Every year since 1995 I have traveled to Anchorage for the Iditarod Sled Dog Race. I’ve worked a variety of volunteer positions, but for the past 14 years my job has been to oversee the race stats reporting. In all the years I’ve been going to Alaska, I never really got a good look at the northern lights. That’s mainly because my job kept me indoors in the city of Anchorage. The aurora has to be pretty strong to be able to see it through the light pollution of a city.
But this year was different. Towards the end of the race, there were reports of a massive solar flare-up which should produce some great northern lights. The race was almost over and my work load had dwindled down to monitoring the progress of only 2-3 mushers still on the trail. I decided that the night of March 17 would be the perfect night to get out of town in search of the forecasted aurora. First we headed down Turnagain Arm with no success. Then we decided to head up to the Flat Top trailhead in the Chugach Mountains outside of Anchorage. That’s where we remained and witnessed the most awe inspiring night of dancing lights I’ve ever seen. It was cold, there were people everywhere, and cars driving into the area with their headlights on, but eventually I was able to capture some decent photos of the aurora. Now I’m hooked and want to go back for more.
Here a few images from the night of March 17, 2013 when the lights came out.
Here is a sampling of what I shot that day. For the complete gallery, click here.