Yellowknife Auroras

Tour report

Wow! Another amazing trip to see the auroras. This year I co-led the trip with my friend Victoria Dye. And if you know Victoria, you know that we ate really well. Not only does she have a knack for finding great places to eat, she's also just happens to be a great field instructor as well as a Lightroom expert.

This year was a little different from last year's trip. Last year we got clouded out a couple of nights. This year we went out every night except the very first and every night we went out we saw auroras.
Last year, on the four nights we did go out, we always saw a pretty good display, including one amazing storm overhead.
This year, two of the nights were kind of duds, even though we did see auroras for a bit on both nights.
The best night for consistent displays was the night we went to Aurora Village. That's quite a place, if you don't mind sharing space with lots and lots of tourists. Still, it gave us quite a bit of variety and the auroras were pretty steady. We also got a little aurora storm.

But I think we saved the best for last.
On our last night we had to wait a bit for things to get going but when they did: OH MY!
We got treated to an aurora storm that danced all around and above us for what seemed like hours but was probably only about 20 minutes. It was amazing. And really impossible to photograph.
The problem is that the auroras are moving so fast and you need such long shutter speeds, that you can never capture what it's truly like.

Aurora borealis and Milky Way.

Aurora borealis and Milky Way.

Most of the time when viewing auroras, the only color the naked eye can see is green. (These are the slow, steady auroras.) This is because of how our night vision works. The camera, on the other hand, can capture those colors our eyes cannot: mainly the reds and purples.

But during a storm you can see those reds and blues and purples with the naked eye. Ironically, the camera couldn't capture those colors because the longer exposures necessary for night photography blurs them together. I even tried a shutter speed as fast as one second but those moving auroras were rendered as twisty blurs. Still amazing photographs, but lacking the spikes of color one would see when viewing in person.

So, photographically, the slow moving auroras can look like they have a lot of movement while the really fast auroras look like they'd be more stationary.

But what turns a trip like this into something special is the people you're with, and we had a great group of adventurous and fun-loving folks. There were plenty of laughs to go along with all the oohs and ahhs, and that can make any trip a good trip.

I just wanted to say THANK YOU !! to each of you for the wonderful experience we had in Yellowknife. You did an awesome job with the logistics, eating and more eating, and trying to provide us with the opportunities to experience and capture the Auroras. This adventure was all I was hoping it was going to be. I like several of my Aurora shots, but I enjoyed the experience even more.
-Brent W.

The auroras are truly an amazing experience. If you're interested in joining us in 2016, be sure to drop me a line.


The whole gang under an aurora. Photo by Victoria Dye.

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