Fish On

Fish On

The “Fish On” Experience

Fish On! That's what I felt like yelling when this big, emerald green aurora cleared the whitecaps of the moonlit Alaska Range and leapt into the deep blue starry skies above. It wiggled and thrashed about as the aurora performed aerial acrobatics that would have impressed any angler!

Finding the fishing hole was a discovery itself. It was March and I was exploring the gravelly Denali Highway east of Cantwell when I came upon a sign: "Winter Road Maintenance Ends Here." Snowmachine and truck traffic had packed the snow fairly well so I locked in the 4WD to avoid fishtailing and kept on going. I found an inviting spot where the trees thinned (didn’t want to get a snag), baited up with my favorite lenses, cast out the tripods and then did what fisherman do, waited patiently…

The first couple nights I had several nibbles and one decent bite but none of them were keepas. But on the third night a trophy-sized aurora struck and I set the hook. Fish On!

I gripped my camera firmly as I opened up the f-stop then lengthened the exposure time to give the aurora some line. Play 'em. Grab the net! My tackle moaned and groaned in the cold weather but held tight and in the end it took three, slightly overlapping, 12-second exposures to get the whole thing into the boat (my first aurora panoramic stitch job).

Did I capture it? Nah, the aurora has way too much energy for that action. I like to think in more sporting terms of "preserving the moment." It was catch and release, and it fed me well.



This photo is no longer available for purchase.

Denali Highway, Alaska
Nikon D80 with Nikkor 17-35mm/f2.8
15 seconds, ƒ/f/2.8, ISO 400

AuroraHunter Gallery

  • Alaska Gold
  • Alaska Magic
  • Alyeska Aglow
  • Blast Off!
  • Blue Wonder
  • Braids of Light
  • Cathedral of Light
  • Crescendo
  • Denali Dance
  • Denali Fireweed
  • Denali North
  • Denali North - Color
  • Epic Flight
  • First Light
  • Fish Wheelin'
  • Galaxias
  • Goddess of Dawn
  • Heaven and Earth
  • I Breathe Aurora
  • Kaleidoscope
  • Kennecott Treasures
  • Legendary Lady
  • Morning Glory
  • Mountain Mojo
  • Mystic Mascot
  • Patriot Bear
  • Pilot's Dream
  • Placid Beauty
  • Sky Blue Pink
  • The Legend
  • Turnagain Nights
  • Valley of Light
  • Whirled View
  • Winter's End