With a 2-year-old in the house, it wasn’t much of a surprise for Canadian content creator Timmy Joe, 33, to wake up at 1:30 a.m. on January 6. As one sometimes does in such situations, he headed to the bathroom. He noticed weird beams of light were shimmering through the window, and that’s when the night became one like he had never experienced before. Thinking it was the northern lights, he called over his wife. She headed back to bed after taking a quick peek, but the YouTuber in Timmy Joe wanted to investigate further.
I opened the bathroom window up, immediatly feeling the -18 degrees Celsius (0 Fahrenheit) air, to get an unobstructed view. I set my Galaxy S6 Edge+ to manual, set the shutter to open for 8 seconds and played with the ISO settings to get various exposures. All the while, I was using the tracks of my window screen as a sort of makeshift tripod, to avoid camera shake.
Eventually, Timmy Joe’s wife told him to close the bathroom window, as it was getting quite cold. But the man wasn’t satisfied yet, so he threw some pants on and headed out.
The content creator in me was really excited at the opportunity to shoot this phenomenon. I had this amazing view of these lights dancing in the sky, and my pictures were actually turning out.
Still thinking he was witnessing some sort of northern lights variation, as he explains in this viral “I Got Trolled by Nature”-video, Timmy Joe drove around town to find the best view, only to discover he had the best view from his own home. During his ride, he also noticed how lights weren’t coming from above, but seemingly shooting into the sky from the ground up. Asking Wikipedia for advice, Timmy Joe discovered he had just witnessed Light Pillars.
Were you disappointed that it was a rather “normal” phenomenon?
I think the attention it has gotten, has proven it’s something special, even if it isn’t as rare as it seems. I’ve done interviews from Canada to South America, Europe, India and even Australia. I’ve been on TV and radio stations and I’m just blown away by how far this has gone. Never in a million years would I have thought people all around the world would be so interested in Light Pillars, and especially at the images and video I took.
Timmy Joe feels extremely privileged to have been able to experience everything he did over the past couple of weeks. Part of him wishes his fame related more to the tech content he makes on YouTube, so he could translate it to more subscribers, but he says it has been a “positive experience none the less.”
The North Bay inhabitant doesn’t consider himself a photographer, but he did always have an interest in photography. Because of some financial hardships, he recently had to sell a lot of his gear, leaving him with nothing more than his smartphone to create content. As his work was going viral, he launched a GoFundMe page to help him get back in the photography game, but being the shy man that he is, hasn’t really promoted it. We hope that Timmy Joe has a new Sony a5000 by the time these Light Pillars come back. And don’t forget to subscribe to his YouTube channel to follow along with Timmy’s take on Tech News and Reviews.