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North to Alaska

April 12, 2017

It’s a long way from Connecticut to Fairbanks, and upon arriving at my destination, the Chena Hot Springs Resort, last month, the distance was notable: in terrain, atmosphere and, in particular, weather. Friends and family who know me know how much I detest winter, so many were surprised I would venture practically to the Arctic Circle in March. The goal: to photograph the Northern Lights with a small group of like-minded souls.

Capturing the Aurora Borealis requires going outside, usually between midnight and two a.m., setting your camera on a tripod, and watching for telltale signs. Our photographer leader had a handy phone app that allowed us to stay indoors till the lights were actually in view, for which we were all grateful.

Our vantage point on the first night was the small airstrip at the resort.


We also tried some light painting. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The days were clear and cold, with plenty of time to check out the resort’s activities, like the Ice Museum with its remarkable ice sculptures.


An afternoon of dog-sledding and admiring the Alaskan huskies included an opportunity to hold squirmy puppies! Alaskan huskies differ from Siberian in that they are leaner, don’t have blue eyes (unless there’s a Siberian in their ancestry) and don’t have curly tails.

Cross-country skiing and snowmobiling, trail hikes and lounging in the hot springs are readily available at the resort. In the interest of science, we blew bubbles and watched them immediately freeze, then shatter as they blew away.

Around the resort…



One night we took a Sno-Cat to the top of a nearby mountain for what was to be our best view of the lights. It was windy and minus 22 degrees, so I didn’t last very long; after taking about 7 long-exposure shots my new battery died, then after I changed it the camera iced over. Sadly for me, I was unable to get any decent photos, though others had better luck. Thankfully there was a heated yurt, but despite that and two foot warmers in each boot, I couldn’t get my feet warm. On the final night, from the resort parking lot, I caught my last two glimpses of the aurora.


I’d love to return to Alaska and try again, but next time in September, when it’s warmer. The cold was definitely a factor for me! One warming thing though… an aurora martini!Aurora Martini.jpg

From → Alaska, winter

  1. John permalink

    Thanks for sharing, Diana. Mother says hello.


  2. Thanks for sharing and I hope you do return because with the right timing those northern lights will amaze you.

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