The Northern Lights in Matlock, MB

I woke up Saturday morning to clouds and a lot of rain. The forecast for the evening looked more promising as they were stating that it was going to clear. I knew there was going to be some activity based on the email that I receive that alerts me to the potential of the northern lights. I also frequently check to see if the CME’s have arrived and if they had triggered a geomagnetic storm. That morning both CME’s had arrived and had little impact, so I wasn’t too hopeful but decided if it cleared that I would still go out. It’s a good thing that I did because there was a 3rd CME that arrive later in the day and strongly compressed earths magnetic field which meant that there was a good chance of seeing the northern lights.

Another photographer and I headed out to Matlock, MB. We thought that the pier would make a great foreground. I had also put an invite out to the other photographers from the Manitoba Foto Friends. While on our drive out there I got a text message from stating that KP index had reach 6 which meant a moderate storm was in progress and that the northern lights would be visible over head.  At this time the sky had started to clear nicely, and by the time we made it to Matlock (which was about 9pm) there were only a few clouds in the sky. All we had to do was wait for it to get dark out and hope that the northern lights would make an appearance.  A couple of other photographers decided to join us for the evening.

While we waited for it to get dark I decided to take a couple of shots of the pier. Since I have been going out to Matlock since I was little I have taken tons of shots of the pier from the beach but never from the water shooting towards the beach. I wasn’t sure how high the water was so I put on my rubber boots first and heading down the steps into the water and I only managed to get down two steps before I realized that the water would be too high if I went any further.  One of the photographers that I was with brought water shoes she let me borrow them and I made a 2nd attempt at going into the water. This time I got down to the last step but the water was already at my knees so I had to head back to the beach. I ended up getting the tripod and camera in the water in the position that I wanted without getting to wet! I converted the image to B & W which I think lets the detail of the pier stand out.

I was walking to the other side of the beach I went under the pier and the bark coming of the pier caught my eye and I just had to capture it! This shot was taken during the blue hour so that is why it looks so blue. I added a vintage film effect to the image to create an older looking image.

The sun sets around 930pm but it doesn’t get dark out till about 11p. The minute it got dark out we could see the auroras they were really faint at first but the camera picked them up!

The darker it got the more active the auroras got!

Then the auroras started to dance and I couldn’t believe the amount of purple in auroras! Normally they are usually green with hints of purples, pinks, and reds.

Since the pier in Matlock is a public pier and its closer to a parking lot you sometimes get headlights lighting up the pier. Which works out great for light painting the pier!

I decided to get a shot on higher ground of the pier and the photographers that were on the beach. This was the most green that we saw all night!

I decided to head out onto the pier to capture this shot. I wanted to try different exposure lengths for myself to see how they turned out. The one thing with doing a longer exposure when shooting the northern lights is that you start to get the start trails.

It seemed like the auroras were starting to subside and then I notice the spikes that were happening and manage to capture this shot.

We started to notice that the clouds were coming in so I manage to fire off a couple of more shots. I really like how this one turned out. The angle of the shot provides an interesting view of the auroras threw the pier.

The auroras were still visible threw the clouds. At this point we decided to pack up and head home plus it was already 2am and by the time I got home and got ready for bed it was already starting to get light out!

It’s always a blast to shot the auroras with a group of photographers. Sometimes you have to wait for auroras to make an appearance and when you have a group of like minded people to chat with while you wait it makes the time go by faster.


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