Electric Aurora

Electric Aurora, Prosperous Lake Territorial Park, Northwest Territories, Canada

Many people associate the aurora with the freezing cold temperatures of the arctic winter. In truth, there is no relationship between temperature and auroral displays. All that is required is complete darkness and clear skies ‒ plus, of course, auroral activity. Yellowknife, in Canada's Northwest Territories, is right in the auroral zone, the doughnut-shaped region centered on the magnetic pole where auroras are most commonly seen. Yellowknife is also a land of lakes, strewn liberally across the gently rolling landscape. On the autumnal equinox in late September Yellowknife experiences about six hours of total darkness, but the temperature at night normally only dips to about 35 degrees, so the lakes are still free of ice. That opens up the possibility of photographing the aurora reflected in a lake or pond. On my fourth night in Yellowknife in late September 2013, conditions were perfect, with clear skies, calm winds, and a spectacular auroral display. My widest lens, a 16mm, which has an angle of view of 97 degrees on the long dimension, was barely wide enough to capture this amazing aurora reflected in the waters of Prosperous Lake in Prosperous Lake Territorial Park.

Glenn Randall Photography

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