We heard about the solar flares which would result in Aurora Borealis in the sky close to where we currently live. We were very interested to watch this phenomenon but had no idea what to expect and was in store for us.

Along with a bunch of friends, we set off on a wild goose chase determined to see the northern lights at the same time keeping our hopes as low as possible. We left Minneapolis, Minnesota at 6 pm and started driving up north. The probability of viewing the aurora was higher the more north we went. We stopped for a quick dinner break after 3 hours at Duluth for some delicious Sushi at Hanabi restaurant which definitely requires a mention as it raised our spirits high.

We were 5 of us and we had our roles well defined – Driver, Informer, Facilitator, Story teller, Photographer.

The Informer was an avid follower of astronomical wonders and he was constantly checking for tweets about the Aurora and read blogs from people from the area to make sure we were heading the right way. The facilitator made sure the driver did not fall asleep and constantly checked on the informer if we were heading the right way. The story teller made sure that the entertainment factor was prevalent and the long drive was enjoyable. The photographer’s and driver’s role is pretty obvious: P

It was a windy night and the cold was harsh. The temperature dipped to -15 degrees C; the feels like temperature was around -20 degrees C and the winds made it worse! It was 2 days after the full moon day and the sky was bright making the chances of viewing it clearly bleak.

Against all these odds we still drove ahead since we were already there. After a couple of hours we stopped and observed to see if our eyes could actually see it. And it could not.

At 12 am we decided to just capture a long exposure shot and check for a green sky because as optimists we just kept thinking the sky looked slightly green than usual. And to our surprise the photograph did show greenish tinges at the horizon. We drove a little ahead where there was a clearing and hopped out of the cars and waited. After a few minutes the show began!

We froze as we could not believe our eyes. The green lights started getting darker and disappearing. They were fading in and out while making different patterns in the sky. It was slow initially and then they went rampant. It was a beautiful transition from a slow ballroom dance to a more aggressive and magnificent Tandava. And when the lights displayed the letter “D”, I just knew it. The heavens were talking! We were overjoyed; we jumped, screamed, hugged and squealed.

After a while we were mute. There was absolute silence but yet our hearts were racing. The lights started dancing faster. There was something about those gleaming and flickering lights which felt like a roar, a cry and a wicked laugh like the skies were trying to convey something. I was definitely scared for a second or two. Then again the lights cooled off and they broke into a waltz.

The whole experience brought with it a whole lot of emotions. This was worth driving aimlessly for 12 hours all night. The pictures cannot do justice to what our eyes, mind and heart enjoyed!


Venue – Silver Bay, MN

Photography tips – Use bulb mode and expose at least for a minute or two. And aperture should be as high as f/22 for crisp images.

You can follow the Aurora at Astrobob’s Blog or for live tweets follow SoftServeNews.

Email us @ d.mad.photography@gmail.com if you need more info :)  For pictures – D Mad Photography (Album : Up Above The World So High…)

_D of D-Mad