Yes, I took off to Alaska the first week of March 2022. Spent more money than I had planned, but had an excellent time. Alaska in the winter time is beautiful. Is it Cold? Are you kidding? However, after about 2 days you get used to it, and it is not that big a deal. In fact you will see true Alaskans walking around in tee shirts with 5' of snow on the ground. Yes, I did see one lady in shorts, but most natives do not have on super heavy down coats like myself (see bottom of Page 5). I was working at night and it can really get cold then. We would drag into the hotel about 3 or 4 in the morning during the 4 nights that I spent photographing. It was so cold that my fingers would swell up and I would lose sensitivity in my touch. So, I had to go back to the van and warm up, in between the aurora displays. Did I have on gloves? Of course. Wool insert gloves, then GoreTex outer gloves. Still was cold.
Please do not think I just took off on my own to Fairbanks (near the Artic Circle) and stood out in a Walmart parking lot for a few nights. I signed up for a photographic tour group call The Aurora Chasers
AURORA CHASERS . They provided a phtographic workshop tour for people, specifically to photograph the aurora. It is a professional service all the way. They pick you up in a van, give you a lecture as they are driving out to the photographic site each night, and help you set up your camera so you will get excellent results. They also monitor the cloud cover for Fairbands at:
Each night the aurora chasers van was packed, so don't think you can make reservations a week before. There were people in these tours from all over the US. Some would only sign up for one night. Not a good idea. Being an out-door photographer I can tell you that the weather does not always cooperate. That is why I paid for 4 nights. In my case, One night was cloudy, but we could see the aurora through the green clouds. It was like photographing a vehicle's headlights in a thick fog. Then one night there was no aurora, but the sky was clear. So I started photographing the night sky with the beautiful stars. I think that where I was, Alaska has clearer skys than west Texas? The last two nights I was there, it was literally a fireworks show. I was taking photos every 15 to 20 seconds. the Northern Lights were dancing across the sky like the 4th of July. Some of those burst were bright enough to read a newspaper by, even at 2 in the morning. Really!
Will I go back? You bet, but it will be about 2025, when we get closer to the high side of the eleven year sun spot cycle. At that point the Aurora will be exploding all night. You do realize aurora is electromagnetic energy (plasma) from the surface of the sun. It is belched out into space from the sun and as the earth goes around in it's orbit, runs into this energy. The magnetic field of our earth creates magnetic lines of force and this solar energy is attracted to it and follows the earth's lines of force from north to south. Thus, when you start looking at some of these photos, you will see how a lot of the aurora seems to be following a path. Well, actually it is. The earths magnetic field.
I have several photos similar to this one but this particular photo captures the natural beauty of Alaska. It truly is one of the last wild places in the USA. Taken with my Nikon D850, and a Zeiss 25mm lens. There was some reflections from the outside windshield, but it is the best I can do at this time. Just look at the Alaskan terrain, that is the main thing here.