Image Release: The Aurora Borealis

Image Release: The Aurora Borealis

The Aurora Borealis

The Aurora Borealis

This image is of Ashness Jetty and the amazing Aurora Borealis also known as the Northern Lights. Ashness Jetty is situated on Derwentwater near to Keswick in the Lake District. The image was captured at 11:30pm on the 31st of December 2015 and it was my very last image of that year! The jetty was submerged in the floodwater on the poor Lake District people had suffered in recent months. This was my first time capturing the Aurora and to do it in such a special place that means so much to me will last for a lifetime.

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Thursday 31st December 2015

Thursday 31st of December 2015 will always stick in my mind for a few great reasons but there’s one particular reason.
I’ve been intrigued by the Aurora Borealis or as some know it, the Northern Lights for a while now.
It’s been on my ‘Photography Bucket List’ for sometime, along with photographing Great White Sharks and capturing a Kingfisher in flight. We all have dreams of traveling places and I’ve always wanted to go to Iceland.
They have some breathtaking scenery for landscape photography and some stunning waterfalls but the main reason for a trip to Iceland for me would be to see and photograph the Aurora Borealis.

So here’s my New Years Eve story…

My girlfriend and myself always head up to The Lake District around New Years Eve time.
It’s a bit of a ritual we’ve had since we first met and it’s become a special place for us both, especially Keswick.
There had been devastating floods across the Lake District at the beginning of December 2015.
To actually see the damage to people’s property and belonging’s in person was quite shocking but we’d been booked in for months and the people of Keswick needed tourists to help there business, so we still ventured there.
It’s very rare I go away without my full kit of camera gear and let’s just say it’s not just one camera bag either.

Best part of having a girlfriend who is a professional photographer

Having a girlfriend who’s a professional photographer helps because she knows that photography trips away don’t come along everyday. I always have the idea that whilst Amy (girlfriend or the better half) is still in bed sleeping, I’ll be out of the door 1- 2 hours before sunrise to head to my choice of location.
I always seem to make it back in time so we can have breakfast together though 🙂
Two days before New Years Eve it was reported in the news that a massive Solar Storm would hit The Earth before the new year.
So a little seed was planted in my head and I waited for my Aurora Watch App on my phone to alert me of any geomagnetic activity.
On the morning of New Years Eve my App was sending me a yellow alert that means there is some Minor Geomagnetic activity and as the day went on the alert changed to amber.
Amber meaning that the Aurora is likely to be visible by eye in Scotland and Northern England.
So I asked Amy, “If the alerts continued through out the day and early evening would you be ok if I pop out to try and capture the Aurora.” She thankfully said YES, so it was no alcohol with my evening meal in Keswick that night and YES the Alerts were coming more regularly, then around 9:30pm I ventured out, camera bag in one hand, tripod in the other. I was like an excited child running down stairs on Christmas morning to see if Santa’s been!

Knowing Keswick and photographing the Aurora

Knowing Keswick and the surrounding area very well, I already had two locations in my head to photograph Ashness Jetty and Ashness Bridge. Both are just a minute walk from the car giving me more time to spend photographing.
I’ve photographed at both locations numerous times and had decided to head for Ashness Jetty, on Derwentwater.
So I was in the pitch black of night with only the odd car driving by and a couple of head torches shining across the lake towards me from the top of Catbells. Unfortunately for me there was cloud and lots of it, don’t get me wrong there was the odd gap of clear sky but I spent the next hour and a half wishing the cloud away, it wasn’t until around 11pm that the cloud started to disappear.
I knew I couldn’t miss the New Years Eve celebrations in Keswick town center with Amy, so I’d told myself to start packing up by 11:30pm with or with out capturing the image.

So did I get that image I wanted so badly and did I really capture the rare Aurora Borealis in my beloved Lake District and more importantly, get back to Amy for the New Years Eve celebrations?

Well…. the answer is a big fat YES!

I captured this image at precisely 11:30pm on Thursday 31st of December, making it my last shot of 2015.
Oh… and of course I made it back for Amy, we both had a truly memorable night of celebrating the New Year!

new-years-amy-and-me

Neist Point Lighthouse: Most Westerly Point Isle of Skye

Neist Point Lighthouse: Most Westerly Point Isle of Skye

“Neist Point Lighthouse” by Robert Keighley Landscape Photography

The location high on my list of places to visit, whilst on the Isle of Skye, was Neist Point Lighthouse. The whole of the Isle of Skye in Scotland is a photographer’s paradise. From the stunning Black Cuillin mountain range, to the small picturesque village of Elgol.

To capture this image I had to over come one of my fears, which is my fear of heights!

As I headed down to the edge of the rocks to capture my photo, keeping in mind safety first. I kept a safe distance from the edge of the cliff and ventured further.
Putting one foot in front of the other, with tripod in one hand, my camera bag on my back, I accomplished the challenge and conquered my fear of heights as I arrived at the lighthouse itself.
How I made it down in one piece without the wind blowing me into the water I do not know!

At Last.

I was in the perfect place to capture the powerful atmosphere in front of me.
It was time to visualize my image.

