The Aurora Over Erie

Wait a minute, the Aurora over Lake Erie? You mean the Northern Lights? Near Cleveland? Like, the Northern Lights in the sky? Dude…


On March 17, 2015 I set out for an adventure with my camera in hopes of witnessing something I have always wanted to see – the Aurora Borealis. Most people in my area remained doubtful that it could even be a possibility to truly see this phenomenon give where we are, but when I heard about this huge solar storm, I prepared for any and every bit of this adventure. The photos I had captured have received some wild attention, from hugely positive, to very angry negativity from those who stick to their belief that something of that nature could not possibly happen over our very own Lake Erie.


The Kp level, or Geomagnetic Activity level during my viewing began at around 6 Kp, later rising to a level of 7.3 when the light began dancing, showing off in the distance. A lot of people, including myself (even though I personally witnessed it) are still having a hard time imagining that it was viewable to our eyes at the Southern end of Lake Erie. Normally never viewable this far South, especially in such a vivid display, the extreme intensity of the recent solar storm blew that thought straight out of the picture. If someone tells you that something isn’t possible, don’t listen.


I have been confronted numerous times, being accused of Photoshopping these images. Now, why would I do that? I believe in capturing nature how it is, sharing the beauty that it can display on its own. Of course I know how to use Photoshop, and I am not saying I won’t mess with some photos here and there, but those are completely separate from any of my photo portfolio images, and I will ALWAYS make a special note to say that it is Photoshopped.

It’s so hard for people to understand beauty such as this exists in today’s society because many of us refuse to GET UP and see, learn and experience things. Trust me, I know it’s a wild thought, but nature can produce some magical scenes, all it takes is a bit of adventure to seek them out!


Below are two photos taken during the night of the aurora, straight from my camera’s screen.

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I kept at it, waiting at the frozen water until I began to see it – great beams of light dropping from the sky, dancing incredibly across stars on the horizon. I’ve never seen something so wonderful, naturally displayed through our skies right before my own eyes. It was amazing to have this chance to witness it on our very own Lake Erie.

I hope that some of these adventures urge people to get up and get out, to see the world and find things they might have never noticed existed even in their very own towns. I hope to inspire people to learn and witness the amazing beauty our world has to offer. Things are always changing, and if you don’t take a moment to see your surroundings, you might miss some really great stuff.

aurora5 aurora20

I’m the type of person who doesn’t care what others might say, I will still reach for what I hope to achieve. I believe that through being a photographer or an artist of any kind, it’s something that you should make sure to practice. Despite people drowning me in a sea of negative input such as “yeah, I doubt you’ll be able to see that over Lake Erie” to “oh, the news said it’s going to be far too cloudy,” I still went for it. It’s not an adventure without possibility of failure.


5 thoughts on “The Aurora Over Erie

  1. I like your comments about getting out and looking about. Too many people expect their life’s experience to come from the internet etc. Bravo for catching those beautiful images.
    Thank you for sharing them.


  2. The aurora is really a sight to see! Beautiful shots as well. I have seen them twice, once in northern new Hampshire and once in Massachusetts. I was like a little giddy kid on Christmas morning when I saw it! 🙂


  3. I lived in Erie Pennsylvania, Fairview to be exact for 27 years. My house street address was the highest elevation between Buffalo and Cleveland on Lake Erie’s prehistoric lakeshore, with three, 6 feet wide by 7 feet tall array of north facing picture windows and was several hundreds of feet above the lake. You could easily make out the Canadian shoreline from that vantage point.

    From the time I was 3 or 4 years old, until I left Erie for my new home in Florida 30 years ago, I spent up to several weeks at a time on the shoreline or on the water. Summer and winter alike, I was physically connected to all of The Great Lakes.

    Whether first growing up catching more than my fair share of perch, walleye, large and small mouth bass, the several species of trout and salmon, crappie, bluegill and sunfish, catfish and smelt, or my personal favorite the infamous Muskellunge with my father, growing up a very privileged childhood, experienced by few.

    My dad and I where actually rather well known throughout the Erie area for catching those Muskies! Back in the 1960’s we got to be regulars in The Erie Daily Times, several fishing magazines, even made the cover in one instance!

    It’s been said, a man will fish one hundred hours to catch a single Muskellunge. On that cover, my father and I were holding THREE! Then later in life as I became a Coast Guard Certified Charter Captain and went on to operate as Out of Erie Sportfishing Charter Service. I had to find some method to write off all that Sportfishing equipment expense..

    I was also privileged to spend four years living in Oregon Ohio, right at the rear entrance of the grand Theodore Roosevelt State Park and Wilderness Camp Grounds. Once again, right smack on the shoreline at the southern end of Lack Erie. When we were camping and happened to need a frying pan, we just walked right over to the house, grabbed a pan off the stove and were back in five minutes. Very fond memories.

    If we weren’t watching out over the northern horizon of Lake Erie night after night, I became Certified Junior Astronomer, along with my next door neighbor and then camped out in our back yards with our telescopes, night after night after night for several seasons.

    Needless to say, I’ve been privileged to have led a very gratuitous and impressioned childhood, right into my adult life. Therefore, I definitely have the amateur credibility to state, I’ve actually been lucky enough to be focused on seeing The Aurora Borealis, more than a several times over the years.

    The display that seemed to be put on low on the horizon, ascending into the heavens, yet confined to the far northern section is what we always decided to call The Northern Wonder, along with meteor showers, lunar eclipses, several Blue Moons, The International Space Station, the Milky Way, several other distant galaxies and so many other wonders.

    When I was 10 years old I witnessed with a considerable amount of fear as one of the largest meteors to ever enter the earth’s atmosphere in the northeast quadrant of the US, streaked across the 3 or 4 AM sky over Lake Erie for nearly 30 seconds. It most likely covered the area from Detroit to far past Buffalo, even maybe close to Syracuse NY.

    I read in The Erie Daily Times later that same day, then Pennsylvania Governor Raymond P. Shaffer was flying home in a private plane at the time and was convinced his plane was under attack. Just always remember one constant. You have got to be the observant one to observe such a revelation.


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