Last year I purchased my first ‘grown-up’ camera. An Olympus OM-D em-5 Mark II. Up until then I had been using point and shoot digital cameras, with my latest being a Canon, which is still a really good camera.
I had never had interchangeable lenses before and this opened me up to a whole new world – the night sky. I invested in a prime lens with a high speed wide angle low light lens, and a sturdy tripod. Living in Minnesota, I’m fortunate to have opportunities to explore areas that aren’t so heavily light polluted. The Twin Cities area has 85% light pollution, but all I have to do is drive an hour or two away to find darker skies.
Last summer I decided to follow a group on Facebook that photographs the aurora borealis, or Northern Lights. This group is primarily located in Canada, or very close to the Canadian border in the Upper Midwest, so they share some pretty incredible images. The way it works is that you get an alert as to when conditions might be right when the Northern Lights could be active. I also have a couple of apps to help out. Then I get out in my MINI Cooper and start heading north to try to chase them. The closest I have been able to shoot them is in an area of The Sherburne Wildlife Refuge, about an hour’s drive from my home.
It’s crazy – I still haven’t actually seen the colors with my naked eye, just a white haze on the horizon, and a bit of a dance. But when you look through the camera lens, the sky just lights up. I’d love to start a Go Fund Me account when I can take some time to head up north and do this properly, experimenting with settings and then develop the images.
In the meanwhile, you will be subject to my shares of ‘local’ images which I hope you enjoy as much as I do.