The Dance of the Northern Lights: Photos & Video
I'm not very good at weather. I instinctively tune out when the weather forecast comes on the radio, no matter how determined I am to listen, I just can't keep track of the forecast. And that's not great for someone who lives in Canada, where the weather is kind of a deal. It's the small talk at the grocery store, the opener to a phone conversation with Grandma, the deciding factor on winter road trips. But I love skies, and you can tell a lot by the sky. Yesterday morning it was pretty chilly out, about -16C (2F) and yet as soon as we left the house and reached the highway, we noticed the telltale sign of warmer weather; the clouds above arched across the horizon in a band. This usually means a chinook (warm, spring-like wind with above-freezing temperatures) is on its way. We love chinooks for the brief respite from winter and while yesterday's warm front didn't quite materialize fully (it did get up to -3C for a few hours), we enjoyed watching the sky change from overcast to clear and the frost melt from around the window frames. The kids went out sledding in the dark and when I went out to watch them, I was treated to a spectacular display of northern lights. The aurora borealis, or northern lights, which is what we usually call them since we don't want to be pretentious, are such a delight. While we are not far enough north to see the lights in a wide range of colours, the display is always beautiful and mysterious, painting the sky in subtle greens and whites. When I saw them yesterday, I immediately ran in the house and googled how to take night photos with my camera, something I've wanted to learn for a while!
They were unpredictable, dancing vividly across the sky in tongues of wispy, glowing green one moment, then vanishing a moment later. My camera needs a wider angle lens to really capture the beauty of this natural phenomenon, one of the treasures of the north.
I also captured some time-lapse video of the lights, about ten minutes of footage taken over the course of the evening. They don't move nearly as fast as the video suggests, but they are just this graceful.
It's the winter equinox tomorrow. The sun will rise at 9:30am and set at 4:30pm and yes, that's a pretty short day. But the longer I live in this little corner of British Columbia, the more I love it, unpredictable skies, frigid winters, short days and all.