The Solar Storm Hits Queenstown

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Now, I’m by no means an “expert” on processing Aurora photos, but I did pick up a few tricks I’m happy to share. As always, as I figure this stuff out from scratch, I’ll share my results with you πŸ™‚

Daily Photo – The Solar Storm Hits Queenstown

I’ve been awake for two days.

It all started yesterday after I put the kids to bed. I got a Facebook message from Stefan Haworth. It turns out that he and Eden Brackstone were headed out for a little viewing of the big solar storm that was hitting the atmosphere. Down thisaway, it’s called the Aurora Australis. Since I’ve never before seen one (despite countless attempts in Iceland), I was ready to suit up!

And it turns out that one of the best places we saw them was right here in Queenstown! I had a decent view from the place I am staying here at The Commonage, but the clouds were pretty heavy. So, we drove down along Lake Wakatipu until we were just past Wye creek. I got out of the car, let my eyes adjust, then saw colored shafts of light shooting up through the edge of our snow-globe. It wasn’t like I expected! It’s…. hard to explain.

The Solar Storm Hits Queenstown

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2018-01-05 10:54:46
  • Camera
  • Camera Make
  • Exposure Time
  • Aperturef/2.8
  • ISO1600
  • Focal Length14mm (14mm in 35mm)
  • Flashflash did not fire, compulsory flash mode
  • Exposure Programmanual
  • Exposure Bias

  • Andrea Boyle

    OMG… I don’t think I’ve ever seen an aurora with magenta reds in it. That is amazing!

  • Zig Baird

    Wow. Amazing shot, Trey! Beautiful! Bet you don’t miss Texas much now!

  • Casper van Zyl

    Glad you were a witness to it ,I’m yet to see,you were lucky.This is always a wow type shot wether it make a good picture or not,but this is a good pic.

  • For those who will undoubtedly question the authenticity of the colors in this photo… What you see is what you get. All that was right there in the sky, visible with the naked eye once you adjust to it. This is a quick post I put up last night from the exact same spot, albeit less intense:

  • Mandy Jones

    I’ve always wanted to see this…. Well done it’s beautiful!

  • Sensational Trey!!! Pardon my ignorance guys, but how often does this occur? And how did you guys know it was due to happen?

  • Really amazing, Trey. I’m excited that you got to see this… it’s not hitting this far south (Colorado) but it’s supposed to be visible in a lot of places this evening. Gorgeous image, great colors you were able to capture!

  • Awesome Trey… I love spare of the moment decisions where you think ” I should go but I’m not sure ” haha these always end up great for me and by the look of it for you too!

    I’m going to start saving my pennies so I can come over and see you lot! You haven’t got a choice any more haha.

    Great shots from Eden too, This has been on my bucket list since I picked up the camera… I cannot wait to witness such an amazing view in person :).



  • That is awesome. One thing that I have always want to do is see the auroras!

  • Thanks for sharing this Trey…you are a very lucky man to see this first hand. Really nice captures. My best to you.

  • Just following up… Here is my story on the night’s adventure, along with my five chosen photos to publish. If anyone would like to read about what we got up to in a little more detail then this is for you πŸ˜‰


  • Cheers, Dan. See my blog post about it all πŸ™‚

  • Beautiful photo, Trey!!!!!!!!!!!! Have a great day!!

  • Scotty Graham

    Trey, this is incredible!! I had no idea you could see this in New Zealand…unreal!

  • This and the posts on G+ over the weekend have been really cool Trey!

  • susan ratcliff

    Wow – this is super awesome – what a fantastic sight to see!

  • Sharon Thomas

    Amazing colors!

  • I really love this shot Trey! The colors are amazing. I bet this was such an amazing experience to be witness to.

  • Wow, Trey! This shot is amazing!

  • Great Light!

  • Majorly jealous for two reasons: 1.)You got to witness this and 2.) I’m in Austin and you’re in Queenie. And it should be the other way round! My family and I used to live there – say hi to Arrowtown for us and get some good shots out there so we can be even more jealous. Get out to Paradise and send back some great images. And go out to Skippers with Nomad Safaris πŸ™‚

  • Trey Ratcliff

    Thanks! πŸ™‚ And thanks Eden for backing me up on those colors! πŸ™‚ hehe

  • Trey Ratcliff

    THanks! πŸ™‚

  • Trey Ratcliff

    hehe yes – Paradise is on my list! πŸ™‚

  • Trey Ratcliff

    Thanks! Glad you’re following me both places – appreciate it Bill πŸ™‚

  • Trey Ratcliff

    It seems pretty rare – just twice in the past 2 months maybe?

  • One of my favorites! Amazing that this is a real scene!
    Thx for sharing all your beautiful pictures in high quality, perfect Macbook Retina wallpapers! πŸ™‚

  • Wow, Trey, those are some epic colors there, my friend! So, so beautiful!

  • The next year is I believe meant to be a good one for solar flares so I would expect more of this over the coming months! great shot trey and good call Eden!

  • Wow, truly amazing photo Trey.

  • Solar activity is key. Whenever there is a decent solar flare the resulting radiation causes auroras. The light travels to us faster than the radiation does, so one can predict the storms ahead of time. How big and bright they will be is anyones guess, however – Trey, Stefan and I were constantly checking the reports on various sites to stay ahead of the game. We frequently did test exposures to make sure we were still on the right track and the light wasn’t fading πŸ™‚

  • t_linn

    What an amazing experience. I can only imagine what it must be like to experience this in person.

  • Amazing colors Trey! Any idea how often you’ll get treated to a light show like this??

  • Absolutely Amazing! Truly, truly something I wish I had seen in person. Thank you for sharing your gifts and talents with us!

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