On a quest to experience something that i’ve never seen before, October found me in Anchorage Alaska. While I tell myself I’m crossing things off my bucket list, my closest friends wonder if it’s not my relentless pursuit for Delta’s MQM to make some obscene level of medallion next year?! Which ever way you look at it, Alaska held some pretty things to see – particularly I was in search of the illusive aurora borealis or northern lights. I flew out Friday and began a rather lengthy journey with some sleep intermingled with my shenanigans from seat 1A.
Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis)
We began our descent into Anchorage just after midnight, the pilot announced “if you’re on the left side of the plane, you can gaze at the northern lights while we land.” Absolutely awe inspired, I sat there watching the dancing green sheets of light as we landed.
After just flying 6+ hours across the country, I’ve never ran so fast through an airport to grab a rental car so I could find a spot to photograph the aurora. I found myself speeding down streets not know where to go. I finally found a public park and I grabbed my DSLR to photograph this amazing light show.
If you know anything about photography, shooting in the dark is hard enough, but try to capture something that is constantly moving in a dark setting is enough to make you pull your hair out.
As quickly as it started dancing across the sky, the aurora stopped and the night returned to darkness. I journeyed to my hotel in downtown Anchorage, where fellow travelers were just as amazed at the light show. It’s worth mentioning that the concierge at the hotel said that this time [October] of year is usually cloudy (particularly at night), hiding the aurora. The night I flew in was one very rare night where it was completely clear and calm – perfect for viewing the aurora borealis.
For what it’s worth: If you plan on watching the aurora borealis, build time into your schedule. Due to the nature of the weather and cloud cover, there’s a very good chance you may not see it on the first or second try. Also, Fiarbanks, Alaska has some good places to watch it – along with Iceland.