Flash! Northern Lights Overpower Cameras

Image: Aurora
Northern lights cast a greenish glow on the ground during a photography session at Abisko National Park in Sweden. Chad Blakley / Lights Over Lapland

Photographer Chad Blakley has been taking pictures of the northern lights for years, but this weekend's auroral display over Sweden delivered something even he didn't expect: flashes of light so intense that they overwhelmed his camera.

"The lights were so powerful that the footage became overexposed with a shutter speed of less than one second," Blakley said in an email. "I can honestly say that this was one of the most powerful displays of natural beauty that I have ever seen."

And that's saying a lot: The northern lights have been visible on 29 of the past 31 nights at Sweden's Abisko National Park, he said. On the night of Feb. 1-2, Blakley and a few other photographers camped out around his teepee and snapped pictures galore. Blakley himself captured neary 100 gigabytes' worth of auroral images — enough to produce a must-see time-lapse video. Be sure to watch it at full screen in HD.

For still more pictures, check out Blakley's Lights Over Lapland website and Facebook page. You'll find lots more from northern latitudes in's aurora gallery. And the fun is far from over: Space weather forecasters say there could be another uptick in auroral activity on Monday night. To find out how low the aurora might go, keep an eye on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Ovation aurora map and the University of Alaska's aurora forecast website.

Extra credit: Check out this time-lapse video that Dakotalapse photographer Randy Halverson put together from images captured between April and November 2013 in South Dakota, Wyoming and Utah. The just-released film, titled "Huelux," features auroral displays as well as lightning storms, meteor streaks and the turning stars of the Milky Way.

"I came up with the title Huelux, which comes from hue (a color property), and lux which is Latin for light," Halverson wrote. "Some of the aurora and Milky Way were difficult to color-correct, so I spent a lot of time with the hue settings, white balance, etc., during the month and a half edit."

For more from Halverson, visit the Dakotalapse website and Facebook page.