Aurora Summit 19

Fri, November 01 2019, 2:00 PM - Sun, November 03 2019, 12:30 PM [CST]

128, Harbor View Drive, Washburn, WI, 54891, United States




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NEW! Early Bird Rate: 4 WEEKS ONLY! Partial Approval -$140.00

Available Tickets - N/A

Save 20% on full admission when you register early. Valid until July 28. The Early Bird Rate offers access to ALL conference activities, including the panel, educational sessions, travelogue, Keynote Speaker, Aurora Slideshow, Night Demonstrations, Light Painting Party, evening activities and special features. All meals included. Apparel sold separately.

Regular Admission Partial Approval - $175.00

Available Tickets - 96 Sales end on - 10/02/2019

Regular Admission includes access to ALL conference activities, including the panel, educational sessions, travelogue, Keynote Speaker, Aurora Slideshow, Night Demonstrations, Light Painting Party, evening activities and special features. All meals included. Apparel sold separately.

Friday Dinner + Saturday Banquet Only Partial Approval -$89.00

Available Tickets - 23 Sales end on - 10/02/2019

This dinner only option offers guests admission to all evening activities on both Friday and Saturday night. Reserve a seat at dinner on Friday and enjoy the panel discussion. Then join us for the Saturday banquet and access to Saturday evening activities, including the Keynote Speaker, Aurora Slideshow, Night Demonstrations and Light Painting Party. Apparel sold separately.

Banquet Only Partial Approval - $69.00

Available Tickets - 28 Sales end on - 10/02/2019

Banquet Only admission offers travel partners a seat at the banquet and access to Saturday evening activities, including the Keynote Speaker, Aurora Slideshow, Night Demonstrations and Light Painting Party. Apparel sold separately.

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Event Information

Fri, November 01 2019, 2:00 PM - Sun, November 03 2019, 12:30 PM [CST]

About the Event

Events | Schedule | Guide | Press | FAQ | Slideshow | Get Involved | Gear | Resources | Contact Us

Welcome to the Aurora Summit!

Welcome to the Aurora Summit: Celebrating the Art, Culture, Science, and Photography of the Aurora Borealis!

The Aurora Summit is the leading conference on Northern Lights in the U.S., offering presentations on the Northern Lights, Photography and Night Sky Thrills. Aurora Summit 19 will take place from Nov. 1 - 3, 2019, in Washburn, Wisconsin.

Join us for an exciting weekend on Lake Superior's South Shore featuring the Northern Lights!

Register by Oct. 1, 2019. Please note, all payments are processed by Co-Founder Dixie J. Burbank.

For the full schedule, visit:

Grab Your Gear and Look North!

Held at the Harbor View Event Center & The Washburn Inn, the 3rd Annual Aurora Summit is packed with awesome opportunities!

The venue is located on Lake Superior's South Shore, with stunning beaches near the property. From the moment you arrive, you'll find countless ways to admire nature, enjoy photography, and make new connections.

Whether you enjoy the educational sessions, spend your nights watching the sky, or relax along the majestic northern forests and beaches, you're sure to have a great time. Take a look!

Be Part of the Adventure

Aurora Summit 19 will feature a variety of activities related to the Northern Lights, bringing in nationally known experts to shine new light on this rare phenomenon.

Part conference and part star party, the Aurora Summit attracts people from all experience levels, inviting guests to be part of the adventure! Activities include:

• Educational Sessions
• Panel Discussion
• Aurora Chasing Travelogue
• Banquet Featuring the Aurora Slideshow
• Hands-on Night Demonstrations
• Special Programming
• Swag, raffle prizes and more!

As part of the summit, breakout sessions will be offered on topics related to Aurora Borealis and Night Sky Photography. When you register, you'll have the opportunity to select sessions to attend – one from each timeslot. Sessions are rated Beginner (B), Intermediate (I) or Advanced (A). Check out the line-up for the Saturday Sessions below, also posted on the website. Some events may be subject to change.

