A photographer's how to guide to spot the Northern Lights in the Okanagan | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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A photographer's how to guide to spot the Northern Lights in the Okanagan

Nick Clements captured the Northern Lights with his camera in Oyama in 2016.
Image Credit: Nick Clements/ @@nickclemo

The trick to spotting the Northern Lights in the Okanagan is getting out of the cities, and following Aurora Borealis chasers through social media.

Nick Clements, a longtime resident of Oyama, recently posted colourful photos of the Northern Lights on a popular Lake Country Facebook group, which captivated residents.

Taken back in 2016 in Oyama, he said the lights can be seen three or four times a year in the Okanagan and offered up some advice on how to find them.

“The rule of thumb is that they are visible, especially in Oyama, because you’re between the city lights of Winfield and the city lights of Vernon,” he said. “Oyama doesn’t have that much light pollution.”

He uses the site Aurora Service to follow them and looks at users' accounts on Instagram from across the country to watch for clues.

“If there’s someone in Minnesota or Ontario posting about them, then I kind of know they’re coming our way,” he said.

He said anything with a KP (a number system to measure aurora strength) of four or five will be visible in the Okanagan. The scale is based on a system from zero to nine.

It’s all about knowing where to look and when to look.

The camera also picks up the lights better than the naked eye when using a long exposure, he said. A long exposure is a setting where the shutter of a camera is open for a long period of time.

“It’s kind of like fishing right? You just have to put the time in. Look for the right conditions. Be patient. Look for them in the spring and the fall because the days are not so long.”

Avoid the moonlight and find a good spot in the countryside, he said.

“If you spend a lot of time outside at night you’ll see them.”


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