Journeying to Alaska to shoot the Northern Lights had been on the bucket list for awhile...
I have been fortunate to have visited Alaska twice. The first time was in the summer of 2010, and then we returned last November (2012). What a beautiful, amazing land! Besides the wide open spaces, and plethora of wildlife and gorgeous landscape, something that really fascinated me was the presence of snow and glaciers in the summertime, and lots of green growth and living vegetation in the winter! Surprisingly, we found the long summer light easy to adjust to (and never wanted to go to sleep), and enjoyed the soft, dusky beauty of the six hours of light we had in the winter. Going to Alaska in the winter was a puzzling choice for some, but for me it was a "bucket list" item. The equinoxes have the highest levels of activity, but that wasn't a scheduling option, so we booked tickets for Thanksgiving break and crossed our fingers.
We stayed at lovely Chena Springs Resort (Chena Springs Resort) located just 100 miles from the Arctic Circle (and north of the town of the North Pole) and what a great choice it was! As it turned out the Borealis activity was low to moderate, but with long camera exposures of 30 to 60 seconds and consistent activity for most of the nights we were there, what was somewhat visible to the eye became more pronounced in the camera images. (For a more detailed look at the technique of shooting the Northern Lights, check out this page: How to Photography the Aurora Borealis.) We found ourselves bundled up in multiple layers of cold at midnight, braving gusts of up to 60mph to take one picture at a time (before heading into the nearby laundry room for some warmth). Overall, we had an amazing, albeit pricey, trip. Bucket list item checked!