While observing the aurora borealis is a truly awe-inspiring and often breathtaking experience, the images that come out of modern-day cameras do not match…Read More »
what an observer witnesses in real life.
Mike Taylor has photographed fantastic Northern Lights displays, and then modified the captured images to reflect the less-dramatic colors and hues seen by the naked eye. These slides show "true" scenes of auroras — captured by Taylor's camera — each followed by desaturated images that reflect what a human eye would see.
Taylor wrote: “When I captured this image, I saw ‘dancing lights’ in the sky, spiking straight up starting around a few hundred feet off the ground. They waved a bit like curtains, but stayed in basically the same area. They seemed to be kind of a blur though — the ‘spikes’ were not well defined. There was definitely a green hue on the horizon and a bit of red color above that, but I didn't see the crazy red and magenta colors that my camera recorded. I saw what appeared to be white/grey ‘curtains’ dancing along the black sky.”
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Aurora Borealis Over Pemaquid Point Lighthouse: Modified
This image shows the aurora borealis over Unity Pond, Maine captured by Mike Taylor on July 15, 2013.
Taylor wrote: “During this aurora, I didn't see much of anything, but I set up, started shooting and immediately saw green on the horizon—on my camera screen. I set the camera to shoot 30-second exposures for an hour, with just a few seconds in between, so that I could quickly review the scenes on the LCD screen as my camera snapped away. Within 10 minutes or so, I saw sharp spikes or columns shooting up and slowly moving across the sky.
To my eye they appeared to be a light violet-purple color, enough that I actually posted a status update to Facebook at 2:24 a.m. that said, ‘You know the aurora is cranked up when you can see the purple spikes with your naked eye.’ When the display died down, I quickly looked through my images but I didn't really know the spikes were blue until I viewed them on my computer.”
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Aurora Borealis Dances Over Unity Pond Train Tracks: Modified
This amazing image shows the Northern Lights shining over a small pond in central Maine. The photo was captured by Mike Taylor in October 2013.
Taylor wrote: “This was the most impressive oval I've ever seen, a perfect arc which covered the Northern sky's horizon. The tallest and crispest ‘spikes’ I've witnessed, reaching all the way to the stars. Again, I saw definite green around the oval at the horizon, but the spikes themselves were white-grey, not the intense red that my camera captured.”
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Aurora Borealis Arc Covers Night Sky Over Pond: Modified