St Patrick's Day - Northern Lights

St Patrick's Night, was a special night this year. I had heard that there was a possibility of the Northern Lights making an appearance, so I decided to go out with hope and see what happens. 


I left the house around 6.30 and drove towards the picturesque beach of Kinnego Bay, the sun was after setting and I thought it was still too bright, so I made my way out to Malin. Taking the back roads thinking about area’s along the route that might be a good location. I thought the safest option would be to go somewhere I was familiar with. The last thing you want to be doing is walking places with equipment in an area that your unsure of in the dark. 


I made it to Lagg church first and done a test shot then moved on. I was planning to make my way to Banba's Crown in Malin Head (the most northerly point) but after seeing the traffic going up, I turned the car around and found a carpark a few minutes away.  I got set up and captured these images. 

After getting a few images I felt that I needed to get something in the foreground to make them a little more interesting. So I got back into the car and made my way back to Lagg Church and got this. 

Since the news of the possibility of Aurora sightings in Donegal a few years ago, the majority of the photos I’ve seen where always taken in and around the Malin Head/ Clomany area. I decided to take a risk and get myself back to Shrove in the hope of photographing the lighthouse with the Aurora behind it. When I arrived I took a detour and went up to Shrove head.

On arrival there were a few people at the car park so I decided to drive on over the dirt road. I grew up close to this area and have been there a few times, so I know there’s a spot to park on over. Standing in Shrove Head alone at 10.00 at night has an eerie feel to it. There’s nobody around, you can hear the sea below and the wildlife behind you as you wait for each photo to be taken, standing in pitch darkness close to the edge of a drop. 
After reviewing the images I could see that the camera was picking up the Northern Lights with 20-30 second exposures, so I moved onto the last stop. 

When i got to the carpark there was a few other cars there, so I walked over to the Small White Bay beside the Lighthouse. The tide was out, allowing me move further down the beach. About 5 minutes in, you could see the sky changing. This was my first time ever seeing the Northern Lights, when I was at the other locations during the evening you could start to see the aurora but it was faint to eye. In Shrove it was nearing 11.00pm and it was strong, rays of light moving across the sky with what appeared to be a glimpse of sparkles amongst it. Overall it was an impressive sight.

After the activity died down, I made my way back to the main beach at Shrove hoping to get something with the Old Diving board in the background. I checked my twitter feed to see what level the activity was at. Sources confirmed that there was another storm coming and after waiting for about 50mins I decided to call it a night around 1am.