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Aurora at Point Betsie
Aurora at Point Betsie
After getting several notices on our phones the last few days that the Northern Lights might be out on Sunday night and early Monday morning, my dad picked me up from my new house in Ludington around 9pm. We drove to Point Betsie Lighthouse just north of Frankfort, Michigan. Shortly after getting on location and figuring out where we wanted to shoot, my dad and I noticed a large white pillar of light appearing to the left of the lighthouse. A few moments later, the colors of the Northern Lights appeared. Luckily, my camera was taking an almost three-minute exposure during this time. By the end of the long exposure, the pillars were gone and the colors faded quickly. My dad and I stayed until 2am hoping they would come back. Once the clouds rolled in, we headed home with giant smiles on our faces because we were pretty sure we each got at least one nice photograph!
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Northern Lights Over Epworth
Northern Lights Over Epworth
Northern Lights Over Epworth
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Solar Wind
Solar Wind
Solar Wind
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Aurora Borealis
Aurora Borealis
Often times while I am photographing an extraordinary light show, I ponder what our human ancestors must have felt when they witnessed similar sights thousands of years ago. On December 14, 2006, as I stood on a dune inside the Ludington State Park and photographed the Aurora Borealis and an incredible meteor shower, I was overcome by a rush of emotions. The light show was so intense that it evoked a sense of fear in me. I knew nothing horrible was actually happening, but the sky was so turbulent that it still made me feel a bit uneasy. I imagine that our ancestors might have felt true fear because they didn't have the knowledge of modern science to explain what they were seeing.
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Northern Lights at First Curve (2723)
Northern Lights at First Curve (2723)
Northern Lights at First Curve
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Legends Ranch (3025)
Legends Ranch (3025)
Legends Ranch
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Northern Lights (6593)
Northern Lights (6593)
Northern Lights
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Mystic Phenomenon - Vertical
Mystic Phenomenon - Vertical
Mystic Phenomenon - Vertical
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Mystic Phenomenon
Mystic Phenomenon
Mystic Phenomenon
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Epworth Lights
Epworth Lights
Epworth Lights
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Northern Reflections
Northern Reflections
Northern Reflections
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Northern Reflections - Panoramic
Northern Reflections - Panoramic
Northern Reflections - Panoramic
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Hamlin Lake Workshop and Northern Lights (7510)
Hamlin Lake Workshop and Northern Lights (7510)
Hamlin Lake Workshop and Northern Lights
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Hamlin Lake Workshop and Northern Lights Panoramic (7510)
Hamlin Lake Workshop and Northern Lights Panoramic (7510)
Hamlin Lake Workshop and Northern Lights Panoramic
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A Room With A View
A Room With A View
The Holiday Inn Express in Munising, Michigan has become our home away from home when we are photographing in the Upper Peninsula. Thanks to a Facebook alert on my cell phone, I knew the northern lights might appear in the middle of the night. Every hour I got out of bed and went out on the porch of our hotel room to check. At around 4:50 a.m., I could see the lights over Grand Island. I set up my camera and tripod and made this image. In a few short hours my dad and I would be hiking across the ice to photograph the caves on Grand Island.
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Northern Lights Over Isle Royale
Northern Lights Over Isle Royale
After an incredibly long and hard day of hiking and shooting photographs on Isle Royale, at around 11:30 p.m., my dad and I decided to take a chance and make the short hike to Tobin Harbor to see if the northern lights were out. To our surprise, we could see them as soon as we got onto the seaplane docks. We needed to set up quickly to ensure we got good images before midnight so we could use them in our new Wednesdays book. I knew from past experience I needed a 15-minute exposure. Multiple loons and at least two moose were calling back and forth over the water.
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Family Connections
Family Connections
When Julia, Ethan, and I walked outside of my brother and sister-in-law's house after a pre-Christmas family gathering, Ethan commented on how clear the sky was. We hopped in my truck and drove to the North Bayou of Hamlin Lake to get a clearer view of the Milky Way. Standing there, looking up at the million stars above our heads, I felt so blessed to have such a tight family connection here on Earth.
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Fire It Up
Fire It Up
Last night after I got done watching a movie at the theater, I drove out to the First Curve on M116 at the Ludington State Park to see if the Northern Lights were out. I knew they had been out the night before, but the clouds were so thick in our area, you couldn't get a good photo of them. The application, Aurora Forecast, that I use on my iPhone, was measuring a level 5 on the KP scale. Usually at a level 5, you can see a tiny bit of color with a trained eye and some of the white pillars if they are out, but your camera will pick up the color much better. Standing in the parking lot of the First Curve, I could see the white pillars, but no color. It took me a few minutes to get my boots, warm clothes, headlamp, and hat on and to get my camera pre-set at the truck. I hustled up the small dune to the north of where I parked with my camera and tripod and this was the first exposure I made. It turned out to be the best shot of the night because the light show was short lived. The red light in the foreground is from a car's headlights as it was approaching from behind me at the very end of the exposure. I was fired up to say the least.
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Northern Lights Over Ludington
Northern Lights Over Ludington
Northern Lights Over Ludington
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Tree of Light
Tree of Light
I had the luck of the Irish tonight while chasing the northern lights over Hamlin Lake with our manager Rachel and her sister Sarah. We were all fortunate to make images of the northern lights before they disappeared. My best image of the night was my first image. This was a St. Patrick's Day I will never forget.
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