The summit opens with registration at 2pm on Friday, and closes with a farewell at 12:30pm Sunday. For the full schedule, visit

Opportunities After Hours

If you're interested, you can enjoy other activities on your own, before and after each conference day. Opportunities after hours include:

• Stargazers Bonfire
• Night Photography, Aurora Chasing & Light Painting
• Sunrise or Sunset Photography on Lake Superior's South Shore

Due to the risks involved, we will not offer Steel Wool Spinning as part of this event. Don't miss this chance to enjoy a weekend packed with events featuring Aurora and the Night Sky!

The Banquet & Aurora Slideshow

Come as you are! The banquet is held on Saturday night in a beautiful setting, and we don't consider it a formal occasion. It offers a casual evening and a great opportunity to connect and share your experiences! The banquet includes:

• Keynote Speaker Chris Ratzlaff
Aurora Slideshow, featuring your submissions
• Gourmet dinner with dessert
• Bar service will be available at an added cost

** If you would like vegetarian meals, please choose this option when you register. The meals will be catered by local restaurants, so we can not accomodate other dietary restrictions this year.

Summit Perks and Apparel

Take advantage of all that we have to offer at the Aurora Summit! As a registered guest, we invite you to:

• COMING SOON! Order apparel and gear before the conference
• Submit a photo to the Aurora Slideshow
• Get involved in one of many ways, from sponsors and vendors to panelists and volunteers
• Find Resources about Astrophotography and the Northern Lights
• Win prizes in social media contests 
• Win Aurora Awards or raffle prizes during the event

For more information, visit

Lodging & Camping

Guests are responsible for booking their own lodging. Rooms at the host hotel will sell out fast! We've reserved a block of rooms at The Washburn Inn, at a discount for Aurora Summit guests.

Our conference will be at the Harborview Event Center across the parking lot from the host hotel, The Washburn Inn. With a beautiful view of the Historic Washburn Marina on Lake Superior's South Shore, The Washburn Inn has 35 rooms available. To secure your room, call today and mention the Aurora Summit to get a special rate.

Host Hotel: The Washburn Inn
128 Harborview Dr
Washburn, WI 54891

Rooms are $89 plus tax per night. Rooms have 1 or 2 queen beds and are typical hotel accommodations with no kitchenettes.

North Coast Inn and Chalet
26 W. Bayfield St
Washburn, WI

This is a budget option with 1 queen at $54, 2 queens at $59, and a room with a kitchenette at $69. The chalet is located about 2 blocks away from the event center.

The Quality Inn
30600 US 2
Ashland, WI 54806

Rooms are $94 to $104 based on view. Offering more amenties including free breakfast and a pool, this hotel is located about 15 minutes from the event center. A room block has been reserved for The Aurora Summit, which will be released 30 days prior to the event.

To get a discount, call your hotel of choice and mention the "Aurora Summit." There are many other hotels and lodging options in the area. The listed rates are subject to a resort service and state sales tax.

Make your reservations soon! The Aurora Summit takes place in a popular tourism destination, and the rooms may be released to the public one month before the event.

Frequently Asked Questions

To read the FAQ, please visit

An event hosted by Mike Shaw Photography.



Cancellation policy

Cancellations must be made more than a month in advance in order to receive a refund. No refunds will be made after October 2, 2019.

Event Location

About the Organizer

Co-founders Melissa F. Kaelin, Dixie J. Burbank, and Dr. Mike Shaw have teamed up to offer a summit celebrating the Northern Lights. Hosted by Mike Shaw Photography, LLC,, the Aurora Summit welcomes you to explore the art, culture, science, and photography of this rare natural phenomenon.


