Photographers have long been drawn to capturing the natural phenomena that occur in the night sky, such as auroras and coronal mass ejections. For most, the celestial events are once in a lifetime experiences. And, thanks to advancements in digital photography, the ability to share the moment with the world has inspired the creation of some gorgeous timelapse footage:
The stunning footage you saw in the video above was captured in Caithness in Northern Scotland. Part of what makes these sequences stand out from all the others is the rarity of what is happening in the sky. Not only was the lucky photographer, Maciej Winiarczyk, able to capture an aurora, but he quickly realized he was in for a real treat when a group of Noctilucent clouds made an appearance as well. The clouds, often referred to as Night Shining Clouds, are the highest occurring clouds at about 50 miles above earth, which also happens to be the distance in which auroras occur.
The rare cloud formationise usually too distant and faint to see, but its sometimes visible during the summer months at specific points north and south of the equator.
On the technical side of things, Winiarczyk outfitted himself with a pair of Canons: a 7D and a 1000D. Depending on the scene, he switched lenses from anything ranging from a 10mm fisheye all the way through a 300mm zoom. While the exposure settings were frequently changing througout the night depending on the available light, Winiarczyk says, “For aurora shots when dark, I often use ISO 3200, 8 sec. exposure, and f/2.8.”
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