On March 15th a large CME (coronal mass ejection) was blasted towards earth from the sun. It arrived as a G4 storm (very intense) just in time for St. Patricks Day!
Twitter was buzzing with people posting photos of the display on the dark side of the planet and the GOES satellite showed no diminishing in the storms intensity. I started following the solar storm at 11AM and as soon as day turned to dusk some 10 hours later, I grabbed my gear and raced north towards Schomberg.
I began snapping photos as the faint aurora began to grow brighter and moved southward from the northern horizon.
I decided to try a different location and shot further north and west placing Schomberg on my northeastern horizon. If I did not have work in the morning and time to spare I would have driven to Georgian Bay.
The northern lights danced and twinkled on the horizon with varying intensity often clearly visible to naked eye unaffected by the nearby light pollution.
At around 10:15PM local time the northern lights peaked in intensity with some red tones showing up. It was a great display, easily the best I've seen in the last 5 or 7 years!
The biggest problem for me during this event was the wind! It was howling outside with gusts reaching 65 km/h! It was not overly cold, just a couple degree above the freezing mark but the wind chill was biting. I had brought all my lenses including the telephotos but they were rendered useless with the wind. Even on a sturdy tripod the long shutter times and amplified vibration would ruin any photo. So I was limited to 70mm and below. I literally tried to take all my photos in the momentary and sporadic lulls between gusts.
The display kept going with no sign of slowing down by KP numbers began to drop suggesting the end of the show was near.
Finally the show began to fade and I had to play with my ISO and exposure length to keep up with the declining light.
But before the show ended I did use my fisheye to grab a few super wide 180 degree shots!
Powerlines, darn powerlines! They seem to always get in the way, whether it's storms or the aurora, they just sneak in somehow! The lights quickly faded into the darkness after this photo and the show was over.