A Long Winter’s Night

Twas 4 days before Christmas, and all through the house, every creature was stirring, including a moose.  The stockings were hung by the chimney with care, in hopes that Rogue the dog would not chew them up there.

The children were nestled up tight in their seats, munching away on Sunday night treats.  With family in pjs watching ‘Grinch’ with delight, we’d just settled down for a long winter’s night.

When out in the sky there arose a light spatter, I sprang from my chair to see what was the matter. Away to the screen door I flew like a flash, avoiding furniture, ski boots and dogs, I tried not to crash.

Moonlight high above in the winter solstice sky, gave a soft, subtle, glow to our 18 hour night.  When what to my wondering eyes should appear, but Northern Lights streaming, shifting into high gear.

A Long Winter's Night Sky Aurora

Northern Lights A Long Winter's Night

With my brave little Summer, so lively and quick, we gathered up warm clothing lickety-split.  As I scarfed down some eggnog, my friend Mykol came, she honked her horn loudly and shouted my name.

Got camera, got tri-pod, got battery and lenses, on jacket, on warm socks, on hat and mittens.  To the bottom of the porch, and into the car; Hatcher Pass the destination and it wasn’t too far.

As wild women before the Northern Lights lights fly, when their goal is darkness and a clear moon-lit sky.  So up to the mountain-top the Volvo flew, with a car full of photography stuff and the three of us too.

And then, in a twinkling, the Aurora got so bright, we pulled over the car and walked out on river ice. As I thought to myself “This might actually not be safe”, I started taking pictures, even if in ice water I’d bathe.

Northern Lights, Little Susitna

The moon on the crest of the snow covered peaks, lured out night skiers, fresh powder they’d seek.

Freezing our rumps off from head to foot, we shot photos quickly, a lot of them we took.  Some good ones, some bad ones, that’s the story of pictures, too get any better I’ll be sitting through lectures.

Aurora Crown

At the end of the trip, it was almost midnight, the Aurora was taking a break, and the moon was too bright.  So we headed back home for the warmth of our beds, while visions of night skies still danced in our heads.

An early Christmas present, oh how I appreciate the sight, Merry Christmas to all, and to all a long winter’s night!

A Long Winter's Night

Winter Solstice

Cheesy intro, I know…but hey, I didn’t get a lot of sleep!

It was a long winter’s night for sure.  Not only is it our shortest day of the year with only about 6 hours of daylight, but also, one of the most active displays of Northern Lights on a clear night we’ve seen this winter.

We first started seeing them around 7 pm.  The moon was so bright, that it washed out the colors a little, but it made the mountains glow and led to some of my favorite images I’ve shot yet.

Alaska Aurora

I got up early again this morning, and the Aurora was subtle but still there.  Some say it’s not worth watching when the stream is white, but not me.  I will always be mesmerized by the light.

I’m still getting the hang of night photography.  There is definitely an art to it!  It’s strange how some shots taken from the same spot only seconds apart are so different.  Even the tiniest movement on the deck from the dog, a whisper of wind, or a slight earthquake throws the shot in disarray (ok that probably throws all pictures off).

Summer in the night sky

Summer toughed it out with Mykol and I last night, but this morning, I went alone at 5 and perched myself on a ridge in silent darkness.  Utter peace, solitude and stunning beauty.  What a night.

Joy of the Aurora

I am humbled by the awesome natural gifts of a loving Heavenly Father, and his Son Jesus Christ who’s birth we will celebrate soon.  I hope you take the time where ever you are to look around and appreciate wonder and beauty while giving thanks for this planet we live on.  No other art form will ever match what has been perfectly created for us.

Now, I think I’ll take a nap…

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