Posts made in Alaska

Mar
22
2013

Another Great Visit to the Northern Lats!

The Northern Lights, Ice Carvings & The Iditarod in Alaska, 20131x570-LtGrey

AK2013_denali1I’ve just gotten back from my 5th Winter shooting trip to Alaska having had, as always, a great time.  The Aurora Borealis, the International Ice Carving Championship, the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, and the usual collection of potpourri and other things Alaskan.

I organized this trip for 6 of my photography friends, not as a true workshop, but more as a guided tour to some of the venues and events that might be a good basis for a workshop next year.   Fairbanks was the main base of ops this time, with a few days in and around Anchorage and along the Iditarod Trail.

Of course, the winter months are best for viewing the Northern Lights.  This is not because of any “season” as some mistakenly think, but primarily due to the far north’s long, dark nights and cold, clear skies.  The aurora phenomenon can and does occur year-round at both earth poles (Aurora Australis at the Southern Pole), but the lack of total darkness at these far-north (or south) latitudes during other times of the year make viewing them essentially impossible (unless, of course, you are on the Space Station).AK2013_aurora1

I’ve been completely addicted to the aurora since I first saw and photographed them in 2001.  They are mezmerizing and one of the most beautiful, yet mystifying, experiences I’ve ever photographed.  AK2013_aurora2

Scientists say that the sunspot activity (at least as related to the earth’s positioning), generally runs in 11-year cycles.  2013 is at, or near, the peak of this cycle (called “SolarMax”).  Sorry for being a little nerdy here, but all of that is just background for my observation that so far, this has been a relatively weak (and  underwhelming) peak.  In any case, the timeframe while we were there, we had pretty sketchy light shows. But, I did manage to capture a few that are maybe worth seeing.  (See blue button at the end of the post for more aurora images.)

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