Aurora West Kirby

The natural light show of the Aurora Borealis lights up the skies behind the war memorial on Caldy Hill.

I don’t think I have ever audibly shouted wow at my camera screen as much as I did last Friday night as the Aurora Borealis danced across the skies in West Kirby.

I had been running a photowalk out to Hilbre last week for sunset and had commented to the group about the unusually high solar storm heading our way, but we were not able to see anything on the beach during our walk back. Being the impulsive photographer I am I decided it was worth at least taking a look up on Caldy Hill, who knew, maybe I’d see something… boy was I not prepared for the show we got!

After heading up to the War Memorial, a location I chose as it was close and had a clear silhouette opportunity, I set up my camera and took a shot that made my mouth drop open. Was that green cloud real? was I just imagining it? Nope… queue the next 2 hours of bouncing round taking shot after shot as the comet shaped cloud danced across the sky above my head.

Looking back at the evening a couple of profound thoughts came to me. Firstly, that although I love my shots of the Northern Lights, to the naked eye it looked nothing like this, why? because the light emitted is actually in a range our eyes can’t actually see! This beautiful natural display has only actually be visible to us since we invented cameras and photography, isn’t that an incredible thought? we can now capture and therefore see, things nature created but were not visible before.

And secondly, (Thanks to Brian Cox for this one) For everyone who saw the Aurora last week, you were looking at a visual representation of our little planets shield, those dancing lights and colourful displays represent the very reason life exists here, how special that life is, and how fragile…

In a way we are all just like photographs of the aurora, no one can see our brightness as clearly as we see ourselves, and just as these photographs will fade one day, so shall we, but it doesn’t for a minute diminish the experience of the life we live or it’s importance.

This all lead me to really think again about why photography is so special, why images like the below are real and yet also not real, and that really does that matter? What matters is the joy and memories I will always have of that night jumping around on Caldy Hill like a giddy child shouting wow at a tiny little camera screen. 

I live for days like these. 

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