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The Aurora's Head South

This past Friday, May 10th, I and many people across the southern region were treated to an extra rare event, the Aurora Borealis. The Auroras, as I like to call them, usually never dip this far down south, especially this bright and vivid. I had heard reports that the Auroras could dip this low. However, I have tried chasing them before along the Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia with very little luck. By chance, last year, I was able to photograph the auroras over the Block home at Natural Tunnel State Park, but that was just a faint pink glow. With all of my past experiences, I figured I would stay at home and relax and play Yoshi's Crafted World on my Nintendo Switch. About twenty minutes into my relaxing evening, my buddy Jerod called me very excited. He told me that they were visible and that he could see them even with the light pollution in Knoxville, TN. Reluctantly, I put down my witch and headed downstairs to head out back to look and see for myself.

I was floored; the sky was dancing the most vibrant pinkish-red and green tones, and the Auroras had made an appearance. I ran in and grabbed my camera, set up a tripod, and photographed it from my backyard; then, I headed across the street to see if I could get a shot along the railroad tracks. After grabbing those two photographs, I ran into the house, grabbed my keys to my car, and hit the road. I wanted to get to a darker location, and I had the perfect place in mind: an abandoned house along one of the back roads. The house has a very large tree and sits in the middle of a cow field. It is easily viewable from the road, which is where I took a few photographs. I won't go on people's property, but I will stop and set up along the side of the road. Being this far out into the country, there was very little light, so I focused my image as cars went by; I even used the headlights to burn in some of the details in the photographs so that it was not a black silhouette. 

With this hot in the bag, I hit the backroads and took some photographs along the road in various places. I ended up coming to a beautiful side road that went back to what we call here in the south a holler. The moon was peeking through the clouds and a tree that lined the road; the Auroras were also putting on a very vibrant show here. I stopped and set up in the middle of the road and repeated the same process as before. After grabbing these shots, the Aurora faded away, and I packed up and headed back to the house. It was over, just like that. I went out again Saturday night, hoping for the same, but nothing happened. It was an awe-inspiring experience. I hope it happens again.

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