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Aurora over Scotland > Aurora Cairn O Mount au617118jhp
Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights displays photographed taken over Aberdeeshire in Scotland since 1989 covering some 350 events with arc, rays, coronas with a wide rnage of shapes and colours
Aurora Cairn O Mount au617118jhp 
 Scottish Aurora Borealis display Boxing Day west rays Cairn O’Mount 1989 taken from just below the Cairn O’Mount on its North face and which looks northwards towards Deeside. This photo is from the fourth Aurora Display I photographed after my first one in September and the arc started to develop from 22.00 hrs UT onwards. I felt that the summit of the Cairn would be a good vantage point and offer uncluttered views northwards. It was a good light pollution free viewpoint but apart from an occasional passing car, headlights a headache during an exposure, I soon realised that it was along way to go and of course further south of and way from any displays. In some of the photos there are two small lights on the horizon which I reckoned were from a farm on the Hill of Fare several miles to the north. The single dark pole is a snow pole and on the side of the nearby hillside are snow fences. This display was a classic in terms of an Arc, waxing and waning until it reached a point of no return when single and then multiple burst upwards from the arc as well as moving quite rapidly from right to left; East to West. Generally the colour was a pale whitish/yellow colour with a hint of red in some of the rays.

The project to photograph an Aurora came after a missed opportunity earlier in the year in March with what became known as the Big Aurora, a full Corona over Deeside. I had got the idea of trying to photograph a display following on from my success in 1986 of capturing Halley’s Comet thanks to the support of the Astronomy Ian Shepherd at the Edinburgh Observatory. I had heard about the Big Aurora but had missed the display buried away in my darkroom processing B&W photos for the local newspaper. Ian suggested I contact John MacNicol, President of the Aberdeen Astronomy Society and he eventually tipped me off about the first display I saw. Later tips helped until I started to park at a favourite viewpoint every clear night over the forthcoming years, the days before the Internet, and just watch the night sky.

I took Fuji RHP 400asa and RSP 11, rated at 1600ASA, the fastest available at the time in 35mm slide film of which this photo is an example and I tried both as well as bracketing exposures around the 20 second mark based on my experiences with photographing the Comet and aware that exposures much longer than that incurred the affect of star trail so instead of sharp dots for stars they became lines. Instead of a telephoto lens as per the Comet, for Aurora I used my widest lens, a Nikkor 28mm with a f2.8 widest aperture. Push processing the slide film at the Fuji lab by two stops to the equivalent of 1600asa I found that an exposure around 20 second eventually gave the best results for best colour saturation and exposure and giving the maximum control of grain without it appearing washed out from underexposure. This basic arrangement eventually worked best when I moved to a DSLR Fuji S2 in 2003 with an ISO of 1600 giving comparable results to the ASA equivalent and the noise factor was akin to the grain of slide film. As I shot my general landscape work using Fuji I stayed with it for the Aurora although Kodak film was acceptable in quality and results. I felt that the Fuji film handled the reds and greens better anyway and these are in practice the primary colours of Aurora displays when oxygen is excited by the incoming electrons 
 Keywords: Scotland, Scottish, British, North, Northern, East, Aberdeenshire, Royal, Deeside, Glen, Dye, Cairn, O’Mount, road, Heatheryhaugh, Clachnaben, Aurora, Borealis, Arc, multiple, Rays, Northern, Lights, Merry Dancers, landscape, photos, photographs, sunspots, solar, flares, CME, electrons, photons, storms, energy, sun, stars, oxygen, gas, Van, Allen, belt, ionosphere, flares, space, molecules, magnetic, disturbance, magnetometers, belts, radiation, purple, red, green, yellow, pink, colourful, colorful, coloured, colored, colours, colors, moon, whirls, celestial, clouds, nature, dark, nights, night-time, forest, 1989, September, December, Boxing, Day, slide, film, Fuji, RHP, RSP11, 400asa, 1600asa, 35mm, time, exposure, Nikon, FM2, wide, angle, lens, 28mm, 24mm, f2.8, scanned, scan, earliest, first, captured
© Jim Henderson
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Photographer: Jim Henderson
Collection: Aurora over Scotland
Filename:
Aurora Cairn O Mount au617118jhp
Upload Date: Friday, March 18, 2016
Photo Size: 13.0 MB; 5416x3484 pixels
Preview:
  comp 600 x 386

