Aurora Borealis, Fairbanks, Alaska 2014 Trip Report

By Terry Eggers on Sep 05, 2014

Each Aurora Borealis photo tour—as with all trips to view and photograph the northern lights—yields a jackpot of different colors and shapes. Our 2014 trip proved to be a wealth of variety. For our first night we had clear conditions and a strong forecast for aurora activity. We traveled north about 30 miles out of Fairbanks, Alaska—and the forecast proved to be correct. We were treated to some very intense colors of green, red and yellow dancing through the sky. Patience is the name of the game for this adventure! The lights started low in the northern sky well after midnight and continued for over an hour, moving 180 degrees across the sky. We worked with all our participants making sure everyone had the camera settings—and the results to show for the evening.

We next moved to Chena Hot Springs. On two nights we left the hot springs at 10 PM and traveled to the mountain top and, on one of the two nights, we had the opportunity to photograph the northern lights. The location is particularly great for images because we can include a large number of trees when creating compositions of the auroras. This was the case this year. We listened to the crackle of the aurora borealis as we captured the brilliant red and green colors dancing across the sky.

Back in Fairbanks, we turned our attention during the days to sled dog racing. This year we were treated to the Junior Championships held in North Pole, Alaska and the chance to photograph the young mushers proved to be very rewarding. The junior mushers ranged in age from two year olds to high school aged participants, with the race course adjusted in size by age. It was a great photo experience. What’s better than kids and dogs!

At night we photographed at the 2014 World Ice Art Championships. Fantastical carved sculptures of ice were lit with colored lights—the resulting photography can be spectacular. This year, both the single block and multi blocks of ice had some special entries of all shapes, sizes, themes and colors. Later each night after photographing at the ice championships we traveled to aurora viewing areas. A highlight was working with light painting techniques. We used several subjects for our light painting, including trees and an old red shack. The northern lights streaming up behind the shack and the trees worked especially well!