Where Auroras Meet Architecture – Charles Stemen Photographs an Installation in Bozeman During the Solar Storm

Where Auroras Meet Architecture – Charles Stemen Photographs an Installation in Bozeman During the Solar Storm

Over the past weekend, it’s likely that your social media feeds were aglow with aurora photos. If you weren’t lucky enough to get out and see it (here’s looking at me and the cloudy skies over my house) – or didn’t have any idea that the northern lights were even happening, Charles Stemen has a gorgeous set of aurora meets architecture photos for you to gaze on with wonderment!

A massive solar storm over the weekend allowed heaps more of the world to see the northern lights than normal. Charles photographed CLB Architects town enclosure installation in Bozeman, Montana during the aurora with some pretty spectacular results.

“I had been wanting to shoot this installation for a while but wanted to bring something new as it’s been photographed by some other great photographers,” Charles kicks off. “When I saw a post in a Montana photographers’ group about the aurora I immediately thought this could be a fun location to shoot. The photos were taken from midnight to 1:30 a.m. and were shot on a Sony A7Riiii and light painting was done with the hot light on the profoto b10plus.”

He continued, “One thing the photography of the northern lights doesn’t capture is the ‘dancing’ or ‘flickering’ of the lights which may be the coolest part of all. By the time I would get back to the camera after a light painting, the sky had totally changed most times.”

I mean, how stunning?!

“This was my first time shooting (or seeing!) the northern lights and I was surprised at how fast they moved. I found about 8 seconds to be a good shutter speed to capture the aurora without it just turning into a blurry green and red sky. For the images with light painting, I took an exposure for the sky, and then a 15-30 second exposure where I walked around with the hot light, and merged them in post. At most, we are looking at 2-3 exposures being merged for the light-painted images,” Charles explained.

He said, “I had visited this installation before during the day and enjoyed it, but being there at night changed the mood of it a bit. The black walls against the darkness of night made it feel bigger and more mysterious, which I attempted to showcase in the photos. CLB describes the design as being ‘derived from symbols of placemaking in the Mountain West, such as fences and corrals, as well as iconic landmarks like the West Buttress of the Grand Teton.’

I found it to be the perfect subject for juxtaposing the artwork of man and mother nature.”

Thank you so much for submitting these in Charles! What an awesome series!

Catch more of Charles’s work on https://www.charlesstemen.com/ and on good ole Instagram @mistachuck_.

If you have a project you’d like to be considered for Project of the Week, you can submit it here.

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