SATURDAY, JULY 11, 2015
"An Entertaining Night"
Here is a photo from the peak of last night's geomagnetic storm. It was a subtle storm that was dominated by a low-hanging cloud of aurora just over the northern horizon. For about twenty minutes, though, the activity did flare up a bit and there were some fantastic pillars shooting up into the sky and the camera picked up quite a variety of colors that were not visible to the naked eye. Normally I like this location not only because it provides a perfect lake view of the northern sky but also because most of the time it is a very quiet location. Last night was a different story.
When I arrived at this remote lake I immediately could hear voices in the distance. There are a couple of state forest campsites on this lake and one of them was occupied by what sounded like 3 young men in their early 20's. Thanks to the stillness of the night and the acoustics of the bay shown in the photo, I could hear everything they were saying even though they were a couple of hundred feet down the shore. At first I was annoyed by how loud they were, but once I started to pay attention to what they were saying, I was entertained by their conversation. It went something like this:
"Dude, how old do you think that tree is, that one that looks like it's about 15 feet tall".
"I don't know, man… maybe 20-25 years old?"
"That tree is probably the same age as us… I wonder if it's as smart as we are?"
"You know, that tree is probably just as important to the universe as we are, maybe more."
"You know, I've been to this lake before and drank the water right out of the lake, but I got sick… I don't know if it was from the water or what… but I bet you could go out in the middle of the lake and drink from where the water is deeper, and you'd be fine."
"Yeah, man, you know what I think… I bet if you drank just a little bit of the water each day, your stomach would get used to it and you wouldn't get sick".
"Have you guys seen the northern lights before? I've seen them quite a bit but I've never seen color in them before… most of the pictures I see of them they are really colorful, but you never see colors when you actually see them in person."
"Dude, can you imagine what all that solar energy might be doing to our atmosphere? I mean, it's gotta be doing something… that's a lot of energy just slamming into us, it's got to have some sort of effect."
There were a lot more things that were said, as they were talking constantly, but those are the main topics that I remember. At one point they even launched their canoe and paddled out around the point you see on the left. They were out on the lake for about an hour before paddling back in. I don't think they ever had any idea that I was there. Since I had parked right on the boat ramp with my truck facing the lake, I thought for a moment about turning my headlights on high beam when they were paddling back in so they would know they weren't there alone. It probably would have lit them right up like a spotlight and freaked the daylights out of them. But, in the end, I decided against it. They were obviously enjoying their time on this beautiful lake, under the lights of the aurora and I didn't want to spoil that for them. I like the idea more of being there without them even knowing I was there. Who knows, maybe they'll read this and go "Whoa… that sounds like us in this story!" :-)
Camera: Nikon D750
Lens: Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8
Focal length: 14mm
Shutter speed: 25 seconds