Brooks Range Auroras with Carl Johnson

This photo workshop begins in Fairbanks, Alaska, where, weather permitting, we head out to view and photograph the aurora borealis on our first night. The next morning, we drive up the Dalton Highway to the remote community of Wiseman, nestled in the heart of the Brooks Range above the Arctic Circle. Over four nights and four days, we will explore this region of Alaska’s northernmost mountain range chasing the light during the day and the dancing lights at night. Cost includes lodging and meals in Fairbanks, Alaska, the first night, all meals and lodging in Wiseman, transportation to and from Wiseman, and photo instruction.

Northern Lights with Gordon and Cathy Illg

Photograph the aurora from right outside your room! We’ll be staying in backcountry lodges with all the amenities, and photographing the lights each night if they show. We’ll also photograph an ice museum and the International Ice Art Championships.

NANPA Weekly Wow

Giant Clam Detail, Banda Sea, Indonesia © Peter Hartlove

Giant Clam Detail, Banda Sea, Indonesia © Peter Hartlove

Each week highlights 7 images from the top 100 submissions of the NANPA Showcase competition. This week’s images are by:

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Dance of the Spirits by Gordon and Cathy Illg

North America, USA, Alaska, Chena Hot Springs, aurora borealis and stars. © Cathy & Gordon Illg

North America, USA, Alaska, Chena Hot Springs, aurora borealis and stars. © Cathy & Gordon Illg

Images and Text by Gordon and Cathy Illg

It’s not that one or two things or even a hundred things are beautiful – every single aspect of the natural world is beautiful, even the very air around us. Using high-energy particles from the sun as brushes and electrons orbiting atoms in our upper atmosphere as a canvas, impossible abstracts are painted across the night sky in neon colors. Of all the astral phenomena that draw our eyes to the heavens, the aurora is the most spectacular. And, it requires no special equipment to view it, only a willingness to stay out when most people are asleep (and to endure some cold temperatures).

The Cree called it the “Dance of the Spirits,” and in the Middle Ages it was regarded as a sign from God. Today we call it aurora borealis after the Roman goddess of the dawn and the Greek name for the north wind. Its most basic form is a static green band, usually stretching across the northern horizon. As it becomes more active, pink, red and even violet are added to the palette. These colors can fall down in curtains or dance across the heavens in twisting waves, as if responding to music we cannot hear. A photographer could point a lens at the same spot all night, taking one photo after another, and never repeat an image. Continue reading