Two nights ago as I was going to turn off my computer and go to sleep, I noticed several aurora notifications from the local meteorologist site (I'm subscribed to get the notifications). When I noticed the high numbers, I realized that the Northern Lights must have been strong ones, so I ran outside and yep, despite the fact that our place was surrounded by street lights here and there (that dampened the colour and brilliance of the dancing lights), I could see their movements very clearly across the sky. I had seen them a few times before, but they were much weaker and then they were gone in a few minutes, so I never tried taking photos of them. So I ran back inside and grabbed my mobile phone as I wouldn't know how long they would last. Unfortunately my camera's battery hadn't been recharged, so I had to be happy with my mobile camera, though I doubted that it would be able to take any decent photos at all.
I tried taking photos using different modes. Fireworks: nope, night mode without tripod: nope, videotaping: nope. Just black, black, black. So I did the only thing I could do: automatic mode with flash. The first few photos were blurry, but I could see some green, so I learnt to hold my mobile more steadily and in between the photo taking session, I had to learn to hold my breath as well. You see, if I had breathed out when I held my mobile upward to the sky, my cold breath would go up and cover the camera LOL!!! If I had breathed in, my hand would shake a little. But I must say it was worth all the holding back of my breath HA HA HA HA HA HA HA...
The Northern Lights kept on dancing around the whole sky for hours, though I only stayed there for about half an hour. Amazing, though I couldn't see the green that clearly (more like very pale green/whitish) due to the many street lights around me. I didn't want to bother going farther away to find a darker place as I didn't want to miss it at all. My neck was sore after coming back as I had to look up the whole time I was out. They say that tonight there will be another strong show and I'm recharging my regular camera at the moment, wishing that it won't be cloudy tonight. We shall see how it goes.
In the meantime, here's a collage I made of the few decent photos I managed to take with my mobile. They aren't good enough to be printed, but at least you can see how they keep moving around and changing shapes. FYI, the ones on the second row are vertical photos.
Here's one vertical photo in its original size (notice the street light below as a guide to let you know just how long the aurora is):
If you want to see other more amazing photos from across Finland, here's the link (click on each photo to see a bigger version): Aurora.