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Ontario photographer chasing northern lights captures stunning images

Over the weekend, people throughout Canada and the world saw a beautiful array of colours across the night sky, with a stunning display of an aurora borealis, also known as the northern lights.

Tania Wood, a photographer from Collingwood, Ont., captured some stunning pictures of the historical geometric storm on May 10 and May 11.

“This is the strongest storm I was able to photograph. Nothing else can compare to it now,” Wood says.

The local photographer says she has made chasing the northern lights a hobby since first spotting them in Parry Sound while camping six years ago.


The northern lights at Sunset Point Beach in Collingwood, Ont., on the night of May 10, 2024.


Photo by Tania Wood/Tania Wood Photography


View of northern lights on Georgian Bay in the sky at Sunset Point Beach in Collingwood, Ont., on the night of May 10, 2024.


Photo by Tania Wood/Tania Wood Photography


View of northern lights in the sky at Sunset Point Beach in Collingwood, Ont., on the night of May 10, 2024.


Photo by Tania Wood/Tania Wood Photography

Wood tracks the storm using a free weather radar notification app that lets people know when the solar storm might happen.

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Knowing it was coming, Wood says she headed out to Sunset Point Beach, the darkest point in Collingwood, as soon as it started to get dark.


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“I patiently waited for an hour, and then finally the light show started, and it was the most incredible thing I had ever seen in my life,” she recalls.

“It was just a big, giant white beam of light that just exploded across the sky, and the whole escarpment was lit up, and I didn’t know where to look because there were bright, amazing colours in every part of the sky.”

She says the sight was “awe-inspiring” and hard to describe.

“The whole mountain was lit up red and pink over it, over the terminal’s green and purple, and over top of us they were dancing, and you could see them moving and just swirling, and there’s so many colours,” Wood says.


Burst of light from the northern lights in the sky at Sunset Point Beach in Collingwood, Ont., on the night of May 10, 2024.


Photo by Tania Wood/Tania Wood Photography


Pink and green northern lights at Sunset Point Beach in Collingwood, Ont., on the night of May 10, 2024.


Photo by Tania Wood/Tania Wood Photography


Purple and blue northern lights in the sky at Sunset Point Beach in Collingwood, Ont., on the night of May 10, 2024.


Photo by Tania Wood/Tania Wood Photography

Wood says that while she usually chases the northern lights in the area three to four times a year, it’s usually too cloudy to see anything.

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“That’s why it was just so phenomenal that everything worked out perfectly,” Wood says.

This extraordinary show of colours was estimated to be the most severe geomagnetic storm to hit Earth in the past 20 years, making the light show visible across Canada.

The U.S.’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which tracks space weather events, anticipated that northern lights could be seen as far south as northern California and Alabama.

— with files from Global News’ Kathryn Mannie and Eric Stober

&copy 2024 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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