Star Trails with the Northern Lights – Also Updated “Face of a Traveler” animation.

I’ve been back in Ketchikan for a couple months now, working the same old job, and just kind of unwinding after such a whirl wind of an exodus from my travels last year. The winders here in South East Alaska are not usually very cold, and tend to lean more towards slushy.  How ever we do get the occasional spell of bitter, dry cold as we have the last week.  This also usually gives us clear skies which is great for star gazing and astral photography.

This weekend also happened to coincide with a large sun flare that caused some brilliant Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights, displays.  The best views were in the far north of europe, but even here in SE Alaska we got a show, albeit some what dim compared to some of the displays.

I used some medium length exposures and a high ISO to achieve a series of 370+ images (All shot at 10 seconds, F/3.5 ISO 3200 28mm) strung them together into a couple different projects. The first thing I wanted was a “Star Trails” image with the star light all running together and streaking across the sky for the roughly 1 hour the images spanned.  NLThe Aurora actually kind of got in the way of this, aesthetically speaking, creating a sort of greenish light pollution in the frame.  While Beautiful to watch, when an hours worth of them are merged together, its not as pleasing. Instead it looks like some sort of radioactive leak coming from over the mountain.


Individual frames turned out nicely, however, here is one where some spires that tip into the purple/magenta spectrum, with pulses of a pale green/tea mid-frame.



But the most mesmerizing effect is to see the entire hour sped up in 10 second increments:



It was a cold night, but well worth the trip.  I went about 10 miles outside of town, and up a dirt road that was only recently starting to clear up of snow.  I did play lazy and sat in my warm car, but partial to keep my phone charged through the night. (I use an app that acts as an intervalometer to continually take the series of pictures).

I also wanted to let anyone that is interested and still following that I updated the animation of my hair growing out.  Its past the 8 inch mark now, so only a few months remain before I should be able to donate it!  Be sure to check it out here!







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