Local photographer captures Northern Lights

Vancouver photographer Heather Tianen went in search of the Northern Lights on Thursday, and found the perfect spot in The Dalles, Ore. Photo courtesy Heather Tianen
Vancouver photographer Heather Tianen went in search of the Northern Lights on Thursday, and found the perfect spot in The Dalles, Ore. Photo courtesy Heather Tianen

Heather Tianen found a place with no clouds in The Dalles, Ore., then witnessed the biggest geomagnetic storm she has seen in her life

Paul Valencia
ClarkCountyToday.com

Heather Tianen saw the forecast for one storm Thursday and was looking to avoid another kind of storm.

She checked weather maps looking for a clear spot from the clouds because she had been reading the Aurora Forecast. That forecast called for a KP-8 solar storm. The range goes from 0-9 on the scale so an 8 is considered a severe storm. 

The Northern Lights were going to be visible in the Northwest.

She found the perfect spot in The Dalles, Ore., and captured these photographs of the geomagnetic storm.

“It rained most of the way there, and I wasn’t sure, but when we got there it was incredible. I’ve never seen them dancing over my head before,” Tianen said. 

It took a couple of hours of driving for Heather Tianen, her children, and a friend, but they found a great spot, clear from clouds, in Oregon to capture the Northern Lights. Photo courtesy Heather Tianen
It took a couple of hours of driving for Heather Tianen, her children, and a friend, but they found a great spot, clear from clouds, in Oregon to capture the Northern Lights. Photo courtesy Heather Tianen

She took her children and a friend on the trip. When they arrived at the old Douglas Hollow Schoolhouse, they said the place looked haunted and they weren’t sure they wanted to get out of the car.

Well, Heather and her Canon 1D X Mark III got out and … magic.

“I was so shocked at seeing them dancing,” she said, describing the motion in the sky. “They were marching overhead. It was crazy. I’ve never seen that before in my life.”

The old Douglas Hollow Schoolhouse in The Dalles, Ore., is a great locale for photography. Photo courtesy Heather Tianen
The old Douglas Hollow Schoolhouse in The Dalles, Ore., is a great locale for photography. Photo courtesy Heather Tianen

In one image, there is a big white streak, called STEVE. That’s short for Strong Thermal Emission Velocity Enhancement, and it is not, technically, part of the Aurora, or Northern Lights. Just as beautiful, though, Tianen said.

To the naked eye, Tianen said the movement above them was grayish. With the high-tech photography, she captured the colors.

In fact, her only regret was not taking even more photos. She was just overwhelmed by the spectacle that she just kept looking without her camera.

“We were looking straight up, above us, and you can see the picket fence moving right overhead,” she said. “It was so cool.”

Heather Tianen searches for geomagnetic storms often, but she said this one was the biggest storm she had ever experienced. Photo courtesy Heather Tianen
Heather Tianen searches for geomagnetic storms often, but she said this one was the biggest storm she had ever experienced. Photo courtesy Heather Tianen
Another shot of the Northern Lights, the old Douglas school house, and, off in the distance, the red lights atop windmills. Photo by Heather Tianen
Another shot of the Northern Lights, the old Douglas school house, and, off in the distance, the red lights atop windmills. Photo by Heather Tianen

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