Collin J Örthner – Photographer

October 1, 2012

Aurora Borealis

I caught wind that there may be a decent showing of aurora borealis tonight, so I quickly texted a couple of photo friends to see who wanted to come a long for the hunt. Gary Kuiken made it out and joined me about 20km outside Red Deer, AB to the east of town where there are very few lights to bother the view of the sky. We didn’t get a long show, but it sure got dramatic for a few minutes! We grabbed as many shots as we could before the aurora faded away and some clouds moved in. Even with a nearly full moon, the aurora still managed to put on a grand show. Creation is stunning!!!

The image above is my favourite of the evening. I used the tiny Samyang 7.5mm Fisheye lens for most of thee shots. You can tell which ones simply by noticing the curved horizon line. The lens is seeing 180° diagonally. This lens is really superb and is sharp right into the corners even when shot with the aperture wide open at f/3.5 ! Love it.

The show started out quite faint and not all that showy.

Looking straight up at the corona is always a treat, you just have to watch your balance in the dark and you neck bent over backward!

Then things started to pick-up and the aurora brightened significantly and you could really see the curtains moving quickly. Sometimes it’s hard to photograph spectacles like this as it is nice to simply watch the show, but then I couldn’t show you the magnificence of it!


[Olympus E-M5, Olympus 12mm f/2.0, Rokinon  7.5mm f/3.5 Fisheye]





  1. Great post! Enjoyed the images.

    Comment by Dean Z — October 1, 2012 @ 12:15 pm

  2. wow! So awesome! 🙂

    Comment by mumofzchildren — October 2, 2012 @ 7:54 am

  3. HOLY!! how come I can never catch such a beautiful display? I’ve never seen such a colourful array beauty.. Where they truly that green/reds or was there a filter put on? .. Someday! I’ll see them like this with my own eyes!! Outstanding photos

    Comment by Sherry — October 2, 2012 @ 8:37 am

    • Hi Sherry,

      No filters were used at all. The aurora were only really bright for a few minutes. Mostly there were quite dull looking. I couldn’t see much of the red colour with my eye, but the camera certainly picked it up.

      Comment by collin orthner — October 2, 2012 @ 9:56 pm

  4. That top shot is the tops, beautifully captured. I used to live in the Shetland Islands – far north of Scotland, we had some good displays there also, wish I had been more into photography then!

    Comment by Lesley — October 2, 2012 @ 11:57 am

    • Hind-sight is always so good! The aurora obviously made an impression on you and the memory of those kind of situations can be almost as good as a photograph!

      Comment by collin orthner — October 2, 2012 @ 9:58 pm

  5. So beautiful, Colin. Some of them look like fireworks! Thanks for sharing.

    Comment by Polly Mayforth Krause — October 3, 2012 @ 7:46 am

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