With the gloomy clouds blowing through overhead and the waves crashing beneath my feet, I wanted to capture that blustery, almost stormy atmosphere of the clouds and waves against the lighthouse.
The sun was setting to my left, which in turn lit the side of the lighthouse up enough so that it stood out against the dark clouds.
I waited for the light to drop enough for the lamp on the lighthouse to be illuminated, which I feel adds just that extra element to the finished image.

robert keighley landscape photography neist point lighthouse

“Neist Point Lighthouse”

This is Neist Point and its stunning Lighthouse, which sits on the most westerly point of the Isle of Skye in Scotland. The lighthouse dates back to 1909 where it was manned until 1990, when it became fully automated. This is truly a spectacular view and well worth the trip down the steep paths, which aren’t for the faint hearted. The lighthouse is not the only thing you can see at the end of Neist Point; you can often see Dolphins, Sea Eagles, Whales and Basking Sharks.

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Have you visited the most westerly point of Isle of Skye? Have you seen or taken a picture of Neist Point Lighthouse yourself? Join in the conversation by leaving a comment.

Captured: Rare Blood Moon Eclipse

Captured: Rare Blood Moon Eclipse

“Blood Moon” by Robert Keighley Landscape Photography

Did you set your alarm to witness last years rare super blood moon lunar eclipse?
No?!
You and 95% of the population… Ok so this isn’t the exact amount but you get the gist.

Can you believe this won’t be seen again until 2033!

Funny Story:

While I was setting up and enjoying the beautiful clear, starry nights, sky (my favourite memory and experience of a starry nights sky was in Wyoming, America in 2004… Oh WOW what a sky it was! The lack of polution allowed the stars to glisten and create a blanket of stars as I lay watching. Thinking. In a world of personal thoughts. Anyway I digress.) I was immersed in the beautiful Huddersfield sky, positioning Emley moor mast in the frame of my camera. Trying not to step in the manure piles from the next field.

When all of a sudden I heard some very weird noises. My tongue sunk into my throat as I tried to justify these sounds.
Bear… not in this country. (Unlike Wyoming)
Wild creature ready to gobble me up… ok probably not in my neck of the woods.
I was ready to grab my camera and bag then I realised on the way in I had passed some stables.
*giggles to myself*
Horses! Damn horse noises scaring me half to death.

After relaxing from my terrifying ordeal, my mind had put me through, I carried on capturing this great image of Emley Moor Mast with the rare Super Blood Moon Eclipse, in position just above the tower.
Have you ever scared yourself with your mind playing tricks on you? Tell me about it in the comments below.

‘Blood Moon’

robert keighley blood moon emley moor transmitting station huddersfield

“Blood Moon”
This image was taken on the 28th of September 2015 in the early hours around 3:50am. It was a clear nights sky near Emley, West Yorkshire. The tower in the picture is Emley Moor Transmitting Station, which stands at 1,088 ft. tall. But what makes this image more special to me is the rare occurrence of the ‘Super Moon Lunar Eclipse’ that you can see above the tower. With a ‘Super Moon Lunar Eclipse’ the moon is around 14% closer to The Earth. The moon appears a Blood Red colour which is caused when the total lunar eclipse peeks. It was an Awesome moment which will not happen again until the year 2033.

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Good News! Results: The Scottish Landscape Photographer Of The Year 2015

Good News! Results: The Scottish Landscape Photographer Of The Year 2015

Award winning photographer Robert Keighley shortlisted again in Scottish Landscape Photographer of the Year.

After keeping my results under raps as requested by the competition organisers. I’m now pleased to announce that two of my images ‘Neist Point Lighthouse’ and ‘Eilean Donan Castle’ were both Shortlisted Finalists for the Scottish Landscape Photographer of the Year 2015 competition!

‘Neist Point’

This is Neist Point and its stunning Lighthouse, which sits on the most westerly point of the Isle of Skye in Scotland. The lighthouse dates back to 1909 where it was manned until 1990, when it became fully automated. This is truly a spectacular view and well worth the trip down the steep paths, which aren’t for the faint hearted. The lighthouse is not the only thing you can see at the end of Neist Point; you can often see Dolphins, Sea Eagles, Whales and Basking Sharks.

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‘Eilean Donan Castle’

This is Scotland’s most iconic castle, most photographed and is most likely on the top of everyone’s list that visits the Scottish Highlands. This beautiful castle is situated on a small island, which is surrounded by spectacular scenery. This image was taken at twilight just after sunset on a chilly autumn night. This was the very last shot just before my filters started to fog up because of the cold.

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The Scottish Landscape Photographer Of The Year competition has only been running for two years.

With it’s first year been 2014, I was very pleased then to have just one image ‘Fairy Pools’ a Shortlisted Finalist but to have two images Shortlisted this year was just fantastic news.

‘Fairy Pools’

This waterfall, which this is one of many at the Fairy Pools, has The Black Cuillin Mountain Ridge as its drop back. The mountains are the largest mountains (at 3,255 ft.) on the Isle of Skye and are made from the rock Gabbro that was formed from molten magma. When the sunshine’s on these crystal clear pools the water can give a beautiful blue/green cast.

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I would like to congratulate Ian Cameron who won the overall award and title The Scottish Landscape Photographer Of The Year 2015. One of his images ‘Awakening Ben Loyal’ was one of my favorites images of this year’s competition I’ve seen so far from the results.

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