser

    • Thanks for the bear! I snuggled right up with him for a much needed nap.
      I suppose you don’t get the aurora over there – the viewing cone takes a big dip over this part of the US, so even though we are quite far south (as far as the aurora are concerned), we get a pretty good show every now and then. Not like Iceland, but I’ll take what I can get!

  1. Now that’s early rising, Heather! What beautiful photos. You truly are dedicated to your love of photography, my friend. Inquiring minds want to know how late you slept in the next day? 🙂

      • I hear you, Heather. There were mornings on our trip when the down comforter just wouldn’t let me leave. I consider a cold bedroom with a warm comforter one of the greater pleasures of life.

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