The Northern Lights
By Kelly McAlpine
It’s not very often that I’m in the right place at the right time but this one time was different. It was just after midnight on Wednesday 13th September 2023 when I received an alert on my mobile phone stating that the activity levels were high and that Aurora was visible on camera in locations nearby in Aberdeenshire. Feeling very optimistic, I wrapped up warm, grabbed my camera equipment and headed to Dalriada Luxury Lodges in Stonehaven in an attempt to photograph the heavenly dancers in the clear dark night sky.
The Aurora Borealis, also known as the Northern Lights, is a natural phenomenon that has fascinated humans for centuries. This mystical light show is caused by the interaction between charged particles from the sun and the Earth's magnetic field. When these particles collide with nitrogen and oxygen atoms in the atmosphere, it results in a beautiful display of lights that dance across the night sky.
The best time to witness this incredible display is from late August to mid-April, but it’s important to have clear, cloudless skies to see it. Typically, the best places to see the Northern Lights are in areas close to the Earth's magnetic poles in places like Norway, Iceland, Sweden, Finland and Canada, but they can also be seen in other areas with minimal light pollution...like Stonehaven.
Stonehaven is situated at a latitude of 57 degrees north, which makes it an excellent location for observing the Northern Lights. However, the lights are a natural phenomenon and are therefore unpredictable.
I found what I hoped would be a great spot to set up my tripod beside reception. I used my wide-angle lens to capture as much of the skyline as possible then turned my camera to manual. I adjusted the ISO settings, aperture and shutter speed and began taking photographs. 30 second exposures felt like a lifetime but what I was seeing on the screen was awe-inspiring. The sky was green and pink and purple and the stars looked beautiful. I had finally seen the Northern Lights (on camera).
Seeing the Northern Lights was an experience like no other. The lights are a mesmerising display of colours that dance across the sky in a hypnotic rhythm. It can only be described as a magical and unforgettable experience.
The beauty of the Northern Lights is simply breath taking. The colours range from green to pink, purple, and blue, creating a stunning display that is hard to take your eyes off of. The lights appear to move and change shape, as if they have a life of their own. Watching the Northern Lights is like witnessing a special kind of magic that only nature can provide.
The feeling of seeing the Northern Lights is hard to put into words. It’s a mixture of awe, wonder, and excitement. It's a feeling of being a part of something greater than yourself, of being connected to the universe and its mysteries. It's a moment that will stay with you forever, and one that you will always treasure.
The wonderful thing is that you don’t have to get on an aeroplane or travel far away, you can witness this stunning natural wonder from a location closer to home in Scotland. You can get all this on your doorstep at Dalriada. Click here to check availability in the hope of seeing the awesome Northern Lights yourself.