Last night I did it again, and I enjoyed every minute of it. Yup, when I bring someone out for their first aurora and they are so excited that they can barely stand, I share in that excitement. Their grin is my grin and their joy is my passion. Their exuberance was warranted, as the aurora put on a beautiful show for us over the dogyards of Black Spruce Dog Sledding and for Alaskans across the state. It was hard not pull up one of the empty sleds that beckoned to the watcher to layback, relax, smile, and enjoy the show. It truly is a beautiful world.
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A Happy Trio under the Aurora!
This image of empty sleds beckons the viewer to come take a seat and enjoy a beautiful show.
The aurora creeps in over the Dog Yard of Black Spruce Dog Sledding.
A powerful flare of aurora threatens to blow out this image. Such a beautiful scene!
The aurora lights up the scene behind these snow-laden black spruces.
I never leave out the horizon in my shots, but did in this one for some reason. And you know what – I kind of like it! The milky way is showing up alongside the aurora in this shot.
Jason and Megan were visiting Black Spruce Dog Sledding, and I was more than happy to get an image of them under their aurora. A great couple!
Wide vistas over Murphy dome showing off a beautiful sky.
I jumped when my alarm went off at 11:30 PM, and I looked at my surroundings to remind myself where I was. The sleeping bag wrapped around me and my reclined seat reinforced I was in my truck as my blurry eyes brought the steering wheel in focus. My memories flooded back to me; I arrived 30 minutes ago, and with no aurora in sight had set an alarm and took a nap. I was expectant that a G2 storm forecast was going to pay out, and as I peered out of trucks window it seemed I was in luck. The aurora was starting to show a band high in the sky. I turned the ignition, and drove down the road to find the “perfect”, golden tree – my goal for the night was to fuse autumn colors and the aurora together.
I stood on the road with my head craned up, watching a beautiful, green aurora band overhead. This aurora was Mr. Jekyll which soon morphed into Mr. Hyde – albeit a beautiful version of him. I was not ready for the full force of the aurora as it transformed the sky into a green and pink blanket of shimmering, dancing lights so different than what I had been looking at minutes earlier. The energy that rolled overhead, I learned later, was the result of a monstrous, KP7 event, that pushed the aurora into Washington and the Midwest. I was so overwhelmed by the aurora that I expressed myself by simultaneously singing, praying, and taking pictures by myself under the vast display of lights. For those who know me, you might guess that I was also grinning broadly from ear-to-ear. My smile would not have disappointed you!
For parts of the night, my only focus was to capture the overhead aurora corona to the best of my ability. The last time I successfully captured the corona was in Denali National Park last year. I couldn’t be more happy to show you this gallery of images from last night – there were many more taken! The gallery is chronological, and hopefully gives a sense of the scale of the aurora and how quickly it built. These images are taken at 9mm, and hence have a ~120 degree field of view!
I am continuing to boost my online portfolio, so please stop by if you have a moment! A selection of these images has been added to my Fine Arts America Photo Gallery for purchase. Thank-you for your consideration!
This road points E/W and the fact that the aurora started on the left (south) side of the road indicated a huge amount of energy coming in!
This image was captured with my camera pointed directly to the south. Intense greens that reach far into the sky.
Autumn colors in the front of a striking green aurora
Autumn colors in the front of a striking green aurora
A panorama capturing this vibrant band of aurora stretching across the southern sky.
A towering green aurora.
Multiple bands of aurora swirl together.
This image was taken due south and towers high into the sky.
Aurora coronas occur during high energy. A focal point forms in the aurora and its the only thing you want to watch – it is impossible to tear your eyes from it!
This image is 120 degrees wide. Hopefully that can give some perspective to the proportion of the aurora in the sky!
The corona of the aurora broadened and began to show vibrant pinks.
This insane push of energy came from the north and quickly grew.
The aurora is punctuated by a intense white band.
Like two circus performers, this these bands of aurora are folded together like they are dancing with each other.
Swirling greens of aurora during a incomprehensibly large push of energy.
The aurora opens up in a broad sickle that I think looks like an ear.
This particular auroral formation takes one last swirl before dissipating.
By 1 AM the aurora was still broad across the sky, but became less structured. Brilliant pulses of light races across the sky in waves rather than bands.
The trees in this image have been “light painted” so they show up and fuse together autumn with the aurora.
Mission success! Capturing this full-sky aurora over some beautiful autumn foliage.
Fine Arts America Photo Gallery