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13 March 2016 / leggypeggy

A starter pack for the aurora—more soon

Northern Lights

Northern Lights in Wiseman

We’ve had more than a week of amazing nights in northern Alaska, but only one that delivered incredible views of the aurora borealis (Northern Lights).

I’m still reeling from the experience, which was in Coldfoot, about 250 miles north of Fairbanks. There really aren’t any words to describe the aurora—only photos. And even they don’t do it justice.

Interestingly, to the naked eye, the aurora looks mostly white. For the most part, it’s hard to see the depth and variety of colours. Only the camera picks up the nuances and, even then, not always.

I’m sharing two pics here and will post more as soon as I have had a chance to go through what I have. I’m still gobsmacked by the whole experience.

These pics are from a place called Wiseman, Alaska. They aren’t in focus (none of my pics are), but they give you an idea of what we saw.

Northern Lights

Northern Lights out of focus

66 Comments

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  1. Andrew Petcher / Mar 13 2016 7:37 pm

    What an experience! I saw them on a visit to Iceland a couple of years ago. Funny about that camera thing, I had exactly the same experience, my pictures were way better than what I saw with the naked eye!

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Mar 13 2016 7:42 pm

      Extraordinary how the camera sees what we cannot. I’m still so impressed.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. poshbirdy / Mar 13 2016 7:38 pm

    am SO envious but looking forward to seeing more. Interesting what you say about the colours – I’ve never heard that before

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Mar 13 2016 7:42 pm

      Amazing what the camera can see that we cannot.

      Like

  3. gerard oosterman / Mar 13 2016 7:42 pm

    That’s a fantastic experience. Look forward to more. Here, I would by happy with any light. It is mainly lights off after 9pm. I did detect a Venetian blind moving in Barton.

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Mar 13 2016 7:44 pm

      Oh, too funny, a mobile Venetian blind in Barton. Give me the address. 🙂

      Like

  4. Jane / Mar 13 2016 7:59 pm

    What an amazing experience! I’d be pretty chuffed to get shots as good as these. Looking forward to more. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Joanne T Ferguson / Mar 13 2016 8:26 pm

    AMAZING and what an extraordinary experience; blurry photos or not Peggy! Thanks for sharing and brightening my day!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. wfdec / Mar 13 2016 9:13 pm

    So who’s a lucky little vegemite then? It really must be almost beyond belief. Here’s a song for you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Mar 14 2016 12:56 pm

      I’m a very lucky little vegemite. Thanks for the song. 🙂

      Like

  7. Dorothy / Mar 13 2016 9:52 pm

    Peggy your first photo looks like a figure on the left , the red and green with thin black lines on it even look a bit like tartan. What amazing images Must have looked even better to see with your own eyes. I look forward to more. Dorothy

    dorothysstories.wordpress.com

    >

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Mar 14 2016 12:57 pm

      It’s spellbinding. I feel so lucky to have seen such a display.

      Like

  8. mopana / Mar 13 2016 9:59 pm

    You were lucky to see aurora borealis. I hope to have your luck this autumn when I will go to Norway to see this beautiful, amazing phenomenon. I understand that it can’t be seen all the time.
    Your post made me to want to be there right now 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Worlds Biggest Fridge Magnet / Mar 13 2016 10:05 pm

    The lights were viewable over Anglesey (or somewhere like that) last week. Quite amazing!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Pupazzovi / Mar 13 2016 10:14 pm

    Bellissime fotografie!
    Deve essere stata una belissima esperienza

    Liked by 1 person

  11. pagedogs / Mar 13 2016 10:54 pm

    I’m so happy that you got to see them. Quite an experience, eh? They can be quite colorful to the naked eye, mostly green but some reddish pink, too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Mar 14 2016 12:59 pm

      I was lucky to see some pink. Actually the camera saw more pink than I did.

      Like

  12. Lynz Real Cooking / Mar 13 2016 11:34 pm

    such an amazing experience Peggy, thanks so much for sharing it with us!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Midwestern Plant Girl / Mar 13 2016 11:51 pm

    It is exciting to see what your camera captures while you are trying to watch. I’ve heard this about the lights.
    I’ve only experienced them in upper Peninsula Michigan. I bet they’re better farther north.

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Mar 14 2016 1:00 pm

      Not sure that you need to be farther north, but it helps to have little or no competing light.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. sidilbradipo1 / Mar 14 2016 12:17 am

    Can’t believe! These northern lights are breathtaking ❤
    Love your shots!
    What a wonderful experience 😛
    Ciao
    Sid

    Liked by 1 person

  15. spearfruit / Mar 14 2016 1:30 am

    Amazing, very cool. I can only imagine this experience! Thanks Peggy for sharing. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  16. dfolstad58 / Mar 14 2016 1:56 am

    Hard to photograph with justice, you did well.

