Photo of the Week – “ALASKA”

The big dipper over road through boreal forest. Very faint aurora on the horizon. North of Fairbanks, Alaska.

It wasn’t very easy to see the stars when the moon was shining so brightly, but you can still make out the big dipper over the road. The big dipper is the constellation on the Alaska State Flag, so I figured that with the snow-covered trees the name “ALASKA” was fitting. There was even a bit of aurora barely glowing on the horizon. We haven’t needed a headlamp to walk the dog the last few nights.

More photos from this evening:

Technical Details

Nikon D7000
Tokina 11-16 mm f/2.8 lens
Focal Length:  12 mm
ISO:           800
Aperture:      f/3.2
Shutter Speed: 4 sec

Since I wasn’t too worried about motion – there was absolutely no wind and plenty of moonlight, I used an ISO of 800. That’s a lower than I’d use when shooting the aurora, but this was a very still scene, I easily could have gone lower. I used f/3.2, slightly more open than the camera goes (f/2.8). At f/2.8 I see quite a few artifacts like chromatic aberration and vignetting with the Tokina, so closing it just slightly those are nearly eliminated. I could have opened up wider, getting slightly higher depth-of-field, but I’ve found it doesn’t really make much of a difference with this wide of a lens.

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