Photographing Aurora - my story.

Posted by Emma Rennie on

I guess it all really started for me with the need to learn to photograph the moon, but 7 yrs ago I managed to capture my first Aurora photos.     

I remember it so clearly standing up in the car park next to my ruin of a Blackhouse by Callanish 1, it was windy but not too bad. I fumbled with settings (as I still do sometimes) body and mind adjusting to the dark and the cold. I wasn't used to taking photos in the dark. I wasn't sure of the settings, I'd read up on it of course -you can find the settings for almost every camera and lens if you google it - but it all turns disorientating fast in the dark and the cold. I didn't get it right, quite - but I managed images!. 

Callanish, Isle of Lewis, 27th February 2014

In the morning I had to get up and go to work, mopping up refined fish oil in the factory just down the road. Hardly a glamorous occupation but it was work, I needed it. I was recovering from a year of daunting life blows, huge changes and family disasters. I remember that morning though feeling as though I was the luckiest person in the world. A feeling that's never changed after a night or even a brief glimpse of the elusive glow. 

I had to wait another year before I got another real chance at it. That's the thing about the Aurora it's unpredictable (yes this is slowly changing but do the weathermen always get it right?).
In March 2O15 there was in incredible Aurora display the best I've seen to date.
One of those nights it was really dancing like it does with much more frequency in Polar areas. I got the settings right. I was up all night. At Callanish there is light pollution from the village lights until they go off at 11pm. 
I was up at Callanish at about 2am all on my own. 
It was awesome! 
 
It's amazing being able to capture the light show on camera but that's only an added extra along with the editing and sharing. No the photographs are not what your eyes see. That is just softer, a light, sometimes 'dancing' with pillars and ripples and extraordinary movement.
I also love just being outside at night, going for a drive at 2am. 
Stopping to be blown away by a beach covered in reflected stars and a gentle green glow.
or a loch with faint Aurora and stars :D 
Each night of 'chasing' is different. People ask me why after 7 yrs do I still do it if I'm home and there's Aurora, 'aren't you bored of it yet?' 
Well no, because there's nothing boring about it. Every time is different and an adventure.
I have come to rely on two sources for Aurora Prediction.
Andy Stables from @glendaleskyeauroras has over the years developed the most amazing app  https://aurora-alerts.uk/ which has just been extended to include Aurora Australis data and prediction. 
If I had the time for any more addictions (the healthy ones) I would be a Space Weather addict 

For me it is nothing about the aggressive competition that seems to be round every nook and cranny in photography and everything else these days. It's about learning skills, making connections, being observant. 
The journey has taken me on many twist and turns and will continue to do so. 
It feeds my hope for a better world and better things 
for us all. 

#clearskies 

Buy prints and more at 
shop.callanishdigitaldesign.com
or 
Redbubble store 



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