Welcome to the page of my website that rarely gets attention.
Well, from now on I'm gonna cherry pick my favourite photography outings that are worth adding to my BLOG, beginning with this one - my first entry of 2023, If a night of Northern Lights action aint worth blogging about, then what is???
Tuesday 14th March, 2023 - a typical day where spring threatens to break through, but never does, and as
it approaces early evening, I find myself looking at the weather forecast, for the night ahead. And what do ya know, there's a prediction of clear skies, around 9pm and beyond, which catches my attention and has me eyeing up a road trip, with the camera. I'd been fancying a night under the stars for a few weeks, but the weather had other ideas and any hope was scuupered very quickly. Not tonight though - it was game on for a bit of milky way photography. I had no real plan of action, so to speak, so I simply charged my batteries, packed the camera bag and headed out into the night. Gone!
An hour or so later, around 8.30pm, I found dropping anchor on the Northumberland coast, near Bamburgh Castle. I parked up and was now ready to unleash the camera on the milky way. I got out the car and checked the night sky. There was a few clouds to the north, but otherwise the sky was as clear as the Met Office had earlier predicted, so from a photographers perspective - it was most definitely game on!!
As if by some quirk of fate, I suddenly received an alert on the GLENDALE AURORA app, as the stats had taken a very unexpected turn for the better. Wow!!! - this was a surprise - and without any time to waste, I quickly checked a facebook photography group, to see if anyone in the UK had registered any green stuff. Someone from Amble had posted a photo of green glow, which had me grabbing my hat n gloves, before zipping up and getting out the car to fire off a test shot on the roof, looking north.
WOW !!!!!! I couldn't believe my eyes. Green and magenta on camera, but not to the naked eye. I mean, where did THIS come from!!!! Totally unexpected. I was parked in a prime spot, next to Stag Rock and the little white lighthouse, so as you can miagine, I was quickly insitu and set up in no time. Camera 1 was now working continuously, while camera 2 was pulling in regular single shots, just so I could see how much colour was on show. And now we have structure!!! Beams of green shooting into the sky on the horizon. Suddenly everything was falling into place. Better still, I had the place completely to myself, which is a rarity on nights like this. I 've been stood on the very same spot with around 12 photographers, in the past.
It was nippy and rather windy at the same time, but what the hell. The aurora was, by now (10pm), putting on a fantastic show!! I ran off a few more single RAW files, using the bank steps as a lead-in line, before heading down onto the beach, next to Stag Rock. Camera 1 was now fending for itself, all alone on top of the bank. I kept regular checks on it, while running off more single shots along the shore. It was at this point I remembered the NOCTY SELFIE I pulled in last summer, on Stag Rock. One of my all-time favourite night time shots. I suddenly had the urge to do it all again, only this time there were no noctilucent clouds, but the glow of the aurora borealis on the northern horizon. Suddenly, camera 2 was left behind, as I quickly negotiated the rocks in front of me, taking up position next to the white stag. A cliche shot indeed, but it simply has to be done...so up went the arms in celebration of what I could see in front of me, as by this time, the aurora was more than visible to the naked eye!!!! WOW!!!! I fired off a couple of shots via remote control.
Two hours whizzed by. The cold was starting to kick in, so I headed back up the hill with camera 2, then set it up to fire continually to the north, before finally checking in on camera 1, which was asking for a battery change. Job done! Now, both cameras were firing, as I headed for a bite to eat...
So, back to the car it was. Back of goodies awaiting my attention, so I dived in, as ya do. I brought a Doner Kebab POT NOODLE, a jetboil, can of pepsi max and a bag of wine gums haha. Yeah....that's exactly what I brought with me.................NO F@CKING WATER for the jetboil....LOLOLOL !!!!! Oh dear, another senior moment. I was so looking forward to that hot and tasty pot noodle, to warm the cockles. Anyway, I defaulted to the bag of wine gums....haha.....scranwise...that really was as good as it got!!!!
A good 3 hours had passed, with hundreds of shots reeled in, so as it passed the stroke of midnight, I checked the northern horizon to find that the lights had eased off considerably. At this point I made the decision to bail out, so I packed the cameras away and headed back to the nearby car. That's a wrap!
Well, what a night that was! A total surprise. Those are the best nights. Strong forecasts of aurora are great, but if it doesn't live up to the billing, then disappointment is the main emotion and you have liitle choice other than to wait it out for the next one. But surprise auroras are the boyo - when you head out with very little expectation, then BOOM....there she is, dancing in front of the camera. As I say, the whole night was made even more special, as I had the place to myself - just me and the green lady. UNFORGETTABLE !!!!
Until next time, take care...
(PS - Keep your eyes peeled for the VLOG I'm about to put together, of my SURPRISE BAMBURGH AURORA) appearing on YouTube, very soon...