Event Speakers

Chris Ratzlaff
Alberta Aurora Chasers Admin

Our Keynote Speaker Chris Ratzlaff will share his experience as a “Chaser of Elusive Things” at Aurora Summit 19. An admin of the Alberta Aurora Chasers, Chris chases storms, Aurora, and the odd bubble frozen at ridiculously cold temperatures. Chris has always been fascinated by the sky and snapping photos of it, but it’s really in the last few years that he discovered a passion for catching and photographing the elusive sights offered by powerful storms and the vibrant Aurora that many never have much opportunity to witness. His passion is built upon a love for learning about the causes of these events, which helps to predict (with wildly varying accuracy, and often lack-thereof) when and where these elusive phenomena can be caught. This led Chris to become a Citizen Science Leader in the Aurora community. Chris has helped bring the observations of the Alberta Aurora Chasers to the attention of the scientific community and to represent Aurora Chasers in some of the scientific research that followed the discovery of the narrow, purple band of light we’ve come to know as STEVE. Want to know how this sub auroral arc, also called a Strong Thermal Emission Velocity Enhancement, became known as STEVE? Chris was the “goofball” to propose the name STEVE as a temporary name for that phenomenal band of light!
Christy Turner
Travel & Lifestyle Photographer

Internationally-commissioned travel and lifestyle photographer, Christy's real passion lies in the night skies! Having traveled to more than 74 countries so far, she's photographed the Milky Way in Africa, the aurora in Iceland and chased substorms in the Yukon. Working full time for the University of Calgary in IT, Christy is a professional photographer full time on the side and recently completed an assignment in Bordeaux, France where she was brought in to photograph a 10 day biodynamic wine harvest process. She also participated in a recent documentary in Alberta by Telus with Chris Ratzlaff who is also here! In Calgary, Alberta, you'll find her chasing aurora, looking for owls, and exploring Alberta's incredible amenities.
Roger D. Feldhans
Light Painter, Artist & Photographer

A freelance artist and photographer, Roger D. Feldhans has been light painting for many years, beginning when he was in junior high school and shooting on film. He has advanced to digital photography, composing light paintings with a combination of professional tools and his homemade creations. He also leads light painting workshops, including a workshop celebrating the International Day of Light.
Christian Harris
Space Weather Trackers Founder

Christian Harris is the Founder and Admin of Space Weather Trackers, an online source that breaks down solar storms and Aurora forecasting for the public audience. Christian holds a B.S. in Astrophysics from The Ohio State University, and he was a contributor to the Sunjammer project. He has taught classes on reading Aurora data in Fairbanks, Alaska. He is an active member of Aurora Borealis Notifications, Alberta Aurora Chasers, Great Lakes Aurora Hunters, and Aurora Australis Science.
Jamie Rabold
Light Painter & Photography Admin

The photographer and light painter behind Willowmaker Images, Jamie Rabold has been a night time shooter for many years. He photographs everything from the stars and aurora borealis, to many forms of light painting. He is an admin of the Frozen Photographers, and he can often be found taking photos in subzero temperatures and capturing the many moods of Lake Superior's shore.
Paul Nelson
Landscape Photographer

From the area of Marquette, Michigan, Paul Nelson works from a mindset that brings an attention to detail and technical requirements to his photography. Along with a lot of patience, this gives him an advantage in learning and mastering astrophotography. The talent behind The Creator's Hand Photography, Paul is largely self-taught, but he has taken online classes and in-field workshops to supplement his studies.
Bob King
Author & Creator of AstroBob

Bob King has enjoyed the night sky and astronomy since childhood He grew up in Illinois and received a teaching degree in German from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana. After graduating, he worked as a photographer at the Champaign-Urbana News Gazette before moving to Duluth to work as a photographer and photo editor at the News Tribune. He retired from the paper in 2018 after 39 years. Bob writes a regular astronomy blog called Astro Bob as well as articles for the online astronomy websites Sky & Telescope and Universe Today. He's taught community education astronomy classes at the UMD planetarium for many years. He lives in Duluth with his wife Linda and has two children, Katie and Maria. His books "Night Sky with the Naked Eye" and "Wonders of the Night Sky You Must See Before You Die" describe the joys of observing the stars. Bob's third book, "Urban Legends of Space," which publishes this fall, examines science vs. pseudoscience in astronomy.
Amber Nichols
Frozen Photographers Admin

An admin of Frozen Photographers and president of the Duluth Superior Camera Club, Amber Nichols is no stranger to shooting photos in a deep freeze. Amber has taken a serious learning attitude toward making photography her professional career. She works with everything from landscapes and night photography, to city scapes, wildlife, animals, sports, and portrait photography. She also contributes to a local newspaper as a freelance photographer.
Mark Ellis
Nature Photographer

