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LATEST SKY EVENTS

Updated December14th 2017

Snow Video - UPDATE

New video I made featuring a selection of clips of snow scenes from June 9th/10th from Glenshane area, this is a combination of ground based footage of blowing snow, traffic in snow/driving scenes, drone/aerial footage and several images from our epic moonlit snow shoot at the derelict house. The Winter weather is still with us, snow showers are affecting parts of N. Ireland tonight as I type this in the middle of the Geminid Meteor shower, more shooting/filming to do soon and I also still have a report to do, thanks for your patience.

Glenshane Moonlit Wonderland! - Dec 9th

What an epic photo shoot we had last night!, I had been up since 06.00 filming traffic battling snow on the mountain and shooting stills at dawn rite through until day break, then snow drone filming and back out again snow driving during the afternoon, it was a exciting period but also cold and exhausting with little in the way of sleep. Later that night a last minute photo shoot was arranged, I was going to shoot moonlit snow scenes, photographer Paul Martin wanted to do the same and a sudden winter night shoot was arranged. The night was to be clear and cold with temps between -5C and -6C, furthermore the moon was waning between gibbous and last quarter and rising at 22.00, we decided this could produce epic moonlit snow scenes, if the moon was bright enough and it stayed clear and if there was enough snow on the mountain, earlier there had been a few cm with perhaps 4" on the back roads so I was confident of a good set-up. Paul Martin and I met up when the moon had climbed to a sufficient altitude and drove to Glenshane Pass. I decided to re-shoot an area which had been good to us several years ago and it did not disappoint, in fact, we were blown away, it was just like that same night, the landscape was epic. We walked through a foot of clean smooth snow where no human had walked upon, the snow was pristine and deep, drifting in places over walls and hills. Paul lent me his Samyang 14mm F/2.8 which was a stunning piece of glass, sharp as a razor and when stopped down it produced amazing high contrast imagery, I put it to good use. This is Orion, Taurus and Pleiades all over the moonlit Glenshane snow tundra, imagine a great comet over this.

Christmas card setting rite here, this alignment of trees looked perfect in the snow, M31 to upper right, the NWly wind had blown snow down the mountain from the right, it was drifting and sculptured all across the land and very deep, we walked through it laughing as we sank into the midst of a snowy dream, the moon phase was absolutely perfect to light up the snow in a long exposure.

This derelict house had been good to us before and now it was good to us once again, what a stunning winter sight all surrounded by snow, the wind had died and it was completely calm and still, it was also utterly silent except for the subtle flow of a gentle stream in the distance, Paul and I savored every second of it, and as we listened to the silence we were stood in snow up to our knees, we both agreed this had turned into a truly epic night which had surpassed all our expectations.

This snow and these moonlit scenes were our Christmas present from nature. We called it a night at 03.30 when cloud arrived, I have more images from this shoot and will do a winter image report in the near future, thanks for reading.

Beautiful Festive snowfall - Dec 8th

The predicted snow didn't disappoint, in fact, it was better than what I and many others had expected. It began snowing on Thursday evening however I was getting a little nervous as none of it was laying due to warm wet ground and I began to fear this would be a damp squib. As the night advanced snow showers increased and temperatures dropped then by 22.00 the snow began to settle, for the rest of the night it snowed heavily on and off without stopping, the world outside and the world of social media was an exciting place to be. It was snowing over large areas of N. Ireland, not just the mountains. Late in the night I watched the snow falling like mad over Maghera in conjunction with the view of neighbour's Christmas lights, it was a magical moment.

I woke up the next morning at 06.00 to a layer of snow, it was crisp, cold and clear, I packed the gear and headed up the mountain and was on Glenshane Pass by 06.30. It was like a winter wonderland on the mountain, being out this early really made for a great memory, fresh snow on the ground, silence, stars, then snow falling once more, it was still pitch black. Soon snow squalls impacted the area and I spent the remaining darkness filming traffic in the falling snow using my headlights to show the scene using my 50mm lens, the snow was blowing across the road and made for a spectacular sight. Just before dawn the snow eased and the landscape became illuminated by morning twilight with the moon and a few stars on view, I managed to get a few exposures in this magical light, here you can see a big snow shower inbound over the mountains, this was a three second exposure at 10mm.

At 07.30 I met up with Nigel McFarland from AerialvisionNI and together we spent the morning filming snow with the ground based cameras and via drone. We got two flights in between episodes of falling snow, this was at sunrise facing E along Glenshane with the rising sun lighting up a big snow shower.

Turning the drone on it's axis to face W after the first image was taken. Very dramatic scene with the low morning light contrasting against a dark moody sky filled with more falling snow heading our way.

The rest of the morning was spent filming rush hour traffic battling the elements in heavy snow, at times the wind picked up the snow across the fields and deposited it across the roads in a dramatic drifting movement. I have some video of this to post later. I hooked up with my Dad during the afternoon and we ended up on a fantastic drive on the back roads, the views were straight from a Christmas card, one of the best low laying snowfalls in years without question. This is a quick update as I have more shooting to do.

Cabin Tree Star Trails & Moonlit Causeway Cliff Aurora Report - NEW

New Image Report

New image report documenting two night sky shoots on November 5th & 7th 2017. The first on the shore of Lough Neagh when I shot two moonlit star trails around the locally famous 'Cabin Tree' near Doss, a rare 400-600 year old ash tree of great form used as a visual aid for fishermen on the Lough. Night two was a shoot on the Causeway cliffs at the north coast where we were treated to the best aurora in years when a CIR CH event dipped to Bz -20 generating a stunning aurora which dominated the sky. The aurora boasted a three tier arc, multiple high altitude oval forms, and was so intense it washed out bright naked eye stars completely. This was followed by a thrilling cliff top shoot with moonlit waves complimented by a vibrant green aurora arc. One page report with 20 images and 1 time lapse video. - REPORT.

Prints & Canvas Available For Christmas - NEW

Looking for that special Christmas gift?, I have spent years photographing the night sky, chasing storms and documenting atmospheric optical phenomena and during the course of that time I have collected a selection of unique and beautiful skyscapes which make for an exceptional gift for someone special this Christmas. Choose from the aurora, NLCs, moonbows, comets, night landscapes, star trails, sunsets, thunderstorms, funnel clouds, moonlit snow scenes and much more. Enjoy a leisurely browse through my Stock Image Gallery and Storm Chase Reports - all images are available to purchase on glacier print paper of various sizes including beautiful stretched canvas, check out the price list and if you are interested please drop me an email and I will get back to as soon as possible. I do photography for a living so any sales help support this site and fund future photo shoots, thanks very much for your time.

N. Ireland Storm Chasing Image Reports

N. Ireland Storm Chasing Reports

Astronomy is not the only subject I'm interested in. One other such area is severe weather which will be playing a major role on nightskyhunter from now on in conjunction with my other astronomical pursuits. Check out my new N. Ireland Storm Chasing section and view the chase reports and images which detail not only storms but other phenomena such as a moonbows, noctilucent clouds and aurora displays.

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Martin McKenna

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