?ÇÿDance of the Northern Lights?ÇÖ by Mike Grandmaison


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?ÇÿDance of the Northern Lights?ÇÖ by Mike Grandmaison Matlock, Manitoba. Canada Northern lights or ?Çÿaurora borealis?ÇÖ are one of the most awe inspiring phenomenon to witness. I drove up to Matlock, on the western shore of Lake Winnipeg in late afternoon. Things started off very slowly but picked up steam as the evening wore on. A full moon had also begun to rise in the east. As the sky darkened, a faint greenish glow appeared near the horizon. I confirmed the presence of northern lights upon making a long exposure with my digital camera. Long exposures of thirty seconds to two and a half minutes were required to capture enough light to expose the image sufficiently to reduce the problem of image noise. A steady tripod, a cable release and the 'mirror lock up' function on my camera enabled me to capture sharp images at these long exposures. The ISO setting (sensitivity of the sensor) was set between 200 and 800, depending on the intensity of the northern light display. The lens aperture was usually kept wide open but sometime closed a stop or two to allow for more depth of field, especially when photographing close to the pier. The northern lights remained at low levels until around eleven o?ÇÖclock in the evening after which I was treated to a spectacular display of auroras. I scurried along the beach trying to capture as many different compositions as possible, being acutely aware that northern lights might only last seconds or possibly minutes. The show finally subsided but, shortly after midnight, the northern lights returned and I scurried about some more. The full moon, although bright in the southern sky, did not affect my exposures. The experience was a magical one to say the least. Tired, I packed up around two o?ÇÖclock in the morning and drove back to Winnipeg about an hour away. Spending the night out in the cold can be a lonely experience, often with...