So the Northern Lights, Aurora Borealis, was supposed to be quite visible to us here in Maine. That’s cool, I’ve seen the pictures. I’ve always wanted to see and photograph them myself. This seemed like a good opportunity. One problem; well, two really: First, the night time temps were around 10 degrees. Secondly, in order to see them well I would need to get out of the city away from the ambient light. I was thinking Turner perhaps.
So did I really want to see them? Yes. Did I really want to go out there in the cold and dark? No. But I knew I would be kicking myself if woosed out and then saw all kinds of Northern Lights photos from Maine on Facebook the next day. So I bundled up and headed out to Turner with my camera and tripod.
About half way along Upper Street I found a side road that allowed me to get off the main road and gave me a perfect view to the north. So I parked and opened my thermos of hot cocoa and sat waiting and watching…. and nothing was happening. I was getting updates by phone from my wife, who was back home snug and warm, checking up-to-the-minute updates on line. Her info said I should be seeing something… but still nothing. You see where this is going.
Long story short, the lights never appeared. But I didn’t want to waste this trip. Kind of like ‘all dressed up and no place to go.’ So I started looking around. The sky was perfectly clear with a good half moon out illuminating the surroundings. So I decided to do a little experimenting with some night shots, which isn’t easy in below-freezing temps. First off you have to hold a flashlight while trying to set up the camera and get the correct settings. Then you have to “try” to see through the viewfinder to get a pleasing composition. Then set the proper focus manually because it’s too dark for auto focus… and then refocus every time you move the camera. And of course your fingers are getting more numb all the time, making it harder to push the necessary buttons.
So anyway, I didn’t get to see the Northern Lights. In fact, don’t ask me to get excited about the possibility any more because I just won’t be interested. But I did come away with two or three interesting shots on a cold night that I couldn’t have gotten during the day. So the trip wasn’t a total waste.
…And I’m starting to get some feeling back in my thumb.