My Latest Upcountry Aurora Trip – Day One

After two nights of photographing the northern lights above the city I decided to go up country, so I packed up the truck and headed out last Thursday.

Driving north through Wasilla I saw this Sundog light up, courtesy of a little row of (ice?) clouds. I pulled right into a parking lot to get this shot, about a block away from the Mug Shot Saloon (no I didn’t go inside). Up the road I saw another sundog on the other side of the sun but couldn’t find a place to stop. I got the one though, and took this as a sign that my photo trip would be fruitfull 

IMGP6248 a Wasilla Sundog

By the time I got to Broad Pass at mile 200 it was time for a break. I am very familiar with this area having done a couple highway projects here, and I know the wind is usually blowing a steady 20-30mph. This night was nearly dead calm, wow! So I pulled off to the far edge of a truck turnout and settled in for darkness, readying my camera gear.

The show started around 11:30 with some wisps of light, then a classic green band arcing across the northern sky.

IMGP6263 a

I had set up for a panorama, and just as I took the first pano shot I heard a truck coming from the south, so I waited for it to get near so I could see if I could catch it in the 15 second exposure. And here it is…

IMGP6264 a Trucklights+Aurora Band

The night proceeded to light up with the aurora dancing, shooting, swirling and flying all across the sky.IMGP6261 a

It was actually light enough I could see my cameras for a change, and the landscape all around! What a show!

I caught another truck wizzing by at 70mph, as the solar wind particles (mostly protons) hit the magetosphere some 55 miles above me. They then completing their 93 million mile journey since being blasted from the sun at up to 2,000 times the speed of a high powered bullet. The lights of the tuck just yards away and the Aurora lights of course hit my camera’s sensor at precisely the same time, don’t ya just love that Theory of Relativity!!

IMGP6280 a Trucklights+Aurora

This show lasted about 25 minutes, then went into a very different mode of giant flashes of light at seemingly random locations, pulsating like I was looking up from inside a giant drum that the Aurora god was playing. This is the second time I have seen this, no way to photograph it, you just have to be there!

A couple more photos from this show…

IMGP6257 a
 

IMGP6259 a

Oh and that panorama, here it is…

Pan 63-65 a 850

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20 Responses to My Latest Upcountry Aurora Trip – Day One

  1. Sue says:

    So Beautiful what wonderful pictureThank you for showing usTake careSue

  2. Barb says:

    Amazing, amazing, amazing. I really will have to come to Alaska next winter to witness these incredible lights. The sundog was a marvellous start to the journey. 🙂
    What a great getaway so far!
    Hug hugs from the city with boring skies 🙂
     

  3. Tani says:

    I feel so fortunate that I have a friend up there to share this phenomenal phenomena.Great work here Steve.

  4. Cat says:

    will you adopt me so I can come on these photo safaris with you? LOL!

  5. brettskib says:

    Hey there Steve wow you certainly have a night sky view that I would love enjoy , you are a very lucky man ,So no droughts for you just a heap of snow I gather hoe the spring thaw comes soon .Now I know why they say Alaska is so wonderful hope to get there one day . Idaho hey wow you must have led a very interesting light power to you and yours my friend may the night sky always be so bright for you . Living in the Subtropics of Australia we don\’t get many sites that even come any where near this but I believe Antarctica and the Aura Australis is a wonder have you seen it my friend ,Cheers for now Brett will be back again to check out your camera work its just amazing!! 🙂

  6. Vieille Ourse says:

    Restless Steve …. up country you drove once more … collecting such marvelous pictures again … Thanks so much my Boreal Friend.
     
    P.S. If you ever need anyone to carry the camera, or to open the door of the truck, Cat or myself could help you !!! LOL !!!!

  7. Lynn says:

    Beautiful photo\’s as usual,
    best wishes for ur week…Thanks for sharing ur talent…Lynn

  8. Rambling says:

    you have to know without a doubt I love this.  I could never see it otherwise.  🙂

  9. Patsy says:

    Beautiful Shots Steve as usual. Just thought I would tell you I do know what a sun dog is? Surprised? LOL My grandmother taught me about them and how the weather would be if I saw one. Take care and thanks again for sharing.

  10. Sherry says:

    I love these Steve. How fortunate you are to be able to see this and how lucky we are that you area wonderful photographer.
    Hugs
    Sherry

  11. Nozee says:

    another natural wonder captured on "film"brilliantly done!a 1,000,000 thanks for sharing it with us other mortals> SNOOP

  12. Carol says:

    I can\’t even imagine what it must be like to be surrounded with that beautiul show. The photos are so awesome Steve.

  13. Aimee says:

    wicked…and i loev the cars passing by too…
    *~*   :o) if you don’t have a smile to give today…  :o) I will give you one of mine…  :o)   *~*

  14. Chez says:

    Wonderful shots !I imagine ghosts, creatures alive dancing in the air, fairies…….It could be a dream, it could be a nigthmare, but it\’s reality !!!!!I\’m breathless, thank you Steve.Bye, Ika

  15. Sheila says:

    Steve, These are the most beautiful photographs I have seen ever of the Northern lights, not just because they are something beyond my reach, but because I have waited and watched, as you went after your dream and realized it after so much hard work and effort.  Many people look at other\’s art as merely a thing of beauty. I hope that those who view your photographs here, see it also for it\’s true worth…the energy, the time, the effort, the persistance, the foritude and the generosity it takes to share all of that wrapped in window on a monitor.
    I may ruffle some feathers here by saying that any "monkey" with the right equipment could do it too.  But you are the "monkey" that did! and for that I applaud you and will continue cheering you on, from my warm and sunny climes,sending my sincere thanks along with an ocean wave and a breeze of a kiss!

  16. Sheila says:

    ahem!   Fortitude (chuckling…I got so carried away….)

  17. Isabelle says:

    AMAZING!!!!!!
     
    Take care,
    Isa

  18. JaeElle says:

    All I can say is:  WOW!  WOW!  WOW!   I\’ve never seen anything like it.  I\’m so greatful you share your pictures with us.  Thank you, Steve.  You are an awesome photogragher!

  19. PEP says:

    Bravo!!!

  20. Jim says:

    Just when one thinks that you can\’t get any better you go and add in car trails.  Your arora shots are getting more and more amazing each time.  These are so clear and crisp.  Great shots.

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