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.