As long as I’ve lived in Alaska I have tried and struggled to take a decent picture of the aurora. Part of my struggle, well, most of it, is my equipment. I have a Canon EOS Rebel that’s several years old and no good night lens for it. Camera bodies are expensive and lenses even more so. I read tutorials and tried and tried and nothing I captured was near as beautiful as what I could see.
One of my favorite sites has been the Alaska Aurora Cam– which showed in perfect deal what I could see but not capture myself. This past week they announced their very last photography workshop and aurora chasing trip and so I put my nerves aside and signed up knowing this might be my last chance to get a good picture of the aurora.
I opted to rent a full kit from them to give myself a better chance and as we drove up north from Fairbanks we had a photography class on the best settings to get a good picture of the northern lights. I definitely learned a lot and Ronn and Marketa were great at showing us and answering all our questions. I can’t believe I didn’t think to put a two-second timer on my own camera to eliminate the shutter flutter that I always get.
Finally, the aurora shyly made an appearance behind some light clouds and we were all quiet except for the sound of the shutters clicking and a few oohs and ahhs as we watched it dance across the sky. One of the couples in the tour group surprised us all by proposing to his girlfriend under the green-lit sky – seriously, how romantic and beautiful is that?
I had a wonderful time and best of all, now I have some pictures that I took myself, to always remember the nights I lived under the northern lights.
If you want to go, the recommendation is usually fall or spring. Fall tends to be cloudier but can be nice because the lakes and rivers aren’t frozen over yet, while the spring tends to be colder but clearer.