The sky sometimes, so unkind
Then again, he’s my best friend…
– Crocodiles, “Sleep Forever”
See that point where the K index plummets from a tasty 7, indicating a geomagnetic storm, to a serene 4, indicating bubkes? That’s the point where a friend and I loaded up the truck and blazed north to catch those auroras that we’ve been anticipating. That’s okay…my photo buddy and I had a backup plan, and it worked out quite nicely.
Step One: I had this spot in mind, along a little lake northeast of town. Even though the auroras weren’t cooperating, the moon and sky sure were. There was a fantastic lunar corona which actually manifested as a couple of paraselenae, or moondogs as the sky conditions mutated.
We played around at this dock for a little bit, allowing the sky to do some things and letting long exposures turn the rippling lake to glass. At this point we were still hopeful for some auroral activity, but moved on to the next stage in our backup plan since it didn’t require Northern Lights to bear fruit.
This is the abandoned church at Arena. It looks like daylight, even though it was around midnight or so, because the full moon was a-blazin’. I grabbed my big 6-D-Cell Maglite and did some light painting of the cross atop the church’s steeple, and we let the stars and clouds do their thing in the background.
In this shot it almost looked like I could see some splashes of color in the clouds, as if the auroras were trying to peek through, but even at full size I wasn’t able to tell definitively. It was cool to be able to visit this ghost town in the dark, though, and it was another excellent consolation prize since the Northern Lights trip was otherwise a bust.
I have the attitude that any time I return from a photo trip with even one image that I really like, that trip has been a success. It doesn’t even matter if the photo is relevant to the purpose of the trip. In this case, I have a few such photos, and they were the result of a solid backup plan, so I’m pleased not only with the results we captured but the success of that plan.