So last night the aurora finally came. It had been predicted for a while that the sun would blurt out some more space junk that would hurtle towards us and probably cause an amazing aurora display when a particular portion of it rotated into view again. It was supposed to be here on Sunday, but there must have been some traffic jams up there since it showed up casually late on Monday night. It put on good display for some, but it also wound up being pretty random for a lot of people. I stayed out quite late and only managed to catch one brief 15 minute or so display from my vantage point. My cameras were clicking away capturing it all and I didn't really know what it was looking like. It'd have to be a lot stronger before we see the great displays this far south with our naked eyes like they get on a regular basis in Alaska, but a long exposure can capture some detail your eyes are completely missing out on. A little bit of post processing can bring that out even more. So when I got home and did a cursory check I got pretty excited by my initial processing of a few shots and posted a shot to Facebook amongst friends, but it was nearing 5am and I was dead. The rest would have to wait until I woke up.
So after a bit of sleep, I hopped back into Lightroom and checked out my other camera. Lo and behold, this was even better. There's something about the 6D, even though it's a lesser camera than the 5Dmk3, it makes some pretty fantastic images. Maybe it was the different lens/focal length or the fact that it was 15' away from the 5Dmk3 and had a slightly different landscape/angle, but it managed to create an image that I was trying to make my original post look like with ease.
With that in mind, I jumped into Photoshop and batch processed a large range of photos that spanned the event and brought them into Final Cut Pro X. From there I noticed something. It was very rhythmic. There were fish that were jumping in the little lake/stream system I was in front of that were producing waves that perfectly matched the explosions of light. Even more subtle were some bits of fog rolling across the water that almost made it look like ghosts were marching across the frame.
So I knew what my music was going to be; no music at all. Instead, some pulses. I found some crashing waves, messed it up and added a bunch of bass. Then I looped it all for about 30 seconds. There's enough rhythmic action on the screen that you kind of don't notice the stars jumping back 15 minutes in their progression. In the end we have this:
I then reworked the whole thing and try to throw in a zoom. While it worked and made the rhythmic pulses even better (it felt like Jurassic Park as it pulled away from the ripples in the water), it made the star shifts very noticeable. So I backed out and just worked up a 4k version instead for YouTube.