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Chasing the Aurora: Eugene's Rare Dance with the Northern Lights

Last night was a very rare occurrence for us here in Oregon. The Aurora Borealis was actually visible, not just a faint glow but on full display. This is extremely rare for us, as we are usually too far south, and the few times a decade they are visible, it's usually winter, with any faint glow hidden by a thick layer of clouds. This holds true for most celestial events here that aren't in the summer.

This was rare and beautiful.

The shapes and colors, ever-changing, danced in the eastern sky. You weren't forced to find the darkest place in the state to see them; they were visible from people's back porches and driveways in the city. Though I was exhausted from weeks of extreme hours, my wife encouraged me to join her and go explore, and I'm so glad we did. They were visible, albeit faint, from our back garden, but once we started driving up to gain a little elevation, they were everywhere. Here are a few images I captured from the Eugene/Springfield area, joined by hundreds of others moving about, finding great vantage points.

This just proves the point that a little effort goes a long way. I really wasn't expecting anything, so I just grabbed the little Canon R8 and a 16mm f/2.8 prime lens. I didn't even bring a tripod, so I just used my jacket on top of my car as a mount and guessed the framing. Unlike shooting the Milky Way, at first, it was bright, requiring only 400 to 800 ISO and a couple of seconds of exposure. Pretty amazing, and I'm glad I didn't just go to bed.

Nerd Tech:

  • Canon R8

  • Canon RF 16mm f/2.8

  • Jacket (because I was too lazy to find my tripod)

Shoutout to my wife for helping get me out of the house.


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