Blast Off!

March 7, 2012 at 5:20 from Matanuska Glacier along Glenn Hwy.  Setting moon and see the Big Dipper?  Cover of Alaska Magazine Nov. 2012 issue.

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Photo Info

Matanuska Glacier
Nikon D700 with Nikon 14mm
2.5 seconds, ƒ/2.8, ISO 800


We no longer actively produce this photo. However, you can still special order this print by just typing in the photo title on our Custom Order Form.

The “Blast Off!” Experience

It was an explosive aurora-filled all-nighter in early March 2012, and I was counting my lucky stars that I was already clocked on my aurora hunt and in position near the Matanuska Glacier (100 miles northeast of Anchorage). The show started with a bang at 8 pm when the energy from a big solar flare blasted earth. It wasn't even dark yet as multi-colored aurora curtains enveloped the deep blue sky and, with only a few small intermissions, the show never let up for the next 10 hours. I danced the moonlit night away surrounded by spectacular 360° mountain and aurora vistas. It was exhilarating.

As is often the case, it was near the break of dawn when I witnessed the best display of the night. The moon was going down between the Chugach Range on the left and the Talkeetna Mountains flanking the right when, at 5:20 am on March 7, 2012, it was "Blast Off!" time for the northern lights. The western skies came alive as a curving purple and green curtain climbed rapidly toward the zenith cascading a powerful pattern of light throughout its path.

Starry note:
This relatively short 2-1/2 second photographic exposure freezes the details of the blast off in motion, including the stars. If you look for the little pinholes of light through the translucent purple curtain, a well-known constellation awaits. Hint: drink deep.

Todd Salat

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Photo Info

Matanuska Glacier
Nikon D700 with Nikon 14mm
2.5 seconds, ƒ/2.8, ISO 800



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