November Lights – A Look Back on this Week’s Aurora Displays

It’s been an exciting (and sleep-deprived) week in the mountains of Banff National Park.

Daytime for me was spent working on outdoor shoots for local clients as well as doing some landscape photography instruction. Both clients and participants were great to work with and made the last few days extremely rewarding. I am thankful to be able to work with great local clients in a regular basis and will be sharing some of the results of those outings in the coming weeks.

The fantastic nighttime photography opportunities this week were just the icing on the cake. As the Sun nears the peak of its activity cycle, it has produced an increasing number of coronal mass ejections which, when Earth-directed, can lead to spectacular displays of northern lights. Although the phenomenon happens much more frequently at higher latitudes, we occasionally get to see a good show down where I live in Banff National Park.

On Monday night the data looked great so I headed out in search of auroras. It was a cloudy night in the mountains and besides I was told that the lights never really showed up even where clear skies were available. Once again I ended up knee deep in the Vermilion Lakes to photograph the interesting ice formations found all along the shore.

“The Grip of Winter”

It is Tuesday night that the magic really happened. The aurora data looked great and after catching the new Bond flick I went to Lake Minnewanka in search of clear skies and northern lights. Although much of the sky had a green hue to it, the aurora lacked definition for the first few hours. A friend and I did get to enjoy an intereting display starting around midnight. Not much in terms color or intensity, but the vague curtains covered a large portion of the sky. The lights ventured far east enough that we decided to go over to iconic Vermilion Lakes to see of the lights were visible from there. Typically the Lakes are hardly a great aurora-watching spot because the light pollution and the mountains that stand tall to the north. That night however, the aurora cloud clearly be seen dancing right above Mount Rundle for well over an hour, through a convenient window in a generally overcast sky.

Here are a few images I took on that beautiful night in the mountains. Hope everyone had a great week and that some of you got to see the aurora. Thanks everyone for visiting the blog!

“Colorful Swirl”, Mount Inglismaldie, Lake Minnewanka.

“Green Night”, Lake Minnewanka, Banff National Park.

“Open Arms and Aurora”, Vermilion Lakes.

“Falling Skies” III, Lake Minnewanka, Banff National Park.

“Aurora Handshake”, Vermilion Lakes, Banff National Park.

“Falling Skies” II, Lake Minnewanka.

7 Responses to “November Lights – A Look Back on this Week’s Aurora Displays”

  1. BreOfficialBlog

    Absolutely Gorgeous Photographs, very beautiful. I would love to see something like that in real life : )

  2. Kevin Simpson

    Incredible, nice work. We shared this at our page

    * * * * *Our Mission: Enhance our customer’s passion for cycling and fitness by providing them with professional & reliable service, products, and knowledge.* *We strive to be educators, not only suppliers. *

    Kevin Simpson

    Facebook – Rebound Cycle

    On Sun, Nov 18, 2012 at 4:21 PM, Paul Zizka Photography | mountain

  3. Carol MacKinnon

    I finally got to see Mountains in Motion, and it was spectacular. The mountains seemed to be moving and alive. Thank you. It was my first time to visit the Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour (Calgary), primarily went to see your film but enjoyed the whole program.

    • Paul Zizka

      Thanks so much for taking the time to comment Carol. Glad you enjoyed the film! We are particularly interested in feedback from the Calgary crowd since so many Calgarians are familiar with the subject of the movie.


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