Sometimes getting a fantastic shot is an act of serendipity.
When Brett Abernethy, a geologist and photographer in Calgary, Alberta, traveled to Banff National Park, he had intended to capture some beautiful shots of the Northern Lights. Little did he know, the shot he got instead would send him into viral fame. For astrophotography buffs who are dying to know how Brett got this once-in-a-lifetime shot of a fireball meteorite, we’ve got the full story!
According to Brett, his passion for night photography began in 2012 when he had first started chasing nocturnal thunderstorms, starry nights, and the occasional aurora borealis. While Brett admits to seeing his fair share of surprises, the meteorite shot was a complete fluke.
For those who are familiar with astrophotography, you’ll know that photos as perfect as this are one in a million. As Brett explained on his Nat Geo Your Shot page, he had actually ventured out to Banff National Park that evening Aurora hunting, something the geologist has done quite successfully over the past few years. At 1:30 a.m. on December 20th, 2014, while camped near Johnson Lake and shooting the Orion constellation over the mountain, Brett had been exposing a shot when the sky suddenly lit up. The fireball went on to break up into three pieces before fading away.
While shocked at first, Brett immediately stopped the exposure and checked his preview with hopes that he had captured the meteorite. When retelling his story to Global News, Brett recalls that he wasn’t even sure what the light was at first, saying, “We didn’t even know what was going on; we thought ‘is there a car somehow coming down this road?'”