Headlands Dark Sky Park/Mackinac Island
September 11-12, 2015
Trevor and I went up to Mackinaw for the night on September 11 - the forecast looked iffy and it was cold, but there was no moon in the sky and I knew it was our best option for star photos for a while.
We got up to the motel and told the lady at the front desk that we were heading to the Headlands Dark Sky Park and after commenting on the cold, she said "maybe you'll see some northern light action, they've been pretty active this week!"
When we arrived at the park, we realized the parking had changed from last year - we had to park close to the entrance and walk about a mile to the beach.. Halfway to the beach, someone walked past and said "hey guys, just so you know it's pretty cloudy out and it's not supposed to clear up until 1" - well, it was 11 PM and we were halfway there carrying two chairs, two blankets, and all of my camera gear, so we decided to keep going just in case.
The first photos were from right after we set up our chairs and my tripod - the clouds were starting to clear already! We sat and watched them clear for a while and eventually had a great view of the Milky Way. After a little while, I started looking north and saw something hazy over the big dipper. I couldn't quite tell if it was a cloud, so I took a long exposure photo and saw bright green - I was so excited that I did a happy dance (not joking). They got brighter and some purple-ish beams started appearing behind the trees - it was probably the coolest thing I've ever seen.
The next day, we went up to Mackinac Island for the day, we toured the fort and spent the afternoon walking around the main street.