Updated: Jul 13, 2021
Yesterday was a pretty great day. A friend and I played an outdoor "concert" that was filmed for broadcast on Shaw cable at a later date. It was a rare opportunity with the current Covid restrictions to create a musical performance to show to the community, and though we were in the middle of a heat wave and the bugs were out in great numbers, we still had a great time. Just as we were finishing and packing our gear back up to go home I got a notification that I had won FIRST PLACE in the Duck's Unlimited Manitoba Fundraising Event photography contest!
This is the first contest I have ever entered as a photographer and I wasn't expecting to win, but to win FIRST PLACE was really amazing! The photo I submitted featured not only the northern lights, but also their reflection in the lake as well as the end of the sunset which you can see in a faint orange on the horizon. So I thought it might be a good idea to tell a little bit of a story about this photo.
The night this photo was taken I was camping with my boyfriend and another good friend out near Sasagiu Rapids in northern Manitoba. This spot is about an hour south of where I live and take most of my northern light photos, but it's still north of the 55th parallel which means we get the good fortune of seeing more northern light activity than other places that are further to the south. We had decided to spend Labour Day weekend out in the woods. Autumn can descend pretty quickly in northern Manitoba so we wanted to have one more summer weekend bash before the cold and snow set in. On this particular night the northern lights appeared as soon as darkness began to fall. We were all sitting around our campfire looking to the skies and they just started to dance. In fact, the orange glow of the sunset was not really visible to the naked eye, but appeared after the long exposure that's necessary to capture the northern lights. So we jumped up and put out our campfire, I grabbed the camera and the bug spray and headed a short distance down to the dock closest to our campsite; the northern lights are always breathtaking, but when you can capture them reflected in the water it just takes it to another level. The sunset was just a bonus I didn't even know I had captured until after I took the shot.
That night the colours in the sky were amazing. Greens, pinks, purples, yellows, and the sunset's orange. I ran around chasing the lights for the next few hours, and still didn't capture everything I could have. Sometimes they move and change formation so quickly it's just impossible to capture it all, especially when you have to wait for a long shutter. Even then, some of the images I captured that night still blow me away. It was one of those nights where they were so active for such a long time it was hard not to get some really impressive shots. I ran around to a few slightly different locations and managed to get a variety of colours.
Early September is one of my favourite times of year to go northern light hunting. Northern Manitoba stays really light throughout most of the summer evenings, so it's difficult to stay up late enough to catch the colours and then you only have a few hours of darkness. By the time September rolls around it's still warm enough to spend long periods of time outside and one of my favourite ways to do that is by sitting around a campfire just waiting to see if the lights will come out and do their dance. If we're lucky, they will, and when they do I'll be sure and grab my camera and see what I can capture. It doesn't matter how they dance or what colours they come in, I never get tired of watching! Here are a just a handful of images from that night, I hope you enjoy. Some of these images are also featured in my jewelry. You can find them on the Shop tab here on my website.