Sunspot AR 1520

Sunspot AR 1520

Tito and I went north again last night – in hopes of aurora hunting after sunspot AR 1520 delivered a massive X-class flare directly to earth.

Aurora 400

We’re getting quite adept at finding these things ;) We got our best shots not 1.5 hours from downtown Toronto – just outside of Barrie, south of Mt. St. Louis Moonstone.

Aurora Toronto

We cursed every time a car or truck passed us on the highway, but to our delight when processing these turned out to be the best shots!

aurora borealis

I apologize for the image-heavy post – there were so many winners it was very hard to pare it down to a few favourites.

Northern Lights Toronto

We call this the ‘light saber’ shot ;)

northern lights highway Toronto

This was one of Tito’s favourites. Incidentally we’re blogging together this morning!

dramatic night highway

We couldn’t believe how bright they were. Waving and flickering were visible to the naked eye, even from a busy highway.

night photography epic northern lights

After leaving that spot we pulled off on Mt. St. Louis Moonstone road for a few more shots, this time off the highway. We had some very nice and perplexed ATV riders stop to ask if we were ok. They’re unlikely to be reading this, but if they are, thank you, that was very kind.

Shooting start northern lights milky way

Here is the real gem of the night: The northern lights, the Milky Way and a shooting star. All in one shot. Score. It reminds me of one of our favourite sayings – great shots come when the photographers are willing to put themselves out there over and over again – when everyone else has gone home because it’s late, cold, wet etc. I was so tired last night that I considered turning back, Tito was the one to remind me of why we keep going out :)

Milky way, northern lights, panorama

This was a 2 photo stitch where we got the entire milky way galaxy into the shot. For those interested I am shooting tonight with my Canon 7D, and a lens that I didn’t really expect much from: the Rokinon 8mm fisheye. It was only $300, so I was skeptical about its performance, but thought it might be fun to have a fisheye. For $300 I am totally impressed and absolutely recommend it to anyone looking for an affordable novelty lens.

cemetery, northern lights, midland, Jesus

After we left that spot we ended up meandering towards Midland ON, up near Penetanguishene. We passed a very strange little cemetery, with little lights on every grave. Reminded me of Noma Moonrays, remember them? We took a long exposure while painting the cross with a little flashlight.

By this time it was 3:30 in the morning. A trip out to the edge of Georgian Bay left us in the middle of a residential area, so we turned back for the night, arriving home at 5:30 am, satisfied and humbled by the light show we witnessed. Despite my being in the middle of a massive project (which is why I haven’t blogged in a week, sorry about that) I think we might actually go out again tonight. How can I resist?

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