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Chris Pietsch   [save as a favorite?]
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Image © The Register-Guard || Created by combining hundreds of individual images into one, stars revolve around the North Star over at bronze and rock commemorative pedestal on the top of the Dee Wright Observatory at 3 a.m. Saturday.
|| General Information: || Portfolio:
Chris Pietsch: Staff Photographer: The Register-Guard
Address: 3500 Chad Drive, Eugene, OR 97401, USA
Phone: (cell) (541) 729-4619
Chris Pietsch's Message: Serendipity replaces no show Aurora Borealis in the Oregon Cascades

In hopes of making images of a rare display of the Aurora Borealis in the lower 48, I made my way up to the Dee Wright Observatory east of Springfield late Friday evening September 12, 2014.

The observatory located on Highway 242 off the main Highway 126 affords a commanding view of a lava field and a host of impressive mountain peaks in the Oregon Cascades. The landmark was built during the Great Depression by a Civilian Conservation Corps crews and was completed in 1935.

When I arrived I found clear skies and dozens of others who had also made the decision to forgo a good night sleep and brave the mountain chill in the hopes of catching a glimpse of the promised atmospheric phenomenon. A steady flow of spectators made their way to the observation platform as I made images from a variety of locations around the observatory.

Unfortunately a view of the aurora was not to be. At approximately 6 p.m. the Interplanetary Magnetic Field shifted north of the United States making for unfavorable viewing in Oregon.

Undeterred, I continued to make photographs, switching gears to record time-lapses of the beautiful night sky from a variety of spots around the landmark. I had two cameras going at one time, set to take 15 second consecutive exposures, over several hours. The cameras never stopped clicking from 11 p.m. Friday until 5 a.m. Saturday. I tried my best to keep track of each one, but they were on their own much of the time, capturing whatever passed before them for hours.

After downloading the images on my computer today, I was delighted to see a variety of serendipitous moments among the thousands of frames that I made that night. I still hope to put together my planned time-lapse, but for now, please enjoy the happy accidents recorded by my cameras during a spectacular September night in the Oregon Cascades.


Pietsch, pronounced Peach has been at the The Register-Guard in Eugene, Ore since 1988. Before that he worked in Idaho at the Lewiston Morning Tribune and the Moscow/Pullman Daily News.
Last Update: 812 days ago
Member Since: 12.22.2002

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The images below are from the portfolio of Chris Pietsch. They are presented here for your viewing pleasure. These images may not be used elsewhere and are protected by copyright. To see these images, click on the icon and you will see a much larger image.
1 "Aurora Borealis no show"
Created by combining hundreds of individual images into one, stars revolve around the North Star ove...
2 "Aurora Borealis no show"
Light from a flashlight illuminates the welcome sign at the foot of the Dee Wright Observatory on H...
3 "Aurora Borealis no show"
A visitor's headlamp leaves a trail of light as he descends the Dee Wright Observatory just before m...
4 "Aurora Borealis no show"
A car pulls into the parking lot of the Dee Wright Observatory in front of The Three Sisters in the ...
5 "Aurora Borealis no show"
A visitor to the Dee Wright Observatory is caught in the glow of his cell phone on the top of the Or...
6 "Aurora Borealis no show"
A visitor sits in a rock window of the Dee Wright Observatory as flashlight from another visitor hig...
7 "Aurora Borealis no show"
Visitors cast ghostly silhouettes as they look for signs of the Aurora Borealis from the Dee Wright ...
8 "Aurora Borealis no show"
Flashlight trails illuminate the inside of the Dee Wright Observatory on the summit of Highway 242 i...
9 "Aurora Borealis no show"
A star trail, created by combining hundreds of individual images, shines thorough the rock windows o...
10 "Aurora Borealis no show"
Visitors play with their flashlights as they wait to catch a glimpse of the no-show Aurora Borealis ...

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Longtime newspaper photographer turned commercial photographer feeding a va More Info Here ::..