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!

Another Night of Northern Lights

Those clear skies I half-heartedly complained about brought us excellent viewing conditions for the aurora tonight (last night?). I started the night by photographing out one of our north-facing windows. When the aurora kicked up again a bit later, we drove to a spot on Torch Lake, and I took a series of photos there. At this point I know two things: 1) I love living here, and 2) I seriously need a tripod – the books, coolers, silicone pot holders, etc. are not awesome. Enjoy 🙂  (Also, for those who usually ask, feel free to share if you know anyone who would also enjoy)

I’m including both a gallery with larger pictures and a slideshow. The slideshow gives you a better feel of what it’s like to see the aurora in person, but the gallery makes the pictures look better. Your choice 🙂

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