An Aurora Portrait

Last night I was grinning ear to ear, and as I write this the corners of my lips are still curled into a smile. In September, I wrote about the joy of bringing someone out for their first aurora. Last night I was able to enjoy a whole new facet and spectacular joy of aurora photography by hosting an “Aurora Portraits” program through the University of Alaska Fairbanks Residence Life. When we arrived at our destination 10 miles out of Fairbanks the thin layer clouds had just started to burn off. A full moon lit the landscape around us allowing even the naked eye to see to the horizon line 10’s of miles away. A flash of green in the sky around 10:30 indicated to us that the auroral show was just starting to kick off and from that point on the aurora continued to build. As the green shifted and danced in the sky groups and individuals jumped in front of the camera and we proceeded to make memories. Between drinking hot cocoa and warm cider we laughed and enjoyed a beautiful night out. Last night’s aurora will be memorable for its beauty, and its friendship!

Incredibly, these shots are lit only by the moon. The gallery here is a select few images from the night – if you are getting this post via email be sure to click on the gallery images to enlarge them :). I also captured one shot (without people) that I’m particularly proud of. It is featured below this gallery.

I am particularly happy with this shot! One of the elements I have been working on is foreground composition when shooting the aurora. I love the snowshoe hare tracks and the spruces of this capture. They are certainly two iconic boreal forest signatures on the landscape!
Spinach Creek Aurora
The aurora and landscape lit by a full moon on 11/08/14 was beautiful!
Capturing the full moon and an aurora through the spruces. What an incredibly beautiful night!!

6 thoughts on “An Aurora Portrait”

  1. Snow crystals were also a strong component of the snoeshoe hare photo, in fact they were the first thing that drew my attention when I went into magnification. An unexpected gift to a great photo!

    1. Thank you! 17 months is about the same amount I’ve been here too actually. I get out when I can! If you like the Aurora, check out a Facebook page “Aurora Lovers” they’re a good community and they’ve got some good resources for getting out in the Fairbanks area as well as for photographing it. Thanks for checking in!

  2. I wonder if you would point an old Alaskan in the right direction as far as camera lenses. The clarity of your low light photography is amazing and I still can not capture a decent Aurora photograph. What make is your camera and what kind of lenses do you use? I would appreciate it sent as an email because I am not always notified when a reply is made on my comments.

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