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

Photo of the Week -- "Snowy Blues"

Photo of the Week — “Snowy Blues”

My last “photo of the week” for 2014 . . . I’m crazily excited to see what 2015 will bring! The “blue hour” – that period of twilight before the sun rises and after it sets; there’s still enough sunlight scattering in the air overhead to drown the forest in blue hues. In the evening the planets and stars start . . . read more

Pine Grosbeak

Pine Grosbeak

This is the first year we’ve had pine grosbeaks regularly at the feeder, sometimes up to 6 at a time. It’s been at least 8 days in a row now, so I’m hopeful they’ll be hanging around for the winter. They’re a nice break from the redpolls and chickadees. We don’t get a lot of birds that stick out the . . . read more

Photo of the Week -- "Big Dipper and Aurora"

Photo of the Week — “Big Dipper and Aurora”

The big dipper and north star is the subject of the Flag of Alaska (designed by 13 year old Benny Benson in 1927, when Alaska was still a territory). I thought it would be nice to have an aurora photo with the constellation as a centerpiece. Taken on Murphy Dome. Nikon D7000 sigma 17-50 mm f/2.8 ex dc os hsm . . . read more

Winter Solstice Light

Winter Solstice Light

Fairbanks is dark in the winter. The official length of the day on the winter solstice is 3 hours, 41 minutes, and some change. Luckily, we benefit from having a lot of twilight, long sunrises and sunsets, and the northern lights. The brilliant color certainly makes up for the lack of daylight. It never hurts to add some color of . . . read more

Aurora and Milky Way from Murphy Dome

Aurora and Milky Way from Murphy Dome

Last night I strapped on my snowshoes to take a walk around Murphy Dome. It’s not really my favorite spot, but it’s a convenient location with a good view and a mostly dark sky. It’s been overcast almost every night in Fairbanks lately, so I didn’t want to take a long drive just to get sopped in and come up . . . read more

Photo of the week -- "Aurora before the clouds"

Photo of the week — “Aurora before the clouds”

It seems like every night the clouds roll in fast, no matter how nice of a day it may have been. I still managed to catch some brief glimpses of the aurora before the clouds filled the sky. We had some strong winds in the middle of the week that managed to knock much of that beautiful snow off of . . . read more