The ongoing state of our world has been taking its toll on me. I’ve been feeling lost (physically, mentally and creatively). My camera had always been my muse, my escape. However, I realized that I hadn’t picked it up in over 4 months. This is when I knew that I had reached a dark place.
Our area had experienced higher geomagnetic activity due to a solar storm. I watched as people posted their photos of the northern lights. That still wasn’t enough to get me out. I remember waking up on a regular night to get some water. I remember looking through our apartment window thinking I was dreaming. The northern lights dancing and lighting up the sky. It was at that moment that I knew I had to pick up my camera. No matter how late it was or how cold the temperature seemed to be. I just had to capture it. It was while watching the sky dance that I realized I was exactly where I should be. I felt calm in the darkness embracing the unknown ahead of me. This was therapy at its purest form. This is what art does, it puts you in the moment with a new perspective.
The scene for this photo was the frozen Athabaskan river which is close to where we live. This river flooded the entire city only 8 month prior. This town was also part of a horrific wildfire 4 years ago. The resilience and strength of this industrial city and its people has always inspired me. Fort McMurray is the epicentre of environmental controversy regarding its oilsand operation. All of that seemed to disappear that night. Thousands looked up to the sky in search of beauty in a time that it was to find.
What do you think are the TWO most impactful features that make your image a good photograph? Don’t be shy!
Being able to capture the northern lights and star trails in one photo. Capturing a dystopian eerie feel while incorporating beauty and hope.
If you would be able to make this photo once again, what would be the ONE thing you would like to do better or different?
I would take more than 500 images to be able to capture more of the trails.
Behzad Soltani shared this photograph in the FRAMES Facebook Group.
Behzad Soltani, Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada
Equipment and settings
This photo is comprised of 500 images taken 1 second apart using an intervalometer. Taken with a Sony A6500 using a Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 lens. Photos were taken at 18mm f/2.0, 3.2 sec and ISO 800. Post processing was done using Adobe Camera Raw and Photoshop to stack the images.
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