Moncton amateur photographer captures amazing ‘light pillars’ phenomenon

Sophie Melanson/ Provided

A New Brunswick woman’s photographs of a brilliant weather phenomenon known as light pillars are capturing international attention.

Sophie Melanson snapped the photos outside her home in Moncton last Friday. It was the third time that week she had seen the bright light show.

“I grabbed [my camera] instantly because it’s not something that happens all the time and it’s very beautiful to capture,” Melanson told Global News.

READ: Weather phenomenon creates street map in the sky

Light pillars, often seen in polar regions, appear when light bounces off the facets of flat ice crystals in the atmosphere. The light sources can be natural or artificial, such as street lamps.

Sophie Melanson says she knew she had to grab her camera when she saw last Friday’s light show outside her home. Sophie Melanson/ Provided
“It’s only been a few years that I’ve really heard about these,” Melanson said. “I remember seeing some types of light pillars in the distance not really knowing what they were, or confusing them for northern lights. [But I’ve] never seen anything this defined and bright as that night.”
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She posted the photos on her Facebook page and what followed was an overwhelming response. So far, her photos have been featured in several websites and even made their way onto a weather news video in the Netherlands.

Melanson says the experience has been “awesome,” especially since her photos seem to be shining a spotlight on Moncton.

“I’ve seen comments like ‘another reason to visit Canada’ or even ‘move to Canada’,” she said.

WATCH: Photographer captures stunning images of northern lights

Melanson, who works as a web developer and has recently taken up photography, says she used a Sony a6300 mirrorless camera. She admits some people have questioned whether her photos are edited, but she says her touch-ups were minor.

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“I edited a bit in Lightroom for my own creative touch,” she said. “But not very much was needed.”

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