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Aurora Borealis Visible, Photographed in Portland, Oregon Area

Observed and photographed the Northern Lights here in Portland, on Tuesday Night, during intense geomagnetic storm activity. As usual, mainstream media totally missed the boat, even when we attempted to hand it to them on a silver platter.
Aurora Borealis over Forest Park
Aurora Borealis over Forest Park
Aurora Borealis over Forest Park
Aurora Borealis over Forest Park

We got lucky Tuesday night! Clouds were broken to the north, and there was a massive geomagnetic storm up. We
got truly blasted by the Sun at about our local midnight Tues/Wed. This is the first time I'd seen the Aurora, and it
is absolutely incredible. Everyone should make an effort to see these at some point in their life,
even if you have to make a trip up North.

My brother got pictures, I posted these and some info at  http://www.dnlnk.com/aurora.html. I don't know if the file
attachments will work properly from my browser here.

He called the Tribune yesterday.. they said they already had their own pictures. We're big belivers in
exposing John Q. Public to beautiful and awe inspiring natural phenomena. Anyways, If they did have pictures,
they didn't publish them. Too bad for them. Guess if it's not going to sell any beer or SUVs they're not interested.

Just to prove it's better to be lucky than prepared, we headed out with better camera gear and film
Wednesday night (rain, snow, 200miles) and Thursday night (cold, very faint Aurora.)


homepage: homepage: http://www.dnlnk.com/aurora.html

thanks! 31.Oct.2003 13:28


thanks so much for posting those pics! I had no idea it would have been visible from Portland, so i am disappointed that i didn't go out and look anyway. But im glad someone was able to capture it.

One of nature's best shows! 31.Oct.2003 14:20


Great Photographs! Thanks for posting them.

Yeah, but it makes me want to buy a FRENCH tripod 31.Oct.2003 15:02

fred fredf@nwlink.com

Well, hopefully Alex will get my rambling E-mail on the "photo shoot" tuesday night. posted as a comment Really hoping for another chance at this one and researching into finding a better place farther out in the woods to set overnight. If I could get this with snow or water in the foreground there would be a chance at a good picture with broader public appeal - a picture Guaranteed to make YOU want to buy beer or an SUV, or at least a good French tripod.



gorgeous 31.Oct.2003 15:09


Thanks for braving the cold. Sorry I missed it. I once saw the aurora from central Texas, but had been out in the woods camping for a few days and didn't know what it was until we returned to civilization. It was the mid-1980's and we just figure Ronnie'd bombed someone and this was the glow of San Antonio or Austin's smoking rubble.

There's an aurora forecasting site:

photographic details 31.Oct.2003 15:25


Fred sent me some of the photographic details:

Well, I have extremely limited experience with any kind of color film...
Tuesday night we left in a hurry, Camera was a Nikon FE with a Nikkor 50mm
1.4 lens. on a tripod No filter. Film was Kodak Max 400 (kodakcolor consumer
film) I attempted to measure the light with a Gossen Luna-Pro. Was not able
to get the needle much off of zero so I informed Alex that we were trying to
take pictures in the Dark,  Wasn't real scientific about it, wide open at
f1.4 took a few pictures. between 1-3 minutes and one If I remember right I
only exposed for a few seconds. (this one was severely underexposed)
Wednesday morning Alex pushed me into having the film processed, I was trying
to convince him that we couldn't possibly get anything becuase the Luna Pro
said it was dark.  The phrase "Plenty of light" means something completely
different for a photographer than an astromomer.  So I strolled around
downtown taking some candids/ etc  in the rain and took the film to a 1-hour
place. To my surprise the frames left open for a minute or more were fully, in
fact quite a bit overexposed.  Color PRINT film will take a beating as far as
overexposure is concerned...  Alex liked the pictures.

Wednesday and Thursday
nights we were all prepared with the Hasselblad 500cm and Fujichrome Provia
400 "slide film" and a rented Gitzo tripod, under which we hung 16 pounds of
weight. Unfortunately due being this well prepared there was no light show.

Hassy's (80mm zeiss planar) lens wide open is f2.8- but with the overexposure
of tuesday night I thought it would be OK- Fujichrome Superia 400 in the

I guess I'm going into much too much detail here. My reccomendations would be
to use the  fastest  lens you have wide open and BLH (bracket like hell)
(Folks with zoom lenses, see you at the camera swap meet tomorrow finding
your 50mm prime!)
  The light show was great, it would send streakes in the sky, sit for 2
minutes and then change, showing "neon" red, green and blue. Wish it would
stay around long enough for me to do a better job with the photography, But I
suppose that is what makes it "special" is that it doesnt happen all the


looks like someone spilled beer on the negative 31.Oct.2003 21:11

wombat farmer from down south wombatfrm@earthlink.net

Looks mighty suspicious to me. I don't know about photography but I got some photos like that from my camera once. It had fallen into a pitcher of beer and when the film was developed all my pictures had these pink blotches on them. You sure that was really the aurora or is it a six pack of Hams? And why would you want a french camera tripod, I hear they run away when you want to take a picture. Actually, great job guys, proves that for the patient Oregon Astronomer if you wait long enough the clouds might eventually just part and show you something the rest of us pessimists will never see. Congratualtions.

Hi Fred and Alex 03.Nov.2003 19:26

maggie margaret.barnett@gcccd.net

Terrific pictures. Wish I were there to see the Northern Lights with you two. So what are you two selling, bicyles and clean water? Photographic film? Light chasing trips to the great Northlands? Storm-watching trips to see the next great solar event? Nada? Just keep snapping - the photos are beautiful. love, maggie

San Diego

Its GW Fault 07.Nov.2003 18:00


These solar storms are obviously GW's fault for his enviormental policies are changing the Suns Climate.

Awesome piccys! 08.Nov.2004 17:50


Last night my parents and I could see the Aurora along with LOTS of really beautifull stars!

This was my first time to ever see it and it was really, really, amazing. Breathtaking. Its caused me to gain a lot of intrest in the night sky and such. I want to find out more! :D

Your pictures are really nice! They help keep me inspired. ^-^