This was one hell of a night of shooting. Paul Weeks and I landed in Fairbanks at 3:30AM. Slept in the airport and waited for our Xterra rental. Yes I rent the same vehicle as I own at home, I'm weird. I know the thing works!
Anyways, after loading up we were headed out of Fairbanks as fast as possible, until we saw Denny's. After a huge breakfast we were back on the road headed a few hundred miles south to Denali National Park, where we hoped to catch the Northern Lights. Hoped...
We arrived at Denali at 2PM, the sun was starting to set already as it was November.
Strapping our snowshoes on we headed for the summit of a nearby peak to shoot sunset. No light, but clear skies... were good to go for the Aurora or so we think.
5PM it's completely dark. The temps start to drop. Really drop. We didn't know much much, but after 3 hours there was zip zero aurora activity. We snowshoed the 7 miles back to the Xterra and turned the thing on.
It started with no issue. You actually plug the cars into an outlet at the park so the battery stays warm. The temperature said -25 degrees F. Great! Love it. We did jumping jacks and ran in place for an hour.
Still no aurora. It's now 10PM. I had the idea to drive all the way back, North of Fairbanks and straight into the Arctic Circle 300 miles back the way we came.
We got some music on and got to it. By the time we were within 100 miles of the Arctic Circle the lights started to flair up. We were in the middle of nowhere and snowshoed out into the woods.
By that time they were really kicking in. I'd say level 5-6. For the next hour we shot one of the best displays I've seen, at least at that time 2 years ago. After that hour, they went away, not to be seen for another 3 days.
9 hours of driving, 10 miles of hiking, we did get Denny's and a few RAW files out of it;)