Breathtaking auroras rise above the clouds and spread their wings in the Alaska Range on November 4, 2021 at 2:45 am. This whole night was phenomenal and somehow unlike any aurora experience I’ve ever had. I suppose that’s why I love doing this so much, every show is different.
The auroras kicked in just after 8 pm, which was remarkably early and the result of a fresh impact from a CME (Coronal Mass Ejection) emitted from the sun. I photographed on & off for hours as the northern lights battled the clouds for dominance of the skyway. At around 2:30 am, I was in my camper eating lunch when I noticed the clouds were rapidly parting and that I had better get a move on it! By now I ‘d discovered my favorite foreground which centered on a little gap in the spruce trees that felt like a gateway to something special. As the auroras amped up into some very exciting shape-shifting maneuvers I was delighted to see that my 3-second camera exposures were revealing rose-colored tints. I shot like crazy during this 20-minute window while trying to preserve the jaw-dropping sights I was experiencing.
Amidst some wonderfully bizarre & wild looking imagery, this shot rose above the others and looked like an Angel, a Phoenix, or perhaps Pegasus the winged horse. I love the delicate yet strong wings fanning outward from the zenith overhead, and the tall spruce trees appear to be pointing at this amazing display of power. Two open clusters grace the starfield - the Hyades & Pleiades - the birthplace of stars. Is it me, or do those clouds resemble a cute baby chick (or quail) scurrying along? This image speaks to me, and these are my impressions. No two people see the exact same thing in an aurora image, so let your imagination run free.
Nikon D850 with 14mm
3s, ƒ/2.0, ISO 3200