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It was September in the Last Frontier and many Alaskans were oiling up their guns and heading out in search of moose and caribou to fill their freezers with. For three days my wife & I tagged along on a moose hunt with our "mountain buddies" and ate fresh moose back-straps around a campfire while watching the northern lights dance across the autumn skies. Delicious memories but when the Harvest Moon started coming up it was time to get serious about our hunt…cameras locked and loaded.
The skies were clear and I was in hot pursuit of a reflection shot in Lake Louise country (west of Glennallen). Every waterhole was a potential target, wind willing, and a northerly viewing angle was essential. I set my sights on Elbow Lake and the dry shoreline grass glowing in the full moonlight pulled me in deeper. Sowing the seeds of the soul–harvest time!
The water was like glass on the first night but in ten hours only one minor aurora blip was spotted. The wind whipped up on the second night, which pretty much ruins the reflection concept (admittingly a bit disappointing), so I took a deep breath and remembered my friend's favorite saying, "It's all about the hunt." Patience.
At 12:30am inspiration came a knocking as a green band developed to the northeast so I ran to my spot and started shooting–open fire! For the next hour and a half the aurora danced and swirled to its own beat. Waves of energy would come and go, as did the wind. But during one critical juncture the lake was calm enough to reflect the aurora as it curled and intensely wrapped around itself. This was the moment when "Harvest Hunt" was added to the game bag.
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Nikon D700 with Nikon 17-35mm
4 seconds, ƒ/2.8, ISO 800