Archive for the ‘Northern Lights’ Category

Wrangell – St. Elias National Park and the Northern Lights

Tuesday, March 4th, 2014
Wrangell - St. Elias National Park and the northern lights, Alaska.

Wrangell – St. Elias National Park and the aurora borealis photo, or northern lights, Alaska. Please click on the image above to view a larger version of this photo.

Hey Folks,

We’ve had some pretty great weather here through the month of February, and that means, a great time to get out and look for northern lights. Working on my own project, rather than photo tours, I was able to hit a few destinations I wanted to shoot that are a little more hit and miss; less reliable than some others, but places I wanted to shoot nonetheless.

One of those places is Wrangell – St. Elias National Park and Preserve. Inevitably I’d be in the wrong place at the wrong time in a place slightly larger than the country of Switzerland; I’d head off in one direction and then have fog and haze cloud up the skies, or I’d head off in another direction, and the lights display would be directly behind me. The mountains in front me being what I want to shoot, and the lights behind me. Not a great mix.

But, such is what happens when you have specific ideas in mind; it’s important to be flexible in nature photography, and particularly so when shooting the northern lights, but part of working on a project involves fulfilling your own ideas. Spontaneity is great, and I’m all for it. But I’m also interested in trying to make a photo of something I envision ahead of time, and working toward that.

It’s a rewarding, but often frustrating endeavor. (more…)

Northern lights and motion

Monday, February 24th, 2014
Aurora borealis photo, or northern lights, Alaska.

Trying something different – the northern lights and a little motion. Click on the image above to view a larger version of this photo.

Hey Folks,

Just trying a little something different; hoping to give a little sense of motion to the northern lights the other night.

Not that I’m bored shooting the northern lights, or anything; just trying to see what else might work.

Thoughts, anyone? Works? Awful? WTF?

Cheers

Carl

Shoot Your Passion

Saturday, January 25th, 2014
photo of the aurora borealis over the Wrangell Mountains and Copper River, Wrangell - St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska.

Photo of the aurora borealis over the Wrangell Mountains and Copper River, Wrangell – St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska. Please click on the image above to view a larger version of this photo.

Hey Folks

Shoot Your Passion

If you don’t, who will?

Cheers

Carl

Northern Lights, Arctic Alaska

Sunday, September 1st, 2013
The northern lights over the broken boreal forest of arctic Alaska.

The northern lights over the broken boreal forest of arctic Alaska. Please click the image above to view a larger version of the photo.

Hey Folks,

Sorry for not keeping up with the blog these last few months. Blogging regularly is hard; really hard. Sometimes I’m busy, or behind with my image editing, and sometimes, to put it simply, I’m just not that impassioned about it.

I’d like to be more disciplined about posting regularly, and more inspired to keep up with my own photography more consistently as well as that of others I enjoy, but sometimes, I think, the world of the internet is so overwhelming it’s easier to switch off and disengage than try to keep up and follow everything that flies by. I’ve probably missed hundreds of great posts around the web, I’m sure, but if that’s the worst of my recompense, well, things aren’t too bad I suppose.

Here’s a photo of the northern lights from last March. Ya gotta love the northern lights, no?

Cheers

Carl

Alaska March Madness – Aurora borealis photo

Monday, April 1st, 2013
The northern lights over the boreal forest of sub-arctic Alaska.

(more…)

Night Time Photography – the Test Shot

Thursday, January 31st, 2013
Mt. Sanford, Mt. Drum, the Copper River and the Night Sky.

Mt. Sanford, Mt. Drum, the Copper River and the Night Sky. The moon rise to my left threw a nice soft light on the fog over the Copper River Basin. Click on the image above to view a larger version of this photo.

Hey Folks,

With a host of people heading north this winter/spring to photograph the aurora, I thought it might be of some interest to talk a little about the process of shooting photography at night; I know a lot of people have little experience with that, and it really can be a challenge at times. Particularly on a cold frozen night in Alaska when the northern lights start going crazy overhead.

So, the first thing I’d suggest, if you haven’t already, is read over my 3 part article on shooting the northern lights. There’s a downloadable PDF at the end of that article you can keep for future reference.

So, now that you’re prepared, consider the moment. It’s dark. It’s cold, maybe minus 20 degrees F; cold enough that your hands start to really feel it after a few minutes. It’s dark. You have a headlamp on, and that gives you a little bit of vision out to maybe 30-50 yards or so. After that, you can’t see too much at all. The aurora starts to fire up, and you want to shoot it.

You can’t see your foreground and composition. Its dark. You don’t even know if the foreground is worth shooting. It’s dark. You can’t walk around all over and use your headlamp to see, because (a) there isn’t time, (b) there are other people trying to shoot, (c) you don’t want to track up all the snow by stomping around in it. So setup your test shots. This is probably the most important part of the process. Set up and do your test shots. (more…)

Northern lights in the White Mountains, Alaska

Friday, March 16th, 2012
Aurora borealis, or northern lights, over spruce trees, White Mountains near Fairbanks, Alaska.

