We already know Benita Bell is a clever photographer. But did you know she’s one of those dedicated souls to leave the warmth of her bed at night, to go out chasing the enchanting beams of the Aurora lights?
Get Excited. There’s Beams!
We published an article back in January 2013 written by David Moore of I Hate My PC. That article, titled “Aurora Australis: the Southern Lights” remains ever-popular despite the passing of two years since. There’s heaps of helpful, pertinent information therein, along with some stunning images by Jonathan Esling.
Today, we’re sharing photos of the alluring beams taken by Benita Bell of Daydream Photography. All the images were snapped around Railton, Devonport and Sheffield. Benita tells us southern Tasmania gets much brighter sightings of aurora beams, but we think her photos are pretty spectacular. For bigger versions of each image, contact Benita (see details below).
Benita has also written a fantastic poem about the experience of an aurora hunter and has offered to share with Think Tasmania readers. We love the honesty!
Chasing the Invisible Light…
A Day in the Life of an Aurora Hunter by Benita Bell
Bz’s down, density’s up … time to go!
I don’t want to miss this amazing glow
Camera batteries charged this morning
Quickly check to see if anyone’s posting
Kiss the family and race out the door
They don’t mind me going anymore
Brrr it’s freezing, I need a coffee
Got to get some warmth inside me
Stopped off at Maccas on the way there
And holding the nice hot coffee with care
Hope there’s nothing that I forgot
Heading out to my favourite spot
Arrived with a few minutes to spare
Out with the coffee, the tripod and chair
The blanket, the camera, bag and light
It’s going to be a very long night
Carrying all this stuff’s not going to be easy
While jumping fences and feeling queasy
Excited about what I may see tonight
But have to set up everything right
I have my tripod but where’s the shoe?
Oh my gosh, what am I going to do?
I look around and find a large rock
I’ll have to use this. What a crock
I don’t get the height, weeds are in the way
So I break the stems and throw them away
Pointing the camera to the south wasn’t hard
But it won’t take pictures. Where’s the card?
Phew! Found a spare in the camera bag
It must be in the computer. I’m such a dag
Taking an experimental photo, it was out of focus
There’s a light in the distance. What a bonus!
On automatic focus I aimed at the light
Change to manual, now I think I’m right
Sitting down with my coffee, I’m right to go
And captured the much anticipated glow
Now I can settle down with my blanket and beanie
My scarf, gloves and feeling rather dreamy
Capturing the pink aurora with glee
I suddenly realised I had to pee
There’s time before I see the green glow
I’d better go now because I know
If I wait and hang on for much longer
This aurora will definitely get stronger
I see a dark area not far from there
Don’t want anyone to see my bum bare
I race towards it and a steady pace
Trip on a rock and land fair on my face
With a twisted ankle and bruised pride
I limped over to the shadow to hide
Back to my chair and the comfort of my blanky
I snuggle down and enjoy my coffee
Taking photos again I get excited
There’s the green I had anticipated
It’s getting brighter by the second
Beams any minute now I reckoned
Mmm Jim Beams, I knew I forgot something
A little alcohol would be so welcoming
To keep the cockles of my heart warm
And keep me relaxed until the break of dawn
Oh, what’s that I see in the photograph?
Oh my gosh, it’s a beam and a half
I quickly take a photo with my phone
To post on Facebook so everyone’s shown
The most amazing part of an aurora
Much more beautiful than any flora
Everyone’s getting excited, yelling ‘Beams!’
The word has got around quickly, it seems
Doing the aurora dance and letting out squeals
This is exactly how aurora bliss feels
Non-stop taking photos of this light show
It so exciting, I can’t help but let everyone know
I’m excited to the point of yelling
Out to anyone around and telling
Them to buy a great camera so that they
Can also share the excitement of today
Beams are slowly going away so back to settling
And calm down because I’m trembling
Taking a deep breath and getting my mind on track
I freeze as I hear something move behind my back
It’s getting louder and closer. I’m scared
Scraping and snorting noises, I can’t move my head
Or have the courage to turn around
And see what’s making that frightening sound
I slowly stand up and reach for my light
Pointing the torch in the direction I get a fright
About twenty eyes are looking right at me
And a loud bellowing of ‘Mooooooooo!’
I nearly fell over. What do I do?
Oh, how embarrassing, I got scared by cows
My squealing and dancing must have arouse
Their curiosity at this funny sight
Oh, what an exciting, eventful night
Glad I now have some company to see
The cows’ presence has comforted me
I go back to taking photos but I’ve found
There’s not a lot happening around
These beautiful dark skies any more
I pack up everything and head towards the car
I packed the light and I can’t see very far
There’s no moonlight to show me which way
I slip down an embankment about halfway
My feet are getting wet and I want to go home
I should have got the torch. Oh why did I roam?
I scramble my way back up the slope
Gathering all my belongings … I hope
I get out my torch and see where I am
Wow, I nearly fell into a farmer’s dam!
Yay, I can see my car. Not far to go now
So I say goodbye to my friends, the cows
And climb that barbed wire fence, which pierce
My legs once again, something fierce
But I would do all this over again, and why?
Because I love being out, enjoying the night sky
Maybe next time there’s an alert you might
Come with me and capture the invisible light
What do you think, avid photographers? Is Benita’s description of chasing beams an accurate one? We can only imagine the adventure, given we’re too attached to the comfort and warmth of the bedroom in the wee hours of the night. We’ll stick to admiring the efforts of really dedicated snappers, rather than emulating their work. But please… share your experience of the aurora chase with us. It’s always a popular topic with readers, and we’re often asked for ways to find further details.
For more information about images or bookings with Benita Bell, visit Daydream Photography online or follow Daydream Photography via Facebook. Alternatively, you can phone 0497 655 034 and speak to Benita personally.
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