Northern Lights Photography Planning - Alaska

I don’t know if this is an appropriate discussion for this community, so please disregard if I’m in the wrong place.

I’ve just started some planning with TripAdvisor for a tentative trip to Alaska in February. My thought would be to get into an area where we could minimize driving but have some good spots to try and view the aurora if they are out. I think where I’m stumped is knowing where I can find a good foreground/landscape, or better yet a variety of landscapes (i.e. trees, lake, mountains). I so far have read that the Fairbanks area is best, but I’m not sure how to go about finding locations, and TripAdvisor is a pretty general forum as opposed to something photography-minded. Do most people just browse Google Earth, 500px, etc.? It’s such a huge area that it seems daunting. :slight_smile:

How exciting, Karla. My wife and I went to Alaska in 2017 and found the Northern Alaska Tour Company to be most helpful. It is located in Fairbanks. I’d give them a call. Although what you are seeking may not be a cookie cutter tour of theirs, they should be most helpful. I sure you are aware of the need to prepare for the weather and cold. Have fun and make great Aurora images.

@Larry_Greenbaum Thank you for the lead. We’re in the early discussion stage and we’ll be trying to balance a somewhat low key trip with my “want” to get some nice images - but most importantly enjoy the lights if we can see them. I’ve seen them a few times, but not on a more or less dedicated trip in the winter.

As long as you have clear nights, you should be able to see the lights. The camera sees them better than the human eye. Here’s an image I made using the North Alaska Tour Company. I did not care for the site I was stuck with as I did not get a good foreground. Perhaps, they can make you a private tour, choosing better spots for images. Will you travel on the Alaska Railroad? We really enjoyed our train ride, but I think there is more limited service in the winter. Have fun.

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@Larry_Greenbaum It’s still beautiful. I think that’s my point, actually. I am perfectly happy with a night of trees for foreground, but I’d like to try for at least one other option (i.e. mountain or lake, etc.) for variety, if we have more than one night of success.

I’m contemplating staying a few nights one place and a couple of nights another place or trying to do a night of tour such as I saw on the North Alaska Tour Company website. We are on a bit of a budget, unfortunately, which probably sounds odd planning for Alaska. :slight_smile: I did see the train and it looks like it could be interesting for another trip.

They do show nicely in the camera, don’t they? That’s my way of checking if I think I see something out there, or even if I just hope it. :smiley: