Pete Alport Photography


The following passage is a pretty good recount of the image, however, this night was more spiritual than I can explain...I was going through so much during the time this photo was shot and had a reprieve for a couple hours with the Northern Lights.

6:05pm April 23, 2023, I get a text from a neighbor who doesn’t text me very much, “where is the nearest dark sky to us, or least light pollution for a quick drive? There’s the potential for Northern Lights tonight.” I told him a place to go and immediately checked the Aurora Forecast...holy sh-t, he wasn’t joking, the forecast was strong and the ‘green band’ was already massive. 

I was excited and remembered that around the same time last year, a forecast came out saying the Northern Lights may be visible...I went out that night and there were Northern Lights, but nothing close to this forecast and map reading. I’ve hunted the Aurora in Oregon off and for years. Eight to ten years ago I had countless nights trying to photograph the magical light show and had a few successes. Over the years I’ve seen the Aurora in Alaska and Yukon, where it is usually much stronger, more visible than Oregon. 

The next two hours had me checking the forecast and the map reading for the Northern Lights, the forecast was holding true and the Aurora was building...I was kinda in disbelief; I had never seen the map look like this. With my camera gear and warm clothes, I hopped in the truck and drove to Smith Rock, the same place I shot the Northern Lights the previous year. As I parked, I could see the outline of the rocks in the direction of where I would be shooting, ‘were the Northern Lights showing this strong already?!!!’ I pulled out my iPhone and shot a photo. Bam! There they were, the Northern Lights!

I found a ridge to shoot on with the Crooked River in the center foreground, pulled out my tripod and mounted my camera. I began firing off shots and they were showing a little less than what you are seeing here, but still showing! I went live on Instagram to tell people that the Northern Lights were out and if they could, go check it out, it was that rad! At around 10:30pm the beams and glow became more pronounced, to the point where I was hooting and hollering. This next part is wild, a few birds began to chirp and some began to fly, no joke!

Although the camera picks up more than the naked eye, you could see these beams and the glow right where I was standing. What an incredibly magical night. I am going to print this image up for my neighbor, without him, I would’ve been in bed and missed out. I love this photo. The KP reading was 8.63 during this photo, as strong as I have ever seen in Oregon.