Friday, March 20, 2015

No Northern Lights, But Free Star Trails

On Tuesday, my friend Ryan texted me and asked if I was going to go out and look for the aurora to the north. It was all over the news, and I think one commenter said we might get northern lights visible as far south as Tennessee. Keyword 'might'. I went out to check, and enjoyed some nice clear skies, but didn't see any lights.

I set up my camera to take some longer exposure shots to see if I got anything. I saw some bands of clouds. I've never seen the northern lights before, so I don't even know what to look for exactly (except what I've seen in other photos). I put them on my computer, and when I scroll through them quickly it makes a sort of timelapse video of the clouds, and I noticed they were definitely blowing away in the wind rather than hovering and dancing in one spot like the aurora lights do.

wispy clouds at night
Single frame, Canon T5i, f/5.6, 15 sec, ISO 1600, 18mm
As always, the consolation prize (or constellation prize) is a stack of star trails. Here is the resulting 155 image stack using StarStaX.

star trails canon t5i

And then here is the same photo with some HDR and contrast using the Snapseed app for iPhone.

star trails with snapseed iphone app

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