We have just returned from a wonderful Thanksgiving visit with our daughter’s family in Alaska- our first trip there in winter (I know it is technically fall, but it was WINTER there!). There was no snow, but the ground and many of the trees were covered with icy hoar frost. Daylight was limited, and the weather averaged in the low teens. Brrrr!
I was hoping to see the northern lights, but Caitlin had warned me that most nights had cloud covered skies, which blocked the view. I think it was the second morning we were there that she woke us up to tell us that she could see the aurora from the front deck. We staggered sleepily outside (it was not really that early- 7 a.m.- but it was dark, of course), and, after a few minutes of allowing our eyes to be accustomed to the darkness, we were treated to the sight of a faint aurora dancing around the dark skies. I grabbed my camera and set up the tripod for a long exposure. I hadn’t prepared for this and didn’t think anything was showing up on the LCD monitor. Caitlin offered to drive us a few miles down the road toward the state park, where she thought we would be able to see more. We pulled over in a likely spot, but alas, we could only see stars. I set up the tripod anyway and took three 15 second exposures anyway, stopping when I kept hearing rustling in the bushes. It wasn’t until I looked at the images on the computer that I realized that there was indeed a very small part of the aurora visible. My images were underexposed at 15 seconds- perhaps I needed to increase ISO or use a longer exposure. Next time, I will be more prepared!
Below is my favorite view, although the aurora is mini. This was taken from a pullout on the road.