Behind the Photo – Mill Bay Aurora Borealis

Alaska Night Sky, Astrophotography & Aurora Borealis Photography

This Northern Light photo was taken on Kodiak Island, Alaska. Mother Nature cooperated perfectly that night, as the sky was crystal clear, the activity level of the Aurora was the highest it had been in almost a year, and there was no intense moonlight to wash out the show. I started shooting the lights around 10:00 PM, but not much happened until around midnight. You never know when the Aurora is going to explode with intense activity, so as usual, I stood by, patiently waiting for things to amp up. (Click here to watch my Northern Lights Photography Video tutorial)

While sitting in my Jeep, attempting to stay warm, I thought I saw some strange lights coming through the woods back up on the hillside behind me. About an hour later, a fellow photographer came walking down the hill to the beach. We chatted for a bit, and as it turned out, those lights I saw earlier came from him. He ran right into a huge Kodiak bear, which scared the heck out of him! The bruin took off right down the hill in my direction, and the photographer was shining his flashlight in hopes of getting my attention, as I was about to have some big, furry company. I didn’t notice the bear coming by, as it was quite dark and noisy from the crashing ocean surf. But, it was a good reminder to always be prepared for anything while out photographing the Northern Lights in places like Alaska.

I captured this particular image as I was driving by Mill Bay Beach on the way home that night. The Aurora was exploding and dancing like I have rarely seen it on Kodiak. So, naturally, I pulled over and spent another hour photographing the show. It turned out to be a very late night…with work early the next morning…but it was well worth it. Such is the price a dedicated nature photographer must pay.

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