Glenn Randall Photography

Extraordinary landscape photography from Colorado and the West

Auroral Storm over Tombstone Mountain

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Auroral storm over Tombstone Mountain, Tombstone Territorial Park, Yukon Territory, Canada, aurora, Tombstone Mountain

Auroral Storm over Tombstone Mountain, Tombstone Territorial Park, Yukon Territory, Canada

On St. Patrick’s Day, 2015, my friend Gordon Maclean and I were camped at Talus Lake, in Tombstone Territorial Park, at latitude 64° north, 50 miles north of Dawson City, Yukon Territory. We had come to photograph the aurora, and we were about to get incredibly lucky.

 

Auroras are most commonly seen within the auroral zones, doughnut-shaped regions of the earth roughly centered on the magnetic poles. According to Neil Davis, a geophysicist who spent much of his career studying the aurora, the odds of seeing the northern lights on a clear, dark night if you are standing in the center of an auroral zone are 100 percent. Tombstone Territorial Park is only 65 miles south of that line, which is why Gordon and I had flown from Denver to Dawson City, then chartered a helicopter and flown into the park the day before.

 

At noon on St. Patrick’s Day a vicious windstorm began battering our ancient tent. Frantically we reinforced the tent’s already well-anchored guy lines, then huddled inside the tent for hours, bracing the weakening tent against the hammer blows of the gusts. Unknown to us at the time, one of the tent poles bent but did not break. Had it snapped, it would have shredded the tent walls and left us without shelter.

 

Toward sunset the windstorm eased, and we emerged to assess the damage. The sky began to clear. Then the biggest geomagnetic storm since 2004 hit the earth. The AP index, a measure of geomagnetic activity, hit 108—a level reached on only 0.4 percent of the nights since 1932. The auroras that night were simply unbelievable. They filled the sky in all directions with astonishingly pure shades of green and red. This image captured the night’s most vivid red auroras, which appeared in cascading curtains over Tombstone Mountain, to the west down the valley of the Tombstone River. The temperature dropped to 0° F, but it felt mild compared to the night before, when it had plunged to -27° F. We shot the aurora until after 3 a.m. At last the light show faded. We were shaking our heads in disbelief when we climbed back into the tent and fired up the stove to make a hot meal. Even then, knowing nothing about the historic magnitude of the geomagnetic storm we had just witnessed, we knew we were in the midst of the photo shoot of a lifetime.

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Glenn Randall Photography  |  2945 Colby Dr.  |  Boulder CO 80305-6303 Office 303 499-3009  |  Mobile 720 320-7126   gprandall@comcast.net |  Join my mailing list | Like me on Facebook  |  Privacy policy

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I offer over 100 images on this site, in four or five sizes each and as many as five different presentations (loose, matted-only, framed, gallery-wrap canvas, and gallery float). It is impossible to keep every size and presentation of every image in stock at all times. Accordingly, most of the items I offer for sale on GlennRandall.com are hand-built one at a time as customers order them. It normally requires between five and ten business days to complete an order, but it may take longer if I am on an extended shoot. Shipping time is in addition to these figures. To get specific information about delivery time for a particular item, please call 303 499-3009 or email me. I will do my best to accommodate rush orders. Thanks for your patience!

All photographic prints, regardless of presentation (loose, matted-only, framed, etc.) are delicate and require careful packaging to be shipped safely. Accordingly, all online purchases will have a 15 percent charge added for shipping and handling. This shipping charge only covers shipments to the continental United States. Please contact me for a quote on shipping to Alaska, Hawaii, or to international destinations. If you would like to pick up your print at my home office in Boulder rather than have it shipped, please call 303 499-3009 (office) or 720 320-7126 (mobile) to complete your purchase and make arrangements for pickup. Alternatively, I can deliver prints in the Denver metro area for $1.00 per mile based on round-trip mileage.

All matted-only and framed prints larger than 24x30 inches, all gallery-wrap canvases and gallery-float prints larger than 30x40, and all framed panoramas wider than 30 inches, are too big to be shipped via FedEx ground and too big to fit in any standard-size art box. While these prints can be shipped, they require a custom-made crate and the cost is exorbitant ($300+). I strongly suggest that all customers who live outside the Denver metro area and who wish to purchase a print larger than the maximums specified above buy the loose version and take it to the custom frame shop of their choosing. Loose prints can be shipped rolled at the standard shipping rate of 15 percent of the retail price. I will gladly provide detailed instructions to the framer on the moulding I use and my preferred method of mounting and framing the piece.

I use elegant hardwood frames on all of my framed prints. The image above right shows the frame I use for the smallest framed size of this image. I use proportionally larger frames with the same color finish for larger prints. The moulding shape will vary, depending on the size. For more information on the frames I recommend for different size prints, please visit my framing page.

Studio Moulding frame 353-125 cherry Studio Moulding frame 373-159 black Studio Moulding frame Forte 4834 mahogany

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