The Return of the Aurora Borealis

Unless you've been living under a rock for the past week or so, you've heard all about the Northern Lights (or Aurora Borealis), especially if you have a social media account. The likes of Facebook, Twitter, Tik Tok, etc have been flooded with both amateur and professional images of the colorful space phenomenon.

iPhone 15 Pro Max can stand on its own here

I've had a love/hate relationship with the Northern Lights, honestly. Every time there's activity here, it's cloudy. No joke. Over the past decade, it's been cloudy nearly 100% of the time. And the few times that I was too tired to go out because there was a slim chance of seeing something, the sky lit up like a kid on Christmas morning.

Go figure, right?

Fortunately, this time around I lucked out with clear skies, and a once in 20 year solar storm. The first thing I did was charge my camera batteries. You don't want to get out driving an hour or more away from home only to discover your batteries are dead.

That's a rookie move. 😆

So as it turns out, I didn't even have to put shoes on. For the image above, I shot handheld with my iPhone from my deck.

The results are pretty impressive for a cell phone, at night. You can see stars in the image. Seriously impressive.

Not an iPhone image

A few minutes later, after putting on shoes I could tolerate wearing (I have a busted toe or two - that's a story for another time), I ventured out the front door to see if there was anything visible with the naked eye.

There was! It was faint, and not nearly as cool as what a camera can capture, but traces of color were there. Faint, but visible.

After some test shots with my good gear mounted on my tripod, it was decided that staying in the neighborhood was just fine. The sky danced with greens, reds, and purples, and who knows how long this burst was going to stick around.

Also not an iPhone image

I took a bunch of long exposure images while the getting was good.

Despite the hint of clouds beginning to roll on through.

And it's a good thing that I took these photos without driving an hour or more, because after maybe 20 minutes total, this wave of the solar storm rolled through, and the skies quieted down quite a bit.

Until about 3am. But I was sleeping. 😴

Are those clouds I see?

Speaking of clouds, I am a sucker for a cool abstract image, so I took some long exposures of the quick moving clouds. I liked this one the best of the few I captured.


This storm was a pretty big deal. The internet was buzzing, the media was hyping it up, everyone became an expert and an astrophotographer for a few days.

Did you get to see the Northern Lights? Subscribe below and leave a comment and let me know!