Eden Prairie Local News (EPLN) photographer Rick Olson didn’t let Monday night’s rare celestial opportunity pass him by.
Heeding a prediction from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Space Weather Prediction Center, which gave an exceptional score of 9 out of 10 for aurora borealis visibility in the Northern Hemisphere between 10 p.m. Monday and 4 a.m. Tuesday, Olson traveled just 30 minutes west of Eden Prairie to capture the northern lights in all their glory.
“Night photography requires a steady tripod because the exposure times for the northern lights could vary between two seconds and 30 seconds,” Olson said.
Setting up near Norwood Young America, away from the light pollution of the Twin Cities and suburbs, Olson managed to capture the brief moment at about 10:15 p.m. Monday using a Sony a1 camera and a wide-angle Sony 14mm 1.8 lens. He set his camera to an aperture of f/3.2, an ISO of 2000, and a shutter speed of six seconds.
“Northern lights remind me of quick rain showers; you have to be ready to take photos when they appear or you will miss the lights,” Olson said. “I waited for about 30 minutes before the northern lights appeared and only had about 10 minutes to catch the photos before the northern lights dissipated. I waited for two more hours – but never saw any additional northern lights. I was fortunate to find a great shooting location and was set up early enough to catch the northern lights last night. Shooting the northern lights is a bit like fishing; go to a great spot, have the right gear, be prepared, and then wait until you are lucky.”
Olson also captured similar images last week in Brainerd. “The night skies are even darker, so photos of the Milky Way and northern lights are even better,” he said.
NOAA offers an informative tutorial for those interested in the science behind the aurora borealis.
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