Sunday, April 19, 2015

The Northern Lights!!

I am a collector of experiences. I love adventures and as my profile says, it is about the journey as much as the photo itself. So, when I heard about the chance to see and photograph the Northern Lights near me I jumped at the chance! I never thought I would be able to see them this far south. They have been on my bucket list forever, but I thought a trip to Alaska, Iceland or Norway was the only way to catch a glimpse. When a friend of mine, Melissa, said it was possible 2 hours from where I live, I knew I had to go despite it making for a long night! Melissa let a group of us know that a show was possible and I made the trek up to Anacortes, WA to join her and a group of fellow photographers. You can see Melissa's shots from the night here!

As my eyes adjusted to the darkness and I took a few test shots, I began to see green in the camera. As the show became stronger I was able to see lighter gray sections of the sky and streaks moving upward as well as pink along with the green in my camera. It was a thrilling experience and something I am so glad I did despite the limited sleep that night. I cannot wait to go again!

And because this was such a learning experience for me (only had a few usuable shots) I share some tips at the bottom of this post. 

Settings: ISO 400, 16mm, f/4.0, ss30.0sec
Taken around 9:30pm on April 15th, 2015 at Washington Park

Settings: ISO 3200, 35mm, f/11, ss30.0sec
Taken around 10:20pm on April 15th, 2015 at Washington Park

Settings: ISO 500, 33mm, f/4.5, ss30.0sec
Taken around 10:30pm on April 15th, 2015 at Washington Park

Settings: ISO 640, 33mm, f/4.5, ss25.0sec
Taken around 10:40pm on April 15th, 2015 at Washington Park
"The north! the north! from out the north
What founts of light are breaking forth,
And streaming up these evening skies,
A glorious wonder to our eyes!"
Hannah Flagg Gould, "The Aurora Borealis"

A few things I learned about shooting the Aurora Borealis:
1. You can see them much farther south than you think, you just need a place that is as dark as possible (away from light pollution) and north facing with a good view of the horizon.

2. There are a TON of groups on Facebook, websites and apps for knowing when a storm is coming. Facebook - Aurora Alerts by Soft Serve and Aurora Borealis Notifications
Website - Soft Serve News and Space Weather Prediction Center
App - Aurora Forecast (free for iPhone)

3. A tripod is a MUST and a remote is extremely helpful. You have to have a very long exposure, a wide open aperture and a higher ISO so you need to do everything you can to minimize movement.

4. Manual focus to infinity. In the pitch dark there is nothing to see focus on so you have to set manual focus for your camera. This is what I need to work on for next time!

5. Limit exposure of your eyes to light. Use a red filter on your flashlight, don't check your phone, etc. This is the only way you can see anything with the naked eye.

As I said, I have a ton to learn and I can't wait to try again. I hope you find these tips helpful and I would love to know what you think of my first attempt at shooting this epic natural phonemeon!

Weekly Top Shot #173   P52 Sweet Shot Tuesday with Kent Weakley

Friday, April 10, 2015

Tiptoeing through the Tulips

Every spring a tulips come to the Pacific Northwest and fill the fields with color! There is something magic about spending an afternoon walking among them. 
Settings: ISO 100, 25mm, f/6.3, ss1/200sec
Taken on April 9th, 2015 at Tulip Town in Mount Vernon, WA
"I have always been delighted at the prospect of a new day, a fresh try, one more start, with perhaps a bit of magic waiting somewhere behind the morning." - J. B. Priestley

Weekly Top Shot #173   Pierced Wonderings

Sunday, April 5, 2015

That Time I Fulfilled a Life Long Dream of Photographing Crater Lake...

For as long as I can remember growing up there was a photo of Crater Lake hanging in our house. It was taken with a film camera in the 70s or 80s and the colors had faded, but it was still stunning to me. I dreamed of visiting that place and once I discovered my passion for photography of photographing it as well. I attempted the trip in my old car and ended up killing that car resulting in never making it to the lake. In 2013 I finally made it! We drove all the way around the rim of the crater (which I highly recommend) and stopped at almost all the viewpoints. I had rented a 17-40mm lens and fell in love with wide angle on that trip. 

I cannot put into words the feeling of the majestic place combined with finally realizing a long held dream. I am hoping this picture will do what I cannot.

Settings: ISO 100, 32mm, f/16, ss1/15sec
Taken at Crater Lake in Oregon on 07.22.13
"Crater Lake National Park is one of the country’s crown jewels. No place else on earth combines a deep pure lake, so blue in color; sheer surrounding cliffs, almost 2,000 feet high; a picturesque island and a violent volcanic past."

Sunday, March 22, 2015

A Piece of Heaven

Do you have places that stay with you after you photograph them? That call to you to come back and see them over and in over just to watch how the light, seasons and weather change them? This is one of those places for me...

Taken at sunrise on July 19th, 2014 at Sparks Lake in Bend, Oregon
Settings: ISO 100, 29mm, f/16, ss0.4sec (on tripod)

Settings: ISO 100, 31mm, f/16, ss1/4sec (on tripod)
"On earth there is no heaven, but there are pieces of it." - Jules Renard

Saturday, March 14, 2015

A new beginning...

It has been well over a year since I have edited a photo or blogged. Too long since I have documented this passion of mine to share the beauty of nature. I thought I should start somewhere...

Taken on February 17th, 2014 in Pacific City, Oregon
Settings: ISO 100, 50mm, f/22, ss1/4sec, on tripod
"The beginning is the most important part of the work." - Plato