It has been awhile since I posted to my blog or shared my photography on social media. I did a lot of traveling in 2019 and have wanted to share my new images, but the timing just did not feel right until now. This past March, I traveled to Alaska to photograph the aurora borealis. I flew from Honolulu to Anchorage and connected up to Fairbanks. My best friend who is a non-photographer joined me. He and I can have a blast simply driving to the dump together, so we had a lot of fun. We rented a pickup truck to drive up the Dalton Highway to Wiseman where we rented a cabin for the week. I had not been in any winter conditions since moving to Kauai 5 years ago, but was pleased with how quickly I adapted to -15° Fahrenheit at night. I felt comfortable in my down expedition parka and pants that have been stored in hanging garment bags in my closet. I timed my trip to coincide with the spring equinox for statistically optimum northern lights viewing, as well as the full moon. As it goes on any landscape photography adventure, the sky was cloudy or the aurora was barely visible most of the nights. Luckily, I found some clear skies and incredible aurora activity a few days before the full moon. As beautiful as this image is, it does not fully convey the intensity of what I experienced with the aurora erupting into strange twists and colorful shapes. For a less than 3 minutes, we howled with delight at the sky all alone in the Brooks Range.
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.