Regions:  

 

Purple Majesty

By: LeRoy Zimmerman

 

Region: Polar Regions

Site: Fairbanks - Alaska - USA

Spot: Aurora Skiland

 

As I was driving out to my shooting spot at a friends house on Mt. Aurora Skiland, just north of Fairbanks, AK, I was glancing out of my drivers side window watching the sky as I was driving north. Something looked very different about that aurora that night, because I knew the tall beams making up the auroral wall were a bit unusual out to the west, and they had even moved just a bit south of the magnetic western line. Something big was going on. So I pulled over, rolled down the window and took a 'color grab' shot. Just hand held my camera out the open window for the long exposure needed just to 'see' what was up there. Was completely blown away to see the blue/purple, as I could not see that color with my eyes, but the camera saw it quite easily. So I turned off the car, grabbed the tripod, and set up on the opposite shoulder facing west and started shooting over the nearby ridge. The first blue auroras I have ever shot in 28 years of pano aurora filming. Have since come to realize that digital cameras are picking up colors that film could never see , so we are now seeing 'more' of the aurora than we ever could. Is this photo 'reality' if I could not see these colors with my eye? All of us now shooting digital are seeing things at night that have been beyond our normal seeing abilities. New worlds are being revealed that only add to the wonderful beauty that is already there. Amazing. The very tall beams of the aurora curtain are normally deep red, except when they are being struck by direct sunlight high above our atmosphere. The sun had recently set and was just over -20, so darkness had fallen on the land, but high overhead the sunlight out west was still colliding with the tallest of the auroras, changing their colors from the reds to the blue/purples! I hope to see that many more times at this solar max! Sometimes things are very good indeed! LeRoy Zimmerman/leroyzimmerman.com

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