Talkeetna, Alaska, USA by Dora Redman

Picture Story

It is not winter all year long in Alaska, as so many people think. But, when winter arrives, and the long hours of darkness with it, the northern lights also arrives. Snowy and pristine landscape contrasting with the rivers and mountains and the skies covered in aurora borealis make Alaska a magical place.

This image was photographed from one of my favorite places to capture the night skies near the small village of Talkeetna, Alaska. The Talkeetna River, a braided and silty glacier-fed river named by the Dena’ina people, meaning River of Plenty, is precisely that. Plenty of life in the summers and an abundance of views and photo opportunities in the winters.

Photographing the Northern Lights by the river in the winter is soothing when the massive summer water flow does not rush by the river bank, but you can still hear the moving water under the ice.

It was a perfect and poetic night. Snowshoeing on the trail to the river in the middle of the night, I was surrounded by the light of the full moon and its reflection on the snow.

Usually, the full moon nights are not the best for the northern lights, as the northern lights fade away in the moonlight. In January 2016, it was a different story. We had a stunning and rare view of the Auroras dancing across the skies even with all that light.

I was in awe as I approached the river bank taking the beauty of that sight. It was well over after midnight, most likely near 3 in the morning. The world was standing still and cold, no sound coming from the forest, only the twinkling of the water moving through some open ice. The foreground of the snowy and icy Talkeetna River was entirely illuminated, almost like it was daylight. I could see the animal tracks by the river and the ice crystals sparkling in the snow. The auroras were fighting their way through the moonlight and slowly becoming more and more visible. I set my tripod and photographic gear and kept watching for the special moment. I saw a few wispy clouds and faint stars completing the scene. Click!

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