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Painting The Sky With The Northern Lights
I was really determined to get some varying compositions during my chance to shoot the Northern Lights. Unfortunately, my fisheye lens showed some significant blur on almost all of my captures - thats is, until the very last shutter click for the night. This one super-wide capture shows the Aurora Borealis reaching up into the sky from the bottom right and then stretching up across the sky to the top left - something I very much wanted to capture! And as the very last shot for the night, I couldn't be more pleased now to see that one of my fisheye captures was a success.
And in the end, I was very happy with the dreamy feel of this one overall - with the combination of Northern Lights and starry skies. This 30 second long-exposure image was captured from a peak above Chena Hot Springs near Fairbanks, Alaska.
For the longest time, I considered a trip to Alaska to go see the Northern Lights as a distant dream � something that I wasn�t even taking seriously. But with my having found my calling in Colorado night photography, I grew to realize this dream was serious. So with night sky authority, Dennis Mammana leading a trip up north of Fairbanks to capture the Aurora Borealis, I knew this was a great chance to learn and see what it�s all about. And boy am I glad I did!
During our March 2012 visit, we saw lots of cool sights with no shortage of snow and ice. At the lowest point, we had temperatures of -28F. It turned out to be a great choice to follow those with experience � especially on the first few cloudy nights where the aurora was difficult to see. But with patience and a plan in Chena Hot Springs Resort, we struck green gold (so to speak). Our snowcat ride up on top of a mountain resulted in some incredible views of the aurora � as shown in several of the images shown above and below. With the new snow laying on the trees and the soft moonlight, the scene was utterly amazing. I know I felt my adrenaline pumping that night! And then right before leaving Chena Hot Springs, there was another amazing light show right up until the bus started pulling away � that resulted in a few more final captures.
At the time, I know I was like a kid in a candy store � just loving all the night-time wonders to capture. Something about being up there felt so magical to me that I left with more reasons to return than I went up there with. I can�t say I�m surprised at that, I�m just glad I got the chance to go see some of the wonders for myself. And the fact that the locals in Alaska considered all of the displays I saw to be on the faint side, I just consider that motivation to return. And while I look forward to going again someday, I smile wide knowing that I�ve now seen for myself the spectacular natural wonder known as Alaska�s Northern Lights.
January 23rd, 2013
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