The Night Skies of Elk Island

the Northern Lights

Finally, I’ve been able to get out and get some (what I think) good photos of the night skies at Elk Island National Park, in Alberta.

I’ve managed to capture some of the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights), some of the banding of the Milky Way galaxy and of course, a few of the billions of stars out there in the universe.

If you’re in the Edmonton area, jump to to keep up to date on the chances of seeing the Norther Lights in this area.


It was a relatively “calm” night with the Northern Lights. For the most part, there was the glowing green, with a few other colors mixed in, but not much for ‘dancing patterns’. For taking most photos of the Northern Lights, I’ve been sticking with 3-15 second exposures.


At various times throughout the night, I’d shoot towards the South. I haven’t yet been able to capture the band of the Milky Way Galaxy – until tonight. If I remember correctly, this was likely a 30 second exposure. I managed to capture a few meteor streaks too!


Continuing to look South, I widened the view to capture some landscape. Above, I have the foreground completely blacked out. Below, I’ve upped the exposure to show the trees and roadway. Which do you prefer?


You’ll notice in some of my night time photos, I try to play with light painting. Below, I’ve used a “light paint brush” app on my Android phone to create the red-orange light. Now I just need to come up with a way to visualize what I want to paint.


Here, I very briefly lit the #redchairs of Canada’s National Park with a white flashlight.


Another vehicle stopped by where I was shooting, and the red glow of the tail lights lit the area nicely.


They left a while later and gave me some light ‘streaks’.


The distant lights of the City of Edmonton merge with the green of the Aurora Borealis in this shot, below.


I’m quite happy with how my night sky photos turned out. Any comments and suggestions on improving for next time? Let myself and readers know in the comments below!


3 thoughts on “The Night Skies of Elk Island”

  1. Caught the Northern Lights a few times and they’re something else. Your photos are extra special! Always wanted to check out Elk Island.

    1. ej says:

      Thanks for the comments on my photos! It’s still very much a learning curve for me. Watch my Facebook feed and Instagram for some current photos too – the skies have been quite active since I posted this brief write up from Elk Island.

      1. Our first stab at Northern Light photography was by pure chance while on assignment. We were shooting an operating old school drive-in theatre in Saskatchewan, when they made an appearance. Pure magic!

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