I have seen the aurora borealis (aka northern lights) before. In 2018 I spent 11 days in Iceland and was treated to many spectacular showings. To this day, I think about what I saw on that island in the North Atlantic and am still amazed. That far north, the defined ribbons of the aurora are awe-inspiring.
Northern Lights are visible down in Door County, Wisconsin, where I live. However, I had never been able to capture it. I have been extremely unlucky when it comes to “aurora chasing” this far south. Whenever the data looked good for a show and I actually made it out, the show would be a dud. If I was out traveling, or decided to sleep because the data didn’t look all that promising, I would wake up to some fantastic photos from some of the other talented photographers in Door County.
This went on for years. I even started consoling my FOMO by saying things like, “I’ve seen the aurora in Iceland. Anything here would be a disappointment in comparison.”
Finally. Finally! On Sunday, April 23, 2023 the data started to go off the charts! Extremely high KP of over 7 (damn close to 8!) and a Bz of -30 occurred and my aurora apps started to go off. There was going to be a show!
One problem… clouds. The weather forecast showed clouds until about 12am or 1am. Should I bother? Should I sleep until 12am and then check again? I shot an out-of-town wedding the day before, so I was extraordinarily fatigued (IYKYK. And wedding photographers know). Sleep, even a few hours, sounded quite appealing.
No. I forced myself out of the house and headed out.