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Mar 14 2016 6:21 pm

      Thanks. It took a couple of nights to figure it out.

      Like

  17. Rashminotes / Mar 14 2016 2:10 am

    Must have been fascinating Peggy! thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. thatmishmash / Mar 14 2016 2:11 am

    Looks so amazing . You are so lucky and thank you for sharing these pictures.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Curt Mekemson / Mar 14 2016 4:43 am

    Wiseman is exactly where I started my backpack trek from, Peggy. Most folks won’t grasp how close to the edge of the world you were. 🙂 –Curt

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Mar 14 2016 6:23 pm

      Yes, Curt, is does seem like the edge of the world. Apparently only 1 per cent of visitors to Alaska make it that far north.

      Like

  20. White House Red Door / Mar 14 2016 5:29 am

    Thank you for sharing, Peggy! The Northern Lights are definitely on my list of things to experience. I love that you were “gobsmacked” by the sight!

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Carol Ferenc / Mar 14 2016 9:38 am

    It’s hard to photograph the Northern Lights, but they are incredible to see. Glad you had that experience, Peggy.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. susan@marsha'sbungalow / Mar 14 2016 10:27 am

    Amazing. I saw them once, very near to where you are now – just north of the Yukon River. Enjoy the wonder.

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Mar 14 2016 6:25 pm

      You’ve been very lucky too. I’m so glad you’ve enjoyed the experience.

      Liked by 1 person

  23. Sy S. / Mar 14 2016 12:16 pm

    LeggyPeggy, glad that you have seen the Northern Lights, a memorable experience.

    I tried to post prior to you leaving for Coldfoot and some advice on photographing the Northern Lights. However, this is for people who are planning on seeing this beautiful experience in their future travels. First, research on the Internet regarding photographing this event. Basically, you need a good solid tripod, ground vibration under the tripod and most importantly the wind. That is because you need to use the timer feature and a good camera helps a lot… The shutter needs to remain open for 3,5 and up to 30 seconds per image.

    Sy S.

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Mar 14 2016 6:27 pm

      Hi Sy, I also did a lot of reading before trying to take pics. I discovered that my camera needed 15 seconds to get a good shot. As you can imagine, there was a lot of trial and error. 🙂

      Like

  24. Stephanae V. McCoy / Mar 14 2016 12:41 pm

    How wonderful to be able to experience the Northern Lights in person. It’s always been one of those things that have fascinated me. Looking forward to seeing more pictures.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. thegreyeye / Mar 15 2016 6:44 am

    Oh, so you gotta see it 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  26. simpletravelourway / Mar 16 2016 3:56 am

    We stayed in a mountain cabin outside Lake Louise in Alberta, Canada. No indoor plumbing or electricity. I got up in the middle of the night and stumbled my way to the outhouse. All of a sudden I looked up and saw the Northern Lights! Wow! Hadn’t expected that! That took my breath away.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Ray / Mar 18 2016 4:35 am

    Night photography is extremely difficult to capture, so I can only imagine how difficult it must have been trying to capture the Northern Lights. Great photos so far!

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Mar 18 2016 2:40 pm

      Thanks Ray. Luckily my photos got better. 🙂

      Like

  28. mommermom / Mar 18 2016 1:59 pm

    What an amazing experience you had! It must be extremely difficult to express the excitement of the entire experience. I look forward to seeing some more pictures. I’m certain these don’t even come close to capturing what you saw there.

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Mar 18 2016 2:41 pm

      You’ve got that right. It’s very hard to find the words to explain the excitement or the vision.

      Like

  29. tony / Mar 22 2016 8:13 pm

    Two wonderful photos Peggy and great to see out in the wilderness. Surprisingly, in the winter I spent in Winnipeg many years ago, we saw the Northern Lights most nights in winter, but they weren’t as spectacular in the lights of the city. I’m envious!

    Regards Tony
    http://breadtagsagas.com/

    Liked by 2 people

    • leggypeggy / Mar 23 2016 1:44 am

      We saw them from Fairbanks on a few nights but, as you said, not so impressive when competing with the city lights.

      Like

  30. Scott Levine / Aug 18 2016 8:11 am

    Wow. These are great photos. I’ve never seen the aurora, but hope to some day. Thanks for sharing them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Aug 18 2016 2:39 pm

      My pleasure. I hope you get to see the aurora soon. It really is breathtaking.

      Like

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