Aurora Timelapse

We got lucky. When it happened we were well positioned to view, and photograph the show.

The Nordic Quest Under Aurora at Helm Bay
The Nordic Quest Under Aurora at Helm Bay
With favorable conditions forecast I had been watching the sky for over a week. The fickle southeast Alaska weather had provided any number of beautiful clear nights, our even more fickle Sun was producing conditions favorable for geomagnetic activity. The two conditions finally produced a nice auroral show.

Even better, that night we were moored to a state float rather than simply sitting at anchor, or even worse, docked in a town or city. In Helm Bay, 22 miles north of Ketchikan, we had a beautiful dark sky and a perfect setting to watch the show.

With a float I had a stable platform from which to shoot time lapse video, no rocking or swinging at anchor. I could set up the camera and tripod and let the intervalometer click away for over an hour.

The video is made from 360 separate exposures compiled into a video about 30 seconds long. Each frame was 10 seconds at ISO6400 using a Canon 6D camera and a Rokinon 14mm f/2.8 lens set to f/3.2. The frames are projected at 12 frames per second in the version below.

The ten second frames are still too long, the glowing bands of light move quite quickly, at times rippling across the sky. The result is that the patterns and motion in the aurora is blurred.

The aurora was quite bright, my usual 15 second night sky shots actually overexposing. I dialed back the exposure a bit, and should probably have dialed it back a bit more.

GoPro Fun

What can you do with a little camera? A camera that is rugged and waterproof? A camera that shoots video, stills and timelapse?

GoPro Timelapse Setup
A GoPro set up with a window mount doing a timelapse of sunset as we cross the Pacific.
That is the challenge of a GoPro.

It is a fun little camera. The video quality is decent as long as there is enough light. I have been using it for diving, I know that the case is good to well over 100 feet. The little camera is a good choice when the mantas show up to dance.

Why not take the camera fishing in Alaska?

For this trip I have set up to find out just what you can do with it. GoPro camera? Check. A variety of mounting methods? Check. My friend Mark has done some fun things with his GoPro lately, providing some inspiration and setting me a bit of a challenge. I may have taught Mark a few things about video editing to get him started, he has taken those lessons and run with them.

One of the intruging features is the WiFi back. This gives me remote control of the camera from my iPad. There is no viewfinder on the back of the camera, but with the WiFi setup my pad becomes the viewfinder allowing the camera setup to be checked.

The remote option also allows me to mount the camera on the boat somewhere and control it with the tablet. Hanging off the bow? On top of the mast? The little suction cup mount should stick to the boat just about anywhere. One of the provided adhesive mounts, designed for a helmet, looks to have just the right curve for the radar mast.

The front ring of the camera case has been replaced with an aluminum ring and a mounting point for a lanyard. A ten dollar EBay purchase that looked to be a wise idea. This should allow a strong safety tether and more freedom in placing the camera in otherwise risky locations. Need to buy some strong cord in Juneau.

What do I come up with? Anything worth watching? Stay tuned to DarkerView to find out…

Spectacular ISS Timelapse

My apologies if you have already seen this video, it is making the rounds. On the other hand it is so totally spectacular I just had to post it.

A series of time lapse sequences taken from the International Space Station. There are cities, seas, lightning storms and aurorae, star and skyglow and more. Hit the Vimeo icon for a better description than I can write. Turn off the room lights, expand to full screen and enjoy…

ISS Time Lapse

I do not usually post random YouTube vids here. But sometimes I just have to. I seriously suggest you select 1080pHD and expand to full screen now.

The shot starts over the west coast of North America heading south. This particular orbit went right down Central and finally South America. You can pick out a lot of major metropolitan areas, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Mexico City, etc., by the lights. Also spectacular is the lighting in several storm complexes along the coast of Mexico and further into South America.