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Posted on November 3rd, 2015

Free For All – Will the Real Aurorae Please Stand Up?

While I have never been fortunate enough to see the Aurorae Borealis in person, I have poured over time lapse videos and stunning images of this natural phenomenon. Come to find out many of these images over exaggerate the brightness and hue of the aurorae due to the innate nature of cameras to collect light even in darkness, unlike the human eye which generally sees light in shades of grey in low light conditions. This creates an image that is slightly different than what we see with the naked eye. From 1899 to 1901, Harald Moltke went to Iceland and Finland as part of a scientific expedition to paint these mystical lights in what could be considered the closest thing to color photography at the time. His paintings show a different kind of aurorae, more muted and serene, not as vibrant and saturated as most current images. Phil Hart created a time lapse video with this in mind, keeping the colors and movement of the aurora as close to the real life experience as possible. He writes about his process here. The video also includes the paintings of Harald Moltke, a tribute to the one of the first artists to capture the aurorae in all its majestic beauty.

Katie Nelson
Geospatial Ninja
(303) 718-7163

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