Mark Ellis has been a lifelong photography enthusiast. He composes his photos carefully, using a broad range of planning techniques, including scene planning, equipment tricks, motion controlled tracking, exposure and interval planning, processing workflow considerations, and editing and processing options. Mark specializes in time-lapse and photography of the night sky and aurora borealis, as well as wildlife and nature scenes.
Matthew E. Moses
Freelance Photographer

Matthew E. Moses is a freelance photographer with many passions, who covers many genres. From the amazing stars at night to Northern Lights, fast sports action, and the landscapes around us, to the intimate moments during weddings, he strives to deliver the photos that capture the memories and emotions of the scene. He also offers knowledge of deep space photography, with experience shooting the Orion Nebula, Andromeda Galaxy, Geminid Meteor Shower, and Comet 46-P/Wirtanen. The talent behind Matthew Moses Photography, Matthew has seen his work featured in publications like the Duluth News Tribune, Entrepreneur, Minneapolis/St. Paul Magazine and the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum Newsletter, among others. He is also an admin of Frozen Photographers and has long been active in many groups that track solar storms in order to predict the Northern Lights.
Melissa F. Kaelin
Professional Storyteller & Artist

Melissa F. Kaelin is a writer and artist who recently moved to Michigan. One of the founding organizers of the Aurora Summit, Melissa has a passion for nature, writing and chasing the Aurora Borealis. Her writing has been published in the Aurorean and Still Point Arts Quarterly, which featured a story focused on the Milky Way. She has also written for the cover of Minnesota Monthly, many newspapers, City Pages and a Big Ten University. In 2016, she self-published Hope in the Hoarfrost, a book of poetry, and her novel about the Aurora is currently under consideration by a NYC talent agency.
Dixie J. Burbank
Traveler & Tour Guide

Co-founder Dixie J. Burbank joins the line-up for Aurora Summit 19! Dixie is a travel enthusiast and amateur night photographer who extends travel opportunities to groups for affordable trips to view and photograph the Northern Lights. Offering unique experiences from Dixie J Digital, she has traveled since 2012 to destinations under the auroral oval, giving people the opportunity to see areas that boast the best potential for light displays. She assists travelers with camera settings and the basic photography skills necessary to capture the lights. Her adventures feature local sights and side trips, with the goal of experiencing local culture. Dixie's groups have traveled to Alaska and Norway, sharing lodging and meal expenses to make the trips affordable, while remaining flexible to sight-see as much as possible with a focus on the night sky. With her Aurora Chasing Travelogue, she shares pointers and advice with like-minded people in search of observing and photographing the Northern Lights in locations best known for dynamic, mind-blowing auroral displays.
Dr. Mike Shaw
Author, Photographer & Host

Dr. Mike Shaw is an award-winning photographer, book author, speaker and workshop leader based in St. Paul, Minnesota. He worked as a physics and astronomy professor and applied physics research scientist for over ten years. His newest book, “Creative Nightscapes and Time-lapses,” explains everything you need to know to make state-of-the-art multi-image nightscape photography and time-lapse projects using photographs made from a fixed tripod position. His first book, “The Complete Guide to Landscape Astrophotography – Understanding, Planning, Creating and Processing Nightscape Images,” integrates astronomy, photography and planning methods to allow you to be at the right place, at the right time, with the right equipment and knowledge to get your shot right the first time. Mike’s field workshops take him around the globe in search of the darkest, clearest skies. He also teaches in the Bryan Peterson School of Photography on night photography and time-lapses. He recently began a popular series of night photography themed classes at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. His images and video footage can be licensed from Science Photo Library (London). He was awarded a 2019/20 Resident Artist award at the University of Minnesota’s Bell Museum to “…explore immersive visualizations & experiences that showcase the night sky.” Traveling with his camera to remote wilderness areas around the world, Mike is known for his friendly, down-to-earth speaking and teaching style and enjoys collaborating with others. His work has appeared on CNN, CBS, NBC, ABC,, Sky News, NASA, Minnesota Monthly, Lake Superior Magazine, Destination Duluth, The World At Night (TWAN), Planit Pro, PhotoPills, the Bryan Peterson School of Photography and in the US National Park Service. He is the host and a co-founder of the Aurora Summit annual conference. Mike holds a Ph.D. in Materials Engineering from the University of California, Santa Barbara, a M.S. in Ceramic Engineering from the Ohio State University and a B.S. in Materials Science and Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley. He is a member of the Astronomical League and the Minnesota Astronomical Society.