Aurora borealis, or northern lights, over spruce trees, White Mountains near Fairbanks, Alaska. Please click on the image above to view a larger version of this photo.

Hey Folks,

Apologies for the long delays in getting back to the blog. I’ve been busy working on a new website (details coming soon enough, I hope), and then the last couple of weeks over in Wrangell – St. Elias National Park for a snowshoe trip, and then a week in central Alaska looking for the aurora borealis.

Now I’m back for a couple of brief days before heading out again to the park for another trip, snowshoeing and photographing. So I won’t be around much at least for another week or so.

This shot was from last night in the White Mountains, just north of Fairbanks. The aurora rocked all night long. We got back in the cabin at a little after 5, then up at 9, breakfast, and on the road back to Anchorage. I was hoping to go back out tonight, but I don’t see that happening at this point. I’m tired.

People tend to underestimate how difficult it can be to shoot the aurora. It means long nights, and often little sleep. And very often, very little good photographic fortune. But sometimes we get lucky.

Hope you enjoy this image of the aurora.

Cheers

Carl

A Photographer’s Guide to SEO & Social Media

Monday, November 28th, 2011

Hey Folks,

What’s your page rank? How many friends do you have? Retweets? Have you shared anything today? What’s your title tag? Incoming links? How’s your website rank?

Now that summer is over, and it’s officially “office season”, you’re probably spending your time doing much of what I’ve been doing lately; website work, photo editing, marketing and promotion via the sticky, tricky and infinite webs we call SEO (Search Engine Optimization) & Social Media (making me wonder what, exactly, Anti-social Media might be).

SEO is a pretty tricky beast. It’s a lot of research, reading, re-reading, web-coding, overhauling, reviewing, more research, re-coding and hair pulling. It’s mostly a lot of trial and error; it’s not a given, for example, that what works for one site is applicable and relevant for another. And it’s almost certain that what works on the article you just carefully absorbed will not work on your website. So, it’s mostly guesswork.

Sometimes the results are what we hoped for, and we pat ourselves on the back, and think how clever we are. Sometimes, despite all out best efforts, the old googles kick our superbly optimized page to the bottom of page 11 on their results; this really hurts when you see some trashy, 1993-styled geocities looking webpage showing up on the first page of rankings. (more…)

Northern lights and fall colors

Wednesday, October 19th, 2011
Northern lights, Wrangell - St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska.

Northern lights, Wrangell - St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska. Please click on the image above to view a larger version of this photo.

Hey Folks,

Here’s another image from a recent sojourn to Wrangell – St. Elias National Park to see and photograph the northern lights, or Aurora borealis. It was a treat to have a moonlit night to shoot by, providing plenty of ambient light to capture the fall colors as well as the northern lights.

This trip was a wild ride. A mad run from Anchorage to the Glennallen area (more…)

Northern lights over Mentasta Mountains

Tuesday, September 27th, 2011
Northern lights, Wrangell - St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska.

Northern lights over the Mentasta Mountains, tundra, boreal forest and a small kettle pond on a moonlit night. Wrangell - St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska. Please click on the image above to view a larger version of this photo.

Hey Folks,

From the recent trip to shoot the northern lights in Wrangell – St. Elias National Park. I’ve never seen clouds move in quite so quickly as they did this particular evening. I’d se up to shoot over in the Glennallen area, and before long, high clouds rolled in from the southwest. In order to keep shooting, I had to figure which would be the best direction to head.

I chose north and east, toward the Nabesna Road, partly because I wanted to be in that area for sunrise. So I spent the evening trying to stay ahead of the lights and catch what images I could along the way. Finally, I made it to where I wanted to be, and then set off to find a composition I wanted.

For any Alaskans out there, or anyone else who’s hiked over muskeg before, you’ll appreciate this one.; try setting out at night time to hike over the muskeg for your photos. I guarantee that WILL kick your a$$.

Then I spent the rest of the evening waiting for the lights to turn on. They popped out a few times, but never really strongly, though they were pretty active. The full moon made for plenty of light for the foreground. I wish I could’ve gotten a little closer to the water’s edge here, but all that long grass in the foreground sits in about 10 inches of water. If the lights had offered something really dazzling, I might have ventured out, but for staying dry and warm seemed a better option given the circumstances.

Finally I fell asleep under a spruce tree, woke up to a clouded sky, and stumbled my way backward camp and my superwarm, absolutely amazing, Western Mountaineering Lynx sleeping bag. life was good. I didn’t get up for sunrise.

Cheers

Carl