Wow. Northern Lights in North Iowa. A rare occurrence to be sure. Taken about 10:30 pm on June 22. The purple streaks were pulsing nearly overhead.
I follow several Aurora forecast web sites including spaceweatherlive.com, f5data.net, softservenews.com and the active Facebook group Great Lakes Aurora Hunters. One of the measures of Aurora strength is the Kp index. In North Iowa it generally needs to be at least 7 or higher to see the Northern Lights. Tonight there was a Kp of 8.
24mm lens on a full-frame camera, ISO 800, f/5.0, 25 sec.
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These were taken a couple of weeks ago near Park Rapids, MN. Left to right -
1. The Osprey nest is on the top of a power pole next to the highway. I had stopped on the opposite side of the road to take pictures from the sunroof of the car with the telephoto lens and was lucky enough to get the male returning to the nest with a fish in his talons to feed the chicks.
2. There is an Eagle's nest on an island on a small lake. From the canoe I took photos of one of the adults perched on a nearby tree in the evening. Hand-holding the big telephoto in a moving canoe was challenging.
3. While paddling a bit further I spotted a Kingfisher. Just as I quickly snapped a few photos a second Kingfisher flew through the frame and they both flew off. Kingfishers are very wary around people and I felt very lucky to get any photos.
4. A great Blue Heron flew over the lake while we were in the canoe.
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Lightning tonight. According to my weather app the storm was about 50 miles away. I take lots of long exposures with the hope that I will get a lightning strike in one or two of the frames. The camera is on the tripod, and I use a remote timer (intervalometer) set in this case to take 20 second exposures repeatedly. I never know if I will get a bolt of lightning during that exposure or if it will be in the frame, but sometimes I get lucky. I would never do this when the lightning is close or if I can hear thunder. 112mm, f4.5, ISO 250, 20 second exposure and cropped.
Below is a second image taken earlier with a wide angle lens while there was still a bit of light in the sky from the setting sun. I got a triple! The three lightning bolts didn't happen at exactly the same time, but they happened within the eight-second exposure. The length of time the shutter is open has little to do with the exposure because the lightning strike is so fast, but does allow a wider window of opportunity to capture one. The exposure is controlled by the f/stop and ISO (and perhaps a bit of post-processing in Lightroom and Photoshop). 35mm, f/5, ISO 100, 8 second exposure and cropped.
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