The Northern Lights made a big appearance in the Marquette this week.

"I coaxed myself out of bed around 4 a.m. and was rewarded by a light show," Photographer Shawn Malone said.

The auroras, caused by a recent geomagnetic storm, were bright enough to shine through light pollution in the area, Malone said.

I asked Shawn how she got such great shots and she e-mailed back and said,

I've had an interest in photographing the northern lights since I first saw them 10 or so years ago. I was fortunate enough to catch the great geomagnetic storm of Nov 2004, those images are posted at Those were some of my first photographs of the northern lights, was shooting film, shot two rolls that night, and thought that was a lot of exposures haha. In many ways I got very lucky with those results, since I didn't have a great understanding of what I was doing.  Since then it has been a constant learning experience. Recently I've been using digital to catch these brief outbursts of the sun waking up, but anticipate bringing out the heavy artillery of medium and large format film cameras once we start getting more activity hopefully closer to the solar maximum. These latest photos are a culmination of the many years of trial an error in night sky photography. It's basically years of work to capture a few seconds of light! More active activity usually comes and goes fast!
For anyone wanting to attempt aurora photography, monitor the sun's activity, as aurora is caused by solar flares. A popular site is  Get to a night sky location, and check the northern sky for a glow. You need a tripod and cable release. Experiment with 800.
Thanks Shawn!  Can't wait to try that out!