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Colourful Aurora - Thanks to Dark Skies


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It wasn't the brightest part of the display, but the really dark location allowed a long exposure at high ISO to show up the colours........

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The scene was captured last night at Strathy Point on the north coast of Scotland. It was imaged using a tripod mounted Canon 650D DSLR (50sec @ f3.5 and ISO 3200).

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Lovely image Gordon,

Just back from the Easter weekend in Caithness today, was pretty hopeful to catch this with the KP5 forecast, totally clear all day Sunday but the haar rolled in off the sea early evening blocking out the whole sky over Reiss. 

On a brighter note, I was rewarded with a cracking binocular session on Saturday night into Sunday morning. Best skies I've viewed under :)

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Nice shot Gordon.

We almost met last night. I didn't want to approach strangers in the darkness ;), I realized that one of the lights which I have seen in the dark could be yours when I've seen car similar to yours on the car park on the way back.

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Beautiful shot. I imaged the aurora from Norway earlier this year with my tripod mounted 550D and I too shot at ISO3200 but the images turned out very noisy and dim (5 sec exposures @ F5.6) so I was puzzled by how clean and smooth your image is at the much longer time of 50 seconds at the same ISO. Is there a secret?

By the way the aurora was VERY bright and I was struggling to not over expose which explains the high ISO and short (ish) exposures I was using

I too really like the colours and the glassy look of the water due to the long exposure :icon_salut:  

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Thanks everyone.

Lovely image Gordon,

Just back from the Easter weekend in Caithness today, was pretty hopeful to catch this with the KP5 forecast, totally clear all day Sunday but the haar rolled in off the sea early evening blocking out the whole sky over Reiss. 

On a brighter note, I was rewarded with a cracking binocular session on Saturday night into Sunday morning. Best skies I've viewed under :)

It was a cracking clear night on Saturday as you say - just a pity the main auroral display wasn't that night. I could see from the forecast that the haar was going to take over on Sunday night, so myself and a few others headed west to Strathy Point. Glad we did as we were rewarded with a wonderful view of dark starry skies and a nice display of aurora. Maybe you'll be luckier and get to see the aurora on your next visit north.

Nice shot Gordon.

We almost met last night. I didn't want to approach strangers in the darkness ;), I realized that one of the lights which I have seen in the dark could be yours when I've seen car similar to yours on the car park on the way back.

It can be a bit worrying not knowing who's out there when the only ambient light is aurora and starlight. But I've often been told I look much less scary in darkness ;) , so if you spot my car next time come and say hello. If I know you're about there is less chance I'll make a surprise guest appearance in your timelapse footage too :rolleyes:

Beautiful shot. I imaged the aurora from Norway earlier this year with my tripod mounted 550D and I too shot at ISO3200 but the images turned out very noisy and dim (5 sec exposures @ F5.6) so I was puzzled by how clean and smooth your image is at the much longer time of 50 seconds at the same ISO. Is there a secret?

By the way the aurora was VERY bright and I was struggling to not over expose which explains the high ISO and short (ish) exposures I was using

I too really like the colours and the glassy look of the water due to the long exposure :icon_salut:  

If there is a secret I haven't learned it yet - I'm not too good at the image processing part and rely on the image straight out the camera being pretty good already.  I find that a little tweak using the noise reduction sliders in Lightroom does a fairly good job of improving the image though.....

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  • 2 weeks later...

It's taken a while for me to get time to work on them, but more photos from that night can be seen in the slideshow and short timelapse sequences here - https://www.flickr.com/photos/57299237@N05/13920813337/.

It's a real shame the cloud made an unwelcome appearance before the auroral show had finished, but I suppose it meant getting to bed at a semi reasonable hour.

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