Denali Highway Aurora 1

Denali Highway Aurora 1

I just returned from almost 2 weeks in Alaska and had fabulous weather the entire trip. In fact, it was so nice that shooting conditions were less than ideal because there were no clouds in the sky for landscape or wildlife photography. The few times that there were sunrise/sunset clouds were on the days that I was driving long distances and did not have time to shoot. Fortunately, I made the most of what was available to me and that included photographing a beautiful appearance of the aurora borealis. Some friends of mine in Talkeetna told me the northern lights were out very late one night while I was sleeping, so I checked the aurora forecast the next day on spaceweather.com and decided to stay up that night to shoot. Though I was getting over a cold and exhausted from lousy travel sleep, I drove up the Denali Highway and stayed up until 3 am. Fortunately, the lights made an appearance and were at their best around 1 am. I set my camera on ISO 1600 and used my Carl Zeiss 35mm f2 lens set at f2.8 and 12 seconds to record this image. The aurora was more interesting off to the left of the frame, but I really liked these trees to make the entire composition, rather than just an aurora picture of the sky.

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10 thoughts on “Denali Highway Aurora 1

  1. Very well done! I experienced seeing my first Aurora Borealis one evening with David, and I was in awe!! It was a soft, subtle light show, but well worth seeing. The trees do make a difference, I agree. 🙂

  2. Hey, Jena. I took this the night after you saw the aurora from your home. It was pretty subtle most of the night, but it flared up a few times yielding a few nice images. Good luck next time!

  3. The trees certainly add to the effect – lovely frame! What camera body were you using?

  4. Jon,
    Great encounter and I like the trees too. Would you be open to sending me the RAW file to examine? I’d like to check out the quality of that lens and compare with some others.

  5. Thanks Sandesh & Patrick!

    Sandesh-I used my Canon 5DmkII body for this image and all of my landscape photography. I use a 7D for my wildlife images.

    Patrick-I’ll email you the RAW file. I probably pushed the dof too much at f2.8 by getting too close to the trees. The trees were sharper at f4, but longer shutter speed. I still like the overall composition.

  6. Amazing shot, I´m envious. Hope next year I will get a Northern light in Norway.

  7. Wow, that is beautiful! I’d have to say the aurora lights are #1 on my “photography bucket list”…especially after seeing this shot.

  8. Hi Jon,
    Sometimes you are very lucky when I’m not with you…
    Very good shot, I like.

  9. Beautiful image, Jon. Thanks for the technical detail. (Like Greg, the aurora is on my bucket list–to see and perhaps to photograph.)

  10. This is definitely on my bucket-list too! What a splendid sight!

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