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The Real Banff Blog / Published: Sun, 02/19/2012 - 01:03

Aurora Borealis A Look At Banff's Northern Lights - by Terry Bilton

Add to my moments

By Real Banff contributor, Terry Bilton

The Northern lights, otherwise known as the Aurora Borealis; for those of you that don't know what they are or have never seen them I recommend you add seeing them to your bucket list and I guarantee you won't be disappointed!

I had heard of this natural phenomenon many years ago but simply never gave it any further thought of seeing them, let alone what causes them. I had lived in Banff for almost a year and had never heard talk of them hence I was not even aware they were visible from this transient town. How wrong I could be.

It was September of last year when I was sitting in my bed in Banff watching my football team back in Australia play, when I received a phone call from my housemate saying “The Aurora's are out”. I'm slightly ashamed to say I didn't really know what this meant and I wasn't too enthusiastic to go outside to check. Nonetheless I got out of bed and walked on to my balcony and simply couldn't believe my eyes. The entire sky off to the North was filled with bright green lights which moved in a way that can hardly be described. I had purchased  my first DSLR camera the month prior, (but hardly knew how to use it) so I grabbed it, jumped into my car and quickly drove to a road side pullout on the Trans Canada highway so I could get somewhat of a better viewing. I put the camera on the tripod and took photos until the show was over. I sat back and thought about what I had seen however it's very hard to describe the feeling I had. In a few words I felt very calm, satisfied and excited all at once and since that moment I've been obsessed with viewing the natural phenomenon!

 This was the defining moment when I decided to dedicate myself to photography, mainly wildlife and landscapes (more importantly the Northern lights) and have since witnessed many light displays all over Alberta but the greatest ones being in Banff. All have been uniquely different, ranging from different colours to formations to duration to compass direction. All though commonly seen to the North, I have been fortunate enough to see them in every possible direction which is a spectacular sight to see.

 No doubt the light displays are spectacular no matter where they're viewed from however after seeing many images from around the world I have no hesitation believing that in the mountains of Banff National Park we are spoiled for the most spectacular displays due to the amazing landscapes possessed in the area, which only add to the light shows. Hopefully you've enjoyed my images here and it's inspired you to come to Banff to view this natural phenomenon for yourself. You won't be disappointed.

If you're interested in seeing more of my images, particularly of the Northern lights please visit terrybiltonphotography.com and follow me on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TerryBiltonPhotography. Happy viewing!

About the photographer Terry Bilton arrived in the Canadian Rockies late 2010, like many, an avid Australian snowboarder. As summer soon melted the snow on the peaks he found himself with little adventure to fill his days. Eventually he began to explore more of what the Rockies had to offer and over time, developed a true appreciation firstly, for its landscape and more increasingly, for its wildlife.

Terry then became more intrigued by the art of wildlife and nature photography and capturing images of what he had been fortunate enough to experience in his very own backyard.  This was when he decided to dedicate all of his time to learning the art of photographing amazing and unique wildlife encounters and landscapes.

For now he continues capturing unique images for people to enjoy, on his journey to reach his goal of becoming a full time professional photographer.