Flow

Flow was photographed by the Anchorage International Airport on March 10, 2011 at 8:45 pm.  Northern lights, Mt. Susitna (Sleeping Lady)

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The “Flow” Experience

The sun was overflowing with twisted magnetized gases and suddenly, out of a sunspot, a CME (coronal mass ejection) erupted billions of tons of pure energy into space. Some of this solar flare was geoeffective (earth directed) and on March 10, 2011 a gust of solar wind slammed into us.

Far below in Alaska I witnessed the dynamic interplay of forces from a windy Pt. Woronzof bluff near the Anchorage International Airport. I had broken a dinner date with my wife because online the scientific websites that monitor real-time magnetic disturbances and solar wind speed were bouncing like crazy. The Kp index, a 1-to-10 number summarizing geomagnetic activity, was in the red!

I clocked on at 8 pm and was scanning the sunset when a faint aurora flicker caught my eye over Pt. McKenzie to the northwest. It was not even dark yet! I quickly got my tripods set up and by 8:30 pm the auroras were dancing over Mt. Susitna, the Sleeping Lady. I had been envisioning this shot for two decades.

A half moon illuminated the snow on the Lady while the twilight of a distant sunset burnt in a deep orange glow. The northern lights were a lively shade of green that stretched into tall, barely detectable, rays of magenta. Ice pans made a grinding sound as they slowly rode the incoming tide into the Cook Inlet. From water-to-sky everything was in constant movement including the numerous flights arriving and departing the airport. Talk about a state of "Flow."

When I thought it could not get any better it did; my wife showed up out at the Point with a warm take-out dinner…. the night had become a dream date!

Todd Salat

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.

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Photo Info

Anchorage, AK
Nikon D700 with Nikon 28mm/ f1.4D
2.5 seconds, ƒ/1.6, ISO 800



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