Just a few days ago I was writing to that it would be six months until I went chasing the lights again. Little did I know that one of the best nights of the season was still in store! Last nights aurora swelled overhead in vibrant shades of purple and blue. I was there to capture the action as the sunlight filtered out of the horizon at 10:30 and didn’t leave until nearly 2:30AM! The clouds rolled in and out through the night, and are evident in these shots.
Since I thought the Lights were all wrapped up for the summer – I guess they got the last laugh!
180 degree panorama looking to the north.
A huge pillar of aurora shoots into the sky.
The “Aurora Borealis Lane” sign is an infamous Fairbanks sign in the Goldstream Valley. Many aurora pictures have been taken over it – now I guess I have mine!
One of my best aurora shots to date! I love the colors and banding in this shot.
I’ve got some new aurora science and colors for you. On Saturday night the aurora turned a royal purple in a show like I have never seen before! I have often heard that the blues of the aurora are most often seen in spring or fall, but did not know until recently the scientific reason behind that observation. In step the science of the Sun-kissed aurora. Known as “Sun Aurora” or “Day Aurora” the blues seen in the photo below are a result of the sun’s rays reacting with the upper plasma of the aurora (webexhibit.org). The highest chance of that occurring is in the spring or fall when our nights are relatively short and the aurora begins in the twilight hours. On the warm March night when I observed the phenomenon, the purple started out as a single pillar which was fairly dim to the eye, but discernible against the black of the stars. From the pillar it spread smoothly across the sky like aurora jelly on its celestial toast. After only ten minutes the purple had faded away as the sun moved lower behind the planet.
Be sure to check out a timelapse of the night:
During the night I got the opportunity to mix together two of my passions. Many know that I’m avid musician, and I enjoyed spicing up the shoot for the night with my trusty guitar. If only my skills were good enough to play Jimi Hendrix’s “Purple Haze”. It certainly has an appropriate title for the night! I hope you enjoy the aurora selfie and guitar in the foreground, I would love to know what you think of those shots!
The starting purple pillar of sun-kissed Aurora
The purple of the aurora spread out across the sky.
Earlier in the night the sun-kissed aurora could be seen on the left edges
Green swirls of aurora combined with some Day Aurora on the left
The height of this aurora is incredible!
Here’s a wider shot of the aurora as the purple developed
A strong pillar of Daylight Aurora
A double-band of sun-kissed aurora!
Crooning to the aurora!!
I love how this dead black spruce lines up with the aurora.
My trusty axe in front of the aurora!
The moon casting a long shadow under my guitar and the Lights
Well folks, this post is officially #100 on this blog. A huge thank-you to all who have supported me and followed in my growth as a writer and photographer! It’s amazing to go back to old posts and reflect on how this site has changed. Some things have not changed much; it is still my mission and joy to bring you photography of wildlife, landscapes, and adventure, and couple some science along with it! Have a favorite moment on this blog from the last 100 posts? I would love if you left it in the comments below! Don’t worry – this site won’t be going away anytime soon 🙂
Early this afternoon I was being pulled by six eager sled dogs. Trails had been degraded and made icy by the recent 50 degree temperatures, and the sled which normally has some drag in snow, slid like it was on Teflon behind the twenty-four turning legs. The excited dogs would have fun as fast as I allowed. Of course my preservation of self made sure to reign in their energy; dumping a sled on these crystallized trails hurts more than on the snow! My sleeves were rolled back and my ungloved hands gripped onto the handle of the sled. The passing breeze did not even feel cold in the 55 degree temps. Leaning around turns and dodging spruce trees, I made my way along the fire break of Old Murphy Dome. Not a cloud was in the sky as we passed impressive vistas stretching to the north. In the distance, the snow of the White Mountains was starkly white against the tree covered hills of the lower foothills.
I passed by Jeff, who had stopped his team in front of me. He wanted me to practice passing another team, and commands of “Gee”, “Alright”, and “On-by” ensured that the leaders knew to keep moving past the other team of stopped dogs. We practiced the procedure a couple more times. Over the winter Jeff has done a great job getting me comfortable with the sled, and teams. It was important to practice passing for our upcoming trip to the White Mountains. More dog-sledding adventures will be reported I return from Crowberry Cabin!
We made several stops along the way to help cool the dogs down. The warm spring temperatures are a dramatic change to the -30 degree temperatures only three weeks ago! Each time the dogs would dive into the snow banks, and push their faces into it. Their panting faces were obviously smiling. It was a beautiful and great day to be a dog or a driver. I did my best to capture their doggy-grins and the excitement of the day. I hope you enjoy!
Dome and Sooner take a quick break under the bluebird conditions. With the warm temps, I’m sure there is an advantage to being a white dog!
The following series of George captures his antics as he cools down in the snow. He looks like one happy pooch!
George cools down and gives me the big eye while straining against his tug line.
George grins for the camera.
Maybe my favorite picture of the day! I love the faces of George and Hera in this shot. Happy Dogs!
Hard to beat the scenery when while on break!
A wider view of the surrounding area and dog team. Such a wonderful day!
Leaning back and taking a picture of the action as we head along the trail!