After supper, I built a fire in the hot tub. Overnight the temperature had dropped to about fifteen below zero F. and the temperature in the hot tub was down to about seventy degrees F. It takes about two hours to get the hot tub temperature back to one hundred degrees. Cindy and I jumped in and watched the stars and the occasional meteor streak overhead. An hour later we climbed out and got dressed in the nearby sauna, also heated with a wood stove.
I noticed a green glow of aurora borealis in the north and decided to take out a camera. I set the tripod and camera on the ice of Rufus Creek. The camera was set on interval timer to record a photo every ten seconds that I could later turn into a video. Returning to the house I told Cindy the aurora was really going for it so she got dressed for the cold and we went outside. I took along another camera and set it to record the aurora dancing over the house. We watched as the aurora went crazy. But it was getting chilly so I suggested we walk out to the hot tub and check the temp. I slide the lid over and the thermometer read 106 F. A bit on the warm side but tolerable so we stripped down and jumped in. And for the next hour we relaxed in luxury and soaked it all in.
The aurora borealis displays are really picking up this year. After a few years of slow aurora activity its an exciting change and a great excuse for stay up late and snapping a few photographs. With todays wonderful digital cameras getting great aurora photos is easier than ever. I remember the day when I had only Kodachrome film with an ASA speed of either 25 or 64. Living in Alaska it could take more than two weeks just to get your processed film returned and check your results. Today you can snap a shot or two check the exposure using your histogram display, adjust your exposure if necessary and shoot away . You can be confident of what you’re getting. Continue reading →
.All week I have been on safari, backyard safari that is, trying to sniff out a few photographs. I continue working with the pine grosbeaks and red squirrels but they have proven tough subjects. Yes even squirrels can be very challenging especially when you try for something new. Last night a fantastic aurora show kept me busy for a few hours after midnight. The unexpected beauty made up for those frustrating red squirrels.
For the past couple weeks a boreal owl has been singing after dark. I had developed this situation by placing a couple of ladders within camera range of his singing posts. He sings his territorial song while sitting at the entrance of a couple of old northern flicker nesting cavities. On top of the ladders, I mounted ball heads so I could climb and place my telephoto lens and flash bracket quickly and quietly. As I photographed the aurora borealis the boreal owl was singing from both of the flicker cavities. During lulls in the aurora activity, I approached the cavities to see what was going on. At one cavity there was no owl at the hole and I could hear the male singing from the other cavity. Just for fun I scratched the tree trunk and to my surprise the head of a boreal owl emerged. There were two boreal owls! The male had attracted a mate. That was exciting news. Perhaps they would choose one of the cavities for their nest.
Male boreal owl stares out from the northern flicker cavity.