Southern Lights

in photofeed •  2 years ago  (edited)

The Aurora Australis or Southern Lights dances over the Great Lake of Tasmania's Central Plateau with individual beams or curtins visible. The phenomenon is sparked by electrically-charged electrons and protons accelerating down the Earth's magnetic field lines and colliding with neutral atoms in the upper atmosphere. The Central Plateau resides at an elevation of 1,036 m (3,398 feet) which provides clear sky's looking south to the pole. Green aurora tend to occur at altitudes from 100 – 250 km by oxygen atoms emitting light at 557.7 nano-metres. Red aurora are less common and form around 200 – 500 km from oxygen atoms emitting light at 630 nm. Tasmania, Australia

The shot was taken on a Canon EOS 6D at ISO 2500 using a Samyang 24mm f/1.4 ED AS IF UMC with a 30s exposure time at f/1.4 . If your shooting towards the celestial poles you can use a slightly longer exposure time than normal before you start to get star trails as the rotation of the stars is in a much tighter circle.

Rob Downie
Love Life, Love Photography

All images in this post were taken by and remain the Copyright of Robert Downie -

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Thank you for this beautiful start to my day! Photographing the northern lights has been on my bucket list for so long I never stopped to consider there may also be southern lights! I visited Australia several years ago and have had a long time desire to return. If I do, hopefully I can catch this! I know here in North America there's s northern lights "season". Is it the same for you guys? Thanks also for the camera settings!

There are no real seasons for the Northern and Southern lights in the true sense that the sun is always there and potentially active. You do obviously need darkness to see the lights so the reason they call late Autumn and early Winter the season here in the North is that the darkest day of the year is obviously the solstice (last day of Autumn/first day of Winter); so with more hours of darkness you have more chance of seeing something. In summer in the North if your close enough to the arctic circle there can be permanent light which makes it impossible. Australia and NZ is a little different in that you are a long way North of the South pole; so you are seeing it from say 42 South in Tasmania to 46 South at the bottom of NZ. So you're looking at it from a long way away; however the southern ocean has very clean air with no particulate emissions as there is drifting North from Europe and is very very dark as there is no light pollution. Because of this you normally see photos of a lot more red / pink in the South as you are looking at high altitude aurora that is a long way away; so never overhead (ok well once every 10 years perhaps you get KP9/10 and overhead) . In the North you can get up to 55-65 Deg North quite easily (Iceland/Greenland/Scandinavia/Canada) so you see a lot more close range and overhead green aurora down as low as KP 3-5 but its becomes harder to see the red as its 500km above your head and gets washed out by the green unless its a really strong aurora. You obviously can see overhead aurora frequently if you sail down to a similar latitude in the South to that which Iceland/Scandinavia sit in the North. But there is almost nothing down there bar some small antarctic islands or Antarctica itself. But thats quite a difficult and expensive thing to organize. The southern tip of South America is also a long way South; but its on the wrong side of the magnetic pole so you cant see it from there well (just like you cant see it from Japan or Eastern Russia as the magnetic pole is offset from the physical pole towards Iceland in the North and NZ/Australia in the South)

Thank you so much for your thorough and thoughtful answer! When I asked I was not expecting such a great response. You've really done your research. Thank you for sharing this with me!

What an awesome explanation. I never really knew any of this about the Southern lights.

I think that reply was longer than the actual post lol!

Thank you I appreciate it!

It's a beautiful shot

Thanks !

Whoo buddy, this is nice. Milky way, NL, and a solid foreground. Plus, that's a cool fact about longer exposure time closer to the poles. Definitely makes sense, just never thought about that!

SL not NL !! But yes the stars at the very center of the celestial pole stay in the same spot all night! I just unintentionally wrote a small essay to @joleenwillis below his comment above that explains the differences in shooting in the south to the north also.

Oh my goodness that is so gorgeous!


Excellent photo, and great information. I dabble here and there with night photography with my entry level equipment. I'm hoping that, with the help of Steemit, I can upgrade soon!
Following for more!

Thanks ! Hope I don't disappoint with my future posts. See my comment to joleenwillis a few comments above for some extra info.

Thank You!

Amazing photo congratulations!!
Im planing a trip to Iceland in order to see Aurora Borealis... I think its one of the most magnificent things a human can see...

Its quite special.

Your photos are amazing! Keep up the good work!

Thanks. Appreciate the support !


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Gorgeous capture, Rob!

I went to Tasmania last year and I was hoping to see the southern lights, but unfortunately I wasn't lucky enough to witness those beauties.

I'm loving your work! Looking forward to seeing more :)

Yes its a bit of pot luck unfortunately. Thanks for your kind comments and support.

You got a clear night in Tasmania?? I always hear of stories of the Lights being active and photographers desperately trying to find a gap in the clouds ;)

Ha it can be a bit like that sometimes. Its a small state however so you can often drive to somewhere clear as the weather is so localised.

Holy mackerel. I was so proud of my northern lights Milky Way photos... then joleen shared this. lol Amazing work.

Don’t be any less proud ; It’s getting out there to see them that’s the important part

absolutely charming photo ... wow man, this inspires me ...