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!

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