It’s hard to predict when an Aurora Australis will occur, and similarly hard to get a good vantage point for some epic shots. Chris Langton captured it at Cape Woolamai, less than 2 hours out of Melbourne’s CBD.
- Unexpected Aurora Australis sighting
- The Pinnacles at sunset
- Steel wool spinning
I decided to do a night trip for the August new moon in the hope of getting astro night shots, so I jumped in the car for a quick trip down to Philip Island to ‘The Pinnacles’.
Arriving at the Cape Woolamai car park, I hurried to get down there before the sun set over the horizon. It was a fairly cloudy afternoon with some awesome sunrays shooting through the cloud cover. I was worried by the amount of cloud as to whether I would have any luck shooting the night sky.
After shooting the sunset at the Pinnacles, I cooked up some dinner and ate down on the rocks, waiting for the sky to darken and the Milky Way to come into view. While I waited for the cloud to clear I had my first crack at steel wool spinning, which turned out fairly cool considering I nearly had the sparks burn through my jacket.
Once the clouds started to clear, I set up my camera to shoot some star shots over The Pinnacles. After my second frame, I noticed some strange colour in my viewfinder, so I re-angled my camera and took another.
There it was, my first capture of Aurora Australis. I had known that there was a slight chance of an Aurora, but I knew you had to be very lucky with timing and clear skies. Naturally, I was pretty excited, and quickly rock scrambled my way down the beach to get a more southerly facing position.
I stood there in the same spot snapping off shots for the next couple of hours, mesmerised by the natural phenomenon and amazing colours of the night sky. The 2 hour drive down to Philip Island was well worth it and now I am totally hooked on shooting the Aurora Australis! Cannot wait for the next encounter.
- Rock scrambling
How To Get There
Head to Cape Woolamai Car Park – Philip Island.
- Astro skills
Rock scrambling to the beach — Beginner
Astrophotography — Intermediate
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