Event Sponsors

Event Schedule

  • November 2, 2019
  • November 3, 2019
08:00 AM
08:55 AM
Track : Northern Lights

Aurora Forecasting for Beginners, with Bob King (B)

From the Kp to the Bz, learn how to monitor the Northern Lights and find out when there is a good likelihood of a strong display.

Bob King

Track : Photography

Essentials for Aurora Photography, with Christy Turner (B)

Learn the basic camera skills you need to know to capture the Northern Lights, with tips for editing your photos for the best result.

Christy Turner

Track : Night Sky Thrills

Shooting the Milky Way, with Mark Ellis (I)

Discover what it takes to photograph the Milky Way and get advice on how to capture the galaxy on your digital camera.

Mark Ellis

09:10 AM
10:05 AM
Track : Northern Lights

Discovering STEVE, with Chris Ratzlaff (B)

Chris Ratzlaff

Track : Photography

Astrophotography with Equatorial Trackers, with Paul Nelson (I)

Paul Nelson

Track : Night Sky Thrills

Deep Freeze Photography: Tips for Subzero Shooting, with Amber Nichols (B)

Amber Nichols

10:20 AM
11:15 AM
Track : Northern Lights

Know Your Sky, Know What to Shoot, with Bob King (B)

Bob King

Track : Photography

Night Sky Composites and Blends: A How-to Guide, with Mike Shaw (A)

Dr. Mike Shaw

Track : Night Sky Thrills

Smartphone Astrophotography, with Christian Harris (B)

Christian Harris

01:35 PM
02:30 PM
Track : Northern Lights

Mysteries of Solar Wind Data Revealed, with Christian Harris (A)

Christian Harris

Track : Photography

Intro to Time Lapse Capture & Editing, with Mark Ellis (I)

Mark Ellis

Track : Night Sky Thrills

Urban Legends of Space: Astro Science v. Pseudoscience, with Bob King (B)

Bob King

02:45 PM
03:40 PM
Track : Northern Lights

Secrets of the Goddess of the Dawn: Aurora Myth & Legend, with Melissa Kaelin (B)

Melissa F. Kaelin

Track : Photography

Deep Sky Photography, with Matthew Moses (A)

Matthew E. Moses

Track : Night Sky Thrills

The Light Painting Toolbox, with Roger Feldhans (B)

Roger D. Feldhans

03:55 PM
04:50 PM
Track : Northern Lights

NASA’s Spectra Lens and the Sub Auroral Arc, with Christy Turner (I)

Christy Turner

Track : Photography

Post Processing Night Sky Photos, with Matthew Moses (I)

Matthew E. Moses

Track : Night Sky Thrills

Phenomenal Light Painting, with Jamie Rabold (I)

Jamie Rabold

06:00 PM
09:00 PM

Chasing the Elusive: Featuring Keynote Speaker Chris Ratzlaff


During the Aurora Banquet, join Chris Ratzlaff for "Chasing the Elusive," a discussion about his journey as a photographer of Aurora, the Alberta Aurora Chasers community, citizen science and the rare phenomenon known as STEVE.

Chris Ratzlaff

08:00 AM
12:30 PM

Special Programs


Gather on Sunday for special programming, including talks, the Aurora Chasing Travelogue and a competitive Aurora event! The morning will include raffle prizes and a grand prize, but guests must be present to win!!

Melissa F. Kaelin

Dixie J. Burbank

Dr. Mike Shaw