Aurora Borealis - October 6, 2015 - Planetary Alignment!

Aurora Borealis – October 6, 2015 – Planetary Alignment!

I woke up early to photograph a cool planetary alignment of Venus, Mars, and Jupiter with a quarter moon. I lucked out because the aurora was still going strong at 4:30 am! We were also fortunate enough to have clear skies, something that was not too common last autumn. Twilight started to take the sky, but not before we got . . . read more

Hike up Nome Creek

Hike up Nome Creek

I took a little 12 mile ridge hike at Nome Creek in the White Mountains in early September of 2015. I love the drive to this area. Turning north onto US Creek Road off of the Steese Highway affords some awesome, open views of the surrounding hills. A trail begins at the Mt. Prindle campground following Nome Creek. It’s one . . . read more

Aurora Borealis - September 11, 2015

Aurora Borealis – September 11, 2015

The first impressive aurora borealis display I witnessed this season was shortly after midnight on September 11. It broke up fairly quickly, becoming diffuse, but it was brilliant for about 10 minutes. There were some great crimson colors on the bottom of the main band. This color comes from lower altitude nitrogen and is often difficult to catch because of . . . read more

Summer - Denali National Park

Summer – Denali National Park

I never get to Denali National Park as often as I should, especially since I live only 2 hours away. Friend or family visits are an awesome excuse to hit the park, since it is, or should be on everyone’s bucket list. It had also been 2 1/2 years since I’ve seen my mom, so I was pretty excited when . . . read more

Castner Glacier for the 4th of July

Castner Glacier for the 4th of July

I went out for a weekend of hiking in solitude in the Alaska Range. I walked up the south side of Castner Creek to the Glacier toe. Gaining the ice via rocky moraine yields thick vegetation. The temps were nice, a few showers, but nothing drenching. I was surprised how easy the hiking was for the most part. The debris . . . read more

Day at Rainbow Ridge

Day at Rainbow Ridge

I can definitely say now that Rainbow Ridge is as steep as it looks from the road below. I drove down on Saturday, June 6 with the hope of hiking to the top of Rainbow Mountain. But, there had been a lot of fresh snow the week before above 5000 feet elevation, so I scratched that plan pretty fast. I’m . . . read more

Two nights on the Tors trail

Two nights on the Tors trail

I’m awakened in the night by a shiver. I had somehow found my way deep in my sleeping bag, sticking my nose toward the tiny cinched opening above me for fresh air. I shift to roll on my side and the condensation soaked liner smears against my face. “How long have I been asleep? It’s not morning yet, is it?” . . . read more

Photo of the Week - "Northern Lights Spiral"

Photo of the Week – “Northern Lights Spiral”

The northern lights in a spiral, from the display on February 1st, 2015. You can read about and see more photos from that night there if you like. Technical notes I bumped the aperture up a bit from the lowest f/2.8 to avoid vignetting at the corners. Vignetting tends to get bad on this lens when I have it fully . . . read more

Winter at Angel Rocks

Winter at Angel Rocks

I wanted to share some photos from a dayhike Jenn and I took this winter at Angel Rocks. I’ve hiked Angel Rocks in early spring, summer, and fall, and walked out one dark night to shoot aurora, but I had yet to be there in winter when the light is often dream-like. We arrived at the trailhead around 2:30 pm, . . . read more

Photo of the Week -- "4 Trees in the Light"

Photo of the Week — “4 Trees in the Light”

The light was excellent in the early afternoon as the sun hung right over the hills behind us. We were walking through beautiful taiga for a while, but to me something seemed to stand out about these small black spruce. If you haven’t already realized, I absolutely love these boreal forests. The 4 trees in the foreground really stood out, . . . read more

Castner Creek to Castner Glacier

Castner Creek to Castner Glacier

I don’t usually start venturing into the Alaska Range until March. The temperature becomes a bit nicer, the snow is deeper and more supportive, and we have much longer days. But, Jenn decided to visit in early February, so I figured we could do a little touring and take in some sights around the Castner Glacier. During her summer visit, . . . read more

Northern Lights - February 1st, 2015

Northern Lights – February 1st, 2015

Jenn and I managed to do a bit of aurora watching in mild(er) temperatures early in the morning on February 1st. I had been keeping my eye on the real-time aurora cameras, and the northern lights seemed to be turning off and on like a three-year-old playing with a light switch*. It would only dance for a few minutes before . . . read more

Cold, Ester Dome, Chena Lake, and Tors

Cold, Ester Dome, Chena Lake, and Tors

My bestest friend, Jenn from New Hampshire just made her second visit to Fairbanks, this time braving the bitter winter temps in hopes of seeing the aurora. After I picked her up at the airport, we stopped by the University for a photo to document her introduction to the interior’s winter weather. At the end of January, the sun doesn’t . . . read more

Photo of the Week -- "Spruce Ballroom"

Photo of the Week — “Spruce Ballroom”

Snow-clad spruce trees at sunrise. Sunrises have to be one of my favorite things about Fairbanks, next to the aurora, and the mountain range to our south. So, like my third favorite thing. Our sparse boreal forests give nice open views of the sky too. I love seeing those subtle arctic blues behind the brilliant colors. Almost every morning in . . . read more

Boreal Winter - Black and White, Day and Night

Boreal Winter – Black and White, Day and Night

Welcome to the Alaska interior, welcome to the boreal forest. This is a unique biome. Coniferous trees dominate the landscape, yet stands of birch and aspen remain plentiful in many places. The leafy trees love the sunny southern slopes. Permafrost stunts tree growth over large areas, especially in valleys and depressions. Branches, leaves, and needles don’t spread far from the . . . read more

Photo of the week -- "2 PM"

Photo of the week — “2 PM”

We’re just about a month past the winter solstice, but the sun still doesn’t get very high in the sky. The Sun peeks through the trees about an hour after solar noon and only half-an-hour until sunset. Actually, on this day the sun only rose to 5° above the horizon. This was taken on one of the many trails on . . . read more

Photo of the week — “Northern Lights”

Photo of the week — “Northern Lights”

After about 20 minutes of bright aurora bands filling the sky, it seemed like the display was fading, the brightest bands dwindling off into the southern sky. Then, on the eastern horizon this band re-formed, condensed, brightened, and a loop pushed up and overhead. This was an awesome show! Technical notes Nikon D7000 Sigma 17-50mm f/2.8 EX DC Lens for . . . read more

The week when the northern lights wouldn't quit

The week when the northern lights wouldn’t quit

Where do I even begin? I mean, the title kind of says it all. As I sit here writing, I am purely exhausted. I was driving to the post office this morning and heard a piece on NPR about how incredibly important it is get 8 hours of sleep every day and how every part of our life suffers, physically . . . read more

Photo of the week -- "Aurora Landscape"

Photo of the week — “Aurora Landscape”

Everything was so still. Except for the sky. The sky was crawling. The cold snow crunched beneath my feet with every step. The ice in my beard grew thicker with every breath. I would have been cold if it were not for the adrenaline surging through my body. This was a spectacular night. I’ve been waiting for the right conditions . . . read more

Aurora borealis and a full moon

Aurora borealis and a full moon

Sitting at the computer last night, I had given up any hope that we’d have any good aurora this weekend, so I started writing a trip plan for 2015. I flipped to my tab with the RGB real-time camera stationed at Poker Flat in Chatanika and the sky suddenly turned green. Only a few minutes before it was blank. I . . . read more