Category: Photography

Noctilucent Clouds

Noctilucent Clouds

I have been watching an oak tree for over two hours. It’s gone midnight, and it’s now so dark that the tree is no more than a hazy silhouette. I’m meant to be recording bat activity in and around the tree, but by this point in the morning the whole thing seems pretty futile. The bat detector I’m holding might register their ultrasonic calls, but I can’t see if the bats are flying into the tree,...

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Voices from the Sky

Voices from the Sky

(The title of this piece has been borrowed from Arthur C. Clarke.) Writing when sleep deprived is not the best of ideas, but I’m fired up from the events of last night (23rd-24th April, 2023). All the reports suggested an intense CME (coronal mass ejection - a large cloud of magnetised plasma from the outermost surface of the Sun’s atmosphere) was heading our way. Before darkness had even set...

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Aurora Borealis in Devon

Aurora Borealis in Devon

Having seen the Aurora Borealis from the Devon-Dorset border last month, it seems almost impossible that I’ve seen it from Devon again. Yet, on the 23rd - 24th of March 2023, the Earth was struck by a geomagnetic storm so strong it caused bright aurorae to ripple through the atmosphere. It was even visible, I’m reliably told, from as far south as Phoenix, Arizona.  I had no idea it was going to...

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The Zodiacal Light

The Zodiacal Light

Last spring, and the one before that, I spent a number of nights on high hills looking west. I could hear Redwings above me, their thin calls raining down as they journeyed back to Scandinavia. I was looking for the zodiacal light, a faint glow created by sunlight reflecting off dust particles in the inner solar system. Scientists think this dust originated on Mars, swept so high during fierce...

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Northern Lights on a Southern Coast

Northern Lights on a Southern Coast

For years now, I have diligently taken myself out when there’s a chance of seeing the Aurora Borealis to stand beneath the night sky, only to get cold, tired and ultimately, give up and go home to bed. It’s the trouble with living down south. The aurora seldom reaches this far. Scotland and northern counties might well be admiring the dancing lights, but at 50º north, my chances are...

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Forgetting to See

Forgetting to See

I have spent too much time on social media these past few weeks, eyes to a screen instead of the sky, my camera left by the front door as the hours passed, poorly. But this morning, in an attempt to see once more, I picked it up and went into the garden. There had been a hard frost overnight, each leaf and stem coated in thick, white ice. An icing sugar landscape. Fern frost, reminiscent of the...

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Durdle Door

Durdle Door

A few years ago, I saw a photograph. It was a good photograph. In fact, if you Google: 'Durdle Door Sunrise' chances are you'll probably see it too. It was taken by a chap called Peter Spencer. In it, a ray of sun is shining through the archway of Durdle Door. Due to the position of the sun, this only happens a few mornings a year, right around the Winter Solstice. Having liked that photograph...

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