Seeing the Northern Lights in Vancouver? No-Way!

My goal list night was to capture some night sky shots of the Milky Way Galaxy, now that we see most of the centre structure from the Northern hemisphere. Instead, after talking to my girl friend, she told me that there was a spike in Aurora activity, and that the storm should make the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) visible as far South as Vancouver, BC. I believe she receives alerts from a website that does forecasts and observations every half hour from Edmonton, Alberta. Anyway, she was not kidding that the Aurora Borealis were out; even with all of the light pollution here in the Fraser Valley, I could see them clear a day. The exciting part: I captured them with my camera!

I have a Sony A77v that I love for this type of photography becuase the ISO can be set really low, with good shots without to much noise. Most of the shots I was somewhere around 500 to 800 ISO, though I did try some with just 100 ISO–they did not work that well becuase I had the long exposure I had set to thirty seconds. Most of the shots I used five to ten seconds at ISO 500. That seemed to be a good setting for my camera. And I should stress, I was shooting in full Manual Mode. I did this for a number of reasons, but the main reason was my 14mm lens does not have auto focus, and you really want that turned off when shooting at night.

The second part to these shots was using my 14mm lens. Actually, with the sensor on my camera, the focal length works out to 21mm with this lens. This was wide lens shooting for sure, as I wanted to capture as mush of the sky as I could, and have little to no star trails in my shots. 

I was hoping that the lights would come from right overhead, and change colour, but this was not so. It was still awesome to get these. At least now i can say that I have seen the Aurora Borealis this far South!

One last thing, I was up until 2:00am. Normally, during a weekday this is normal, but with the warm days we been having these last couple of weeks, sleeping until noon has been hard. So, right now, I am very tired. Hopefully my spelling is not bad in this post.

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