Me: The Accidental Aurora Photographer

Those of you who follow me on Instagram, know that I'm a pretty avid northern light photographer. I always keep track of the weather and aurora forecasts, hoping for the next opportunity to see the beautiful northern lights dance across the sky.

But I don't think many of you know how came to be one of my favorite hobbies. It was quite accidental. And two years ago, I had no idea that one could even see the northern lights where I live. I always thought we were too far south. Thankfully I was wrong about that.

I have always been fascinated by the night sky. Sitting outside on a dark autumn night, looking up into the billions and billions of stars, makes me feel so small and insignificant - but in a good way! As if none of my troubles are important in the grand scheme of things.

In December two years ago, the weather was perfect for star gazing, with cold, clear nights. It just so happened that I came across an article describing how the Geminids, an annual meteor shower, would be visible the next couple of nights.

My very first night photo
My very first night photo.
So I borrowed my dad's old tripod, grabbed by trusted Canon 400d, and went to a place by the ocean to hopefully capture some meteors. I had read up on settings and how to best take pictures of the stars. And the place I had picked, had an open view to the south, where the meteors most likely would appear.

A friend tagged (or was dragged) along. And we were somewhat surprised to see two other people with cameras at this particular location. But we figured they must be there for the meteor shower as well. So we set up our cameras and started taking pictures - backs to the north.

After a while, I decided to turn around and see if there might be any meteors to the north, as the landscape was prettier in that direction. And that is when I noticed a strange green "fog" in the sky...and that the other two photographers were busy shooting pictures of it.

I gave my friend a nudge and asked him if he could see it too. And it took me a few moments before I realized what that dancing green "fog" actually was - the northern lights!

 Above is my very first picture of the northern lights, ever! I knew absolutely nothing about settings or anything else when it came to aurora photography, so I just continued shooting with the same settings I had used to capture meteors.

I like to think (and hope) that I've come a long way since this first picture close to two years ago. And it's been a thrill every step of the way. Life as a northern light photographer is a bit like an adventure: always waiting for the weather to be clear, looking through the aurora forecasts, checking to see if the northern lights are visible right now, trying to find the perfect spot. And then dash out dragging the dog and camera, as I sprint through unknown landscapes in the dark (one does not want to ruin one's night vision, you know).

After that I bought my own tripod, upgraded my camera, and bought a couple of new lenses. I was hooked πŸ‘§

I feel truly blessed that I am able to have these magical moments, and I'm thrilled to have found Instagram where I get to share my pictures. After all, they would do no good being stored away where no one could see them. So thank you to each and every one of you for appreciating my pictures. I hope I'll get to share many more with you.

PS. I'm also trying to venture into different kinds of photography, such as cityscapes and macro photography, so I hope you'll enjoy seeing those projects as well. And keep in mind that this is a learning process for me. I always aim at improving.

Another photo from the same location as the first one. Here with my new camera and lens, and after some practice.