almost there

Nearly three years ago, I shared the next photos. It showed my first attempts at capturing the northern lights and the small success I had with practice.

I took up photography as a hobby. I have no intention of pursuing anything outside of shooting for my own enjoyment and way to document our growing family. Mostly self taught, which consists of much trial and error, and steered on the right course by my mentor MachoTurbo who charges next to nothing. Sundays evolved into camera chats. I voiced my questions and ambitions with my shooting each week, and he kept me on the straight and narrow, leaving me with “assignments” in order to help hone my craft. Eventually, life would get in the way and neither one of us would have anything to bring to the table with pictures that week. Soon it just became a weekly catch up on the happenings and every once in a while, we had something photography related to talk about.

A couple weeks ago, Daylight Savings to be exact, the kids and I were dragging ourselves to 9 pm. The early sunset had seemed to suck out all of our energy, but when my sister in law texted to say that the northern lights were out and bright, we all needed to see for ourselves.

A giant glowing green rainbow stretched across the sky and we unanimously let out an “ooooooooooo, aaaaaaaaaa”. It only took a matter of minutes, and the light show was beginning to dissipate. I rushed inside to get my gear. With camera and tripod in hand, I turned off all the inside lights on my way back outside. We turned off the garage and porch lights and I felt an adrenaline rush to get my camera set up in time. In my madness, I managed to pinch the tender skin between my thumb and pointer finger while unsnapping the leg extensions on my tripod, and the next line of words I used was described by Reid as, ” a whooooooole lot of bad words.”

Suddenly, I was desperately trying to remember what settings I needed to use and took a few pictures to get it dialed in. I’ll leave out all the boring details, but all you really need to know is that in order to get a clear picture at night you set your camera up to have the shutter open for an extended period of time and it must stay perfectly still. Reason for the tripod. Also why the dog and both kids got hip checked a time or two to keep them away from my setup. Hayden was the only one who humored me after that. Sharky and Reid both decided they had better things to do.

My efforts paid off and I was pleased to have a couple more photos to add to my catalog of “attempts at the northern lights”. Hayden is old enough now to grasp the concept of what’s taking place, and even if my photos didn’t turn out, the experience with her was worth the time we spent outside. I have fond memories of star gazing as a kid, and it’s nothing short of magical that our children get to experience the northern lights in their lifetime. Something not everyone gets to do.

Far from perfect, but progress I’ll gladly accept. The thrill of the chase was enough to light a fire under me, and I’m hopeful to keep up the momentum with shooting. I’ll leave you with a somewhat unfocused photo of the Big Dipper and wish you all a happy Sunday.

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