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It was long overdue that I went out to Takakkaw Falls near Field BC. I had a Tuesday with no shoots booked so I went to bed earlyish on Monday night and Tuesday morning at 3:30 I was on the road West.
Traveling just outside the city limits on Highway 1, I spotted what I thought was a hint of the Auroras. Normally with the dash lights from the car it's almost impossible to see any aurora but sure enough there they were. a nice even arc over the northern horizon. I wanted to stop right away but the stretch of highway from Banff Coach Road to the Cochrane turnoff has no real safe spots to stop, especially in the dead of night. I thought I might take the exit North toward Cochrane, but the thought of missing sunrise at Takakkaw kept me heading West.
I consulted my google maps and decided I would stop at Ridge Road. It's a really easy off and on from the highway, and it seemed like I would be elevated a bit over the surrounding prairie. It turned out not elevated, but actually lower than the highway in a bit of a dip, this proved to be no problem at all. I stopped on the south side of the highway underpass and set up for a couple long exposures. I shot a few with nice results, but wasn't satisfied until I captured a Highway Hauler and it's taillights in the shot. (exif: 14mm - 30 seconds F5.6 Iso 1250)
Well. That was pretty good for not having any expectation that the Northern Lights would shine so bright, or even at all this night! I carried on down the highway without any regrets I lost a shot or didn't take the time out to stop and make this picture.
A very short time later on my trip I remembered about a little pond just off the Sibbald Road exit. I had stopped and photographed some Cranes there in the spring. Maybe there would be an opportunity to capture the Aurora in a water reflection. It's something I have not been able to do yet. As I approached the exit I spotted the pond and even from the highway I could tell there was a nice opportunity to grab this idea in a photo!
Without too much trouble getting down the ditch as the moon was casting an incredible amount of light, I was set up and shooting in no time. I took a total of 6 shots using the same settings as the Ridge Road shot. I was pretty pleased with myself and with a great feeling of accomplishment I gathered up my gear and headed back onto the highway.
I seem to have really good luck with auroras around Calgary, and I think it is mostly due to the fact that I am willing to be out there at some pretty ungodly hours.
Until next time, see ya out there!