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Wineglass Bay Aurora!

Wineglass Bay Aurora!

Tuesday January 12, 2016

The aurora put on a killer show on December 20 which I am sad to say – I slept through…

Aurora Wineglass Bay Tasmania

The aurora made a brief appearance over Wineglass Bay and the Freycinet Peninsula on December 21 2015

Having missed a big one I watched the numbers like a hawk on December 21 and decided there was still enough in it to warrant a trip up the east coast to attempt a Wineglass Bay aurora.

Aurora Wineglass Bay Tasmania

The aurora made a brief appearance over Wineglass Bay and the Freycinet Peninsula on December 21 2015

While I did taste some success, a large part of the night was a losing battle with the clouds.

Aurora Wineglass Bay Tasmania

These were the best beams of the night and sadly, the last. Thick cloud came and obscured the views for most of the rest of the night.

Photographing the Aurora – Moonlight

A topic which divides aurora photographers somewhat is moonlight. The moon is an intense light source for cameras which are set to high ISO values, usually in the thousands, in order to capture the (relatively) dim light of the aurora. All these shots, taken from the lookout over Wineglass Bay, involved a fairly full moon, so balancing ISO and shutter speed was a slightly more complicated affair than on moonless nights.

Star trails and clouds over Wineglass Bay

Star trails and clouds over Wineglass Bay during a recent aurora chase

My thoughts this evening were that the moonlight would add to the shot as Wineglass Bay is such an iconic location. Compare the shots from soon after sunset (above) to one taken in the middle of the night (around 3:00) below. The clouds really got in the way of this one, and the jury is out on whether a black silhouette or a nicely lit landscape work better.

Aurora Cape Tourville Tasmania

The aurora later in the night – sans moon, but alas not sans cloud :(

In any case, it was a successful reccie, and has whet my appetite to capture a stronger aurora over Wineglass Bay the next chance I get :)

What are your thoughts re moonlight and aurora photography?

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