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Auroras curl their way above the Brooks Range of northern Alaska as a full moon pendant illuminates the fresh snowfield on October 8, 2017 at 1:17 am.
Traveling to the Brooks Range is like going to another world, so stark and so raw. I love aurora hunting up here, especially when I need a good dose of solitude. I’m 700 miles away from the creature comforts of my Anchorage home riding out an October snowstorm in my truck camper. The heater is on and my shelter is cozy.
Feeling like a modern day caveman, I couldn’t get much more alone. The nearest regular cell phone service is 150 miles north in Prudhoe Bay/Deadhorse and the nearest gas station is in Coldfoot, 80 hard-earned miles south of here. Dodging potholes along the Haul Road/Dalton Highway has been a challenge and now it is reward time.
The 36-hour snowstorm is finally over and what was brown tundra a day or two ago is now blanketed in white. As darkness falls the full moon rises illuminating the beautiful winter wonderland before me. An eerie fog bank threatens to cloak everything as it descends into the valley but fortunately I’m able to literally rise above it.
I notice a faint green band forming which excites me to no end. This is why I’m here - to hunt auroras. I lock ‘n load two different cameras as the green light moves overhead, shape-shifting into strange & bizarre patterns. I keep shooting hoping that one shot, just one, has that certain special look to it. I think of my wife putting in a request for a tall and narrow photo as the auroras start to stream in rare tight and vertical curls. ”Braids of Light” fall from the stars of Cassiopeia, the Queen’s Chair, and at that moment everything is right in the world.
Brooks Range of Northern Alaska
Nikon D800E with Nikkor 14mm/f2.8
3 seconds, ƒ/3.5, ISO 2500