Aurora Northern Lights Mount Hood Astrophotography Pacific Northwest

Photo Entry: Northern Lights Rising Behind Mount Hood

I took this photograph of Mount Hood after backpacking in Mount Saint Helens National Volcanic Monument for three days. We were finishing a 32-mile marathon-lap around the entire mountain that included wild elk, mountain goats, and a dash across Mt. St. Helens’ blast zone. After completing our loop, I swung back to Portland for a few hours and then headed east towards Mount Hood National Forest.

I agreed to go car camping at Lake Trillium for the night with some friends. The sky was dark and a Quarter Moon hung low behind us in the south-west. It played a pivotal roll in this composition by illuminating Mount Hood. Standing between the shining Moon and Mount Hood, I pointed my camera at the mountain and opened up the shutter. The photograph left me floored by my luck while the camera captured the purple tips of aurora rising behind a bright, snowy mountain. The soft reflection on Lake Trillium finally crafted one of my personal best shots since picking up a DSLR.

I continued taking photographs for another 15 minutes or so, and then returned to the campsite for food and camp fun. It was my third night sleeping outside in the Cascades, and I ended with a wonderful shot of Mount Hood. It was my perfect nightcap for an inspiring three days in the Pacific Northwest forests.

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