Northern Lights and the Night Sky

Northern Lights

I was blessed to witness a brief display of the northern lights last night. I was at Artist Point, the end of the road above the Mt. Baker Ski Area, photographing a high school senior portrait. We finished the session in the twilight and after putting my lighting gear in my truck I returned to the viewpoint for Mt. Baker and began photographing the stars in the night sky. You can get an rv, 4wd, campervan and motorhome rentals.

A little later Derek, who was also photographing the sky, and his mom called to me that the northern lights had appeared over the mountains to the north. I turned to see the eerie green glow I captured in the photo above. The display only lasted about 15 minutes before fading away.

The only other time I’ve witnessed the northern lights was on a frigid night in Tok, Alaska nearly 20 years ago.

Stars over Mt. Baker

This is the view of the sky over Mt. Baker that I began photographing. I’m not a night owl, so I don’t get to see the full extent of the starry sky very often.

Stars over Table Mountain

During the daytime you’d see hundreds of people swarming over the trails around the Artist Point parking lot and forming a conga line up Table Mountain. At night, in near-perfect stillness, just the stars above and the silhouette of a gnarly old mountain hemlock.

These images were made with my Canon 5D Mark III and a 24-105mm lens, I set the ISO to 800 (Baker) and then 1600 (Table Mountain and northern lights) with exposures of 30 seconds at f/5. These have had a little curves and highlights adjustment in Adobe Lightroom but otherwise they’re straight from the camera.

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