Northern Lights Over the White Mountains

Northern Lights Over the White Mountains
Jackson, New Hampshire

What a show last night!  I met up with Jim Salge, Jeff Sinon, and Matthew Stearns in Jackson right after sunset in a field looking towards Mt. Washington and the Wildcat Range.  Starting at about 8:10pm we were able to capture the green glow with our cameras and within 10 minutes we were in full swing with light pillars dancing in the sky visible to our naked eyes – but not in color.  Our human night vision is basically black and white, there just simply isn’t enough light for our vision system to pick out the color.  If the aurora is bright enough then you can see it in color, and Jon Secord happened to be farther enough north to see it in color with his naked eye.

That said, the color seen in this image is 100% real because the camera isn’t color blind at night and has no problem seeing the vivid aurora display.  What appeared to our eyes as bright white spotlights shining up into the sky were actually green, magenta, and red in color!

We were able to photograph the aurora non-stop for about an hour, we did not have any problem with clouds moving in but the aurora started to slow down and then the bright moon rose and washed out the sky.

While I was excited to have the iconic profile of Mt. Washington in the frame, the foreground was lacking so we decided to use Jim Salge’s tent to add something to the foreground.   We would all hit our shutters, Jim would run into the tent and light it up with his headlamp, then run back to his camera.  Wash, rinse, and repeat many times all while watching the amazing light pillars dance in the sky and screaming with glee when the LCDs on our cameras lit up when our dark frames were over.

Nikon D800E, Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8 lens @ f/2.8 and 22mm, ISO 800, 25 seconds.  The sky exposure I used here had a darker tent (light painting quickly while running around is difficult, just ask Jim!) so I used another exposure with the same exact angle and settings and a more lit up tent and blended that tent into this photo, replacing the darker tent.

#Aurora #AuroraBorealis #NorthernLights #WhiteMountains #NewHampshire #AdamWoodworthPhotography

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