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Monday, May 20th, 2024

I nearly missed the Aurora Borealis in Austria, but then it blew me away.

It all started when a friend texted me that I should go outside and capture today’s auroras. We call them Polarlichter here in Austria. Honestly, I would have totally forgotten about it when she wouldn’t have notified me. I had a look outside my north facing window ant did not see anything. I told her, that there is nothing to see here. She insisted (I am grateful for that) I must go. So I packed two cameras and a tripod and walked slowly to the Danube. On the way I met a woman who approached me (because she saw me with my camera) and told me that there is nothing to see. I was tempted to go back, but because I was already close to the Danube, I just kept walking. Finally I arrived at the Danube and I saw nothing. I set up my tripod and did the first exposure for about 5 seconds aaaand I saw nothing. I looked again on the screen of my camera and magnified the image. Wait, there is something there. So I changed the camera and used a wide angle lens and did a 30 second exposure.
And there it was, my first ever captured Aurora Borealis. This is very exciting, because we don’t normally see them her ein Austria. So I started with a panorama.

My first capture of an aurora borealis, this was just the start.

You can imagine, that I was hooked after I saw the first little greens and purples in the sky.
Because the light pollution was a bit to much where I was, I moved to a different place and set up my tripod again. It was past midnight already and nearly pitch black at my new location. A very loud splash scared me for a second, but then I remembered that I was standing close to a beaver’s lodge. And behind me there was a lot going on coming from the forrest. I guessed that there were some deers back there. After getting comfortable in the dark I focused back on capturing the sky. And with that I captured my second panorama.

More and more colours were popping up and I got more and more excited.

Right after I captures this wonderful happening, my waiting was rewarded. A fully illuminated cruise ship passed by. I rubbed my eyes and couldn’t believe what I was seeing. In this moment I knew, that I had to act fast, or I miss this opportunity. So I set up my camera, pressed the shutter button and waited for the exposure to end. I felt like these 25 seconds took forever. The outcome was a wonderful capture that looked like something from outer space.

I love the outcome of this exposure.

As lots of you know, that I am very passionate about my wet plate portraits. But this image got me very excited and happy as well. It really paid out that I moved myself from my living room to the Danube.
At this moment it gets better every minute. The sky turned from pitch black to red, purple and pink. Now the aurora borealis was here with its full glory. I was so happy, excited and amazed. Please remember, we don’t ever see this happening in our latitude. So I set up my camera for the next camera and kept shooting.

At this moment the sky was bright red. I could see and capture all these beautiful colours in the sky.

After that, I shot some more panoramas and single images of the forrest and the water (check the gallery bellow) At about 2:30am I just sat there and enjoyed the show. Sitting all by myself there, it felt like I got a private aurora show just for me.
On my way home I passed a little project from our community. We called it N├╝tzlingswiese, I think the English term is beneficial insect meadow. Just a home for insects. We have lots of them on our fields as well, but this one was on my way home on a playground. I set up my camera again and tried to light it with my phone. That was a bit more complicated than I imagined. For sure, I could have just used the first capture and edit myself out of the image, but thats not who am I. So I wanted to capture it again in camera. Now thinking of it made me lough a lot. Just imagine a guy running around for about 30 minutes with a flashlight on a playground at 3am in the morning. After changing my angle of view for two times, this effort also paid of.

My last capture on my way home.

For me this was a one in a lifetime moment. I am so glad that I went out there to capture the sky above my hometown and gor rewarded with something that may not happen again here. My Facebook posting got a huge amount of interactions and lots of people around my area wrote that they regretted not leaving their home. I also did a short video of my captured, so you guys can enjoy it on your big screen.

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  • Posted by Markus | Filed in nature | Comment now »