Caption:

Scottish Aurora Borealis display Boxing Day west rays Cairn O’Mount

1989 taken from just below the Cairn O’Mount on its North face and which looks northwards towards Deeside. This photo is from the fourth Aurora Display I photographed after my first one in September and the arc started to develop from 22.00 hrs UT onwards. I felt that the summit of the Cairn would be a good vantage point and offer uncluttered views northwards. It was a good light pollution free viewpoint but apart from an occasional passing car, headlights a headache during an exposure, I soon realised that it was along way to go and of course further south of and way from any displays. In some of the photos there are two small lights on the horizon which I reckoned were from a farm on the Hill of Fare several miles to the north. The single dark pole is a snow pole and on the side of the nearby hillside are snow fences. This display was a classic in terms of an Arc, waxing and waning until it reached a point of no return when single and then multiple burst upwards from the arc as well as moving quite rapidly from right to left; East to West. Generally the colour was a pale whitish/yellow colour with a hint of red in some of the rays.

The project to photograph an Aurora came after a missed opportunity earlier in the year in March with what became known as the Big Aurora, a full Corona over Deeside. I had got the idea of trying to photograph a display following on from my success in 1986 of capturing Halley’s Comet thanks to the support of the Astronomy Ian Shepherd at the Edinburgh Observatory. I had heard about the Big Aurora but had missed the display buried away in my darkroom processing B&W photos for the local newspaper. Ian suggested I contact John MacNicol, President of the Aberdeen Astronomy Society and he eventually tipped me off about the first display I saw. Later tips helped until I started to park at a favourite viewpoint every clear night over the forthcoming years, the days before the Internet, and just watch the night sky.


I took Fuji RHP 400asa and RSP 11, rated at 1600ASA, the fastest available at the time in 35mm slide film of which this photo is an example and I tried both as well as bracketing exposures around the 20 second mark based on my experiences with photographing the Comet and aware that exposures much longer than that incurred the affect of star trail so instead of sharp dots for stars they became lines. Instead of a telephoto lens as per the Comet, for Aurora I used my widest lens, a Nikkor 28mm with a f2.8 widest aperture. Push processing the slide film at the Fuji lab by two stops to the equivalent of 1600asa I found that an exposure around 20 second eventually gave the best results for best colour saturation and exposure and giving the maximum control of grain without it appearing washed out from underexposure. This basic arrangement eventually worked best when I moved to a DSLR Fuji S2 in 2003 with an ISO of 1600 giving comparable results to the ASA equivalent and the noise factor was akin to the grain of slide film. As I shot my general landscape work using Fuji I stayed with it for the Aurora although Kodak film was acceptable in quality and results. I felt that the Fuji film handled the reds and greens better anyway and these are in practice the primary colours of Aurora displays when oxygen is excited by the incoming electrons
Keywords: Scotland, Scottish, British, North, Northern, East, Aberdeenshire, Royal, Deeside, Glen, Dye, Cairn, OMount, road, Heatheryhaugh, Clachnaben, Aurora, Borealis, Arc, multiple, Rays, Northern, Lights, Merry Dancers, landscape, photos, photographs, sunspots, solar, flares, CME, electrons, photons, storms, energy, sun, stars, oxygen, gas, Van, Allen, belt, ionosphere, flares, space, molecules, magnetic, disturbance, magnetometers, belts, radiation, purple, red, green, yellow, pink, colourful, colorful, coloured, colored, colours, colors, moon, whirls, celestial, clouds, nature, dark, nights, night-time, forest, 1989, September, December, Boxing, Day, slide, film, Fuji, RHP, RSP11, 400asa, 1600asa, 35mm, time, exposure, Nikon, FM2, wide, angle, lens, 28mm, 24mm, f2.8, scanned, scan, earliest, first, captured
 


 

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