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October Northern Lights

During a recent photo tour the skies opened up to a magnificent and lengthy display of the aurora borealis. The group I was co-guiding with Hugh Rose started clicking frames about 9:00 p.m. and finally went to bed about 5:00 a.m. It was a great night of fun and fanciful color and light in the night sky. Here are 35 favorites from that and the following night (Oct 12-13). The photos were taken with the Canon 5D Mark III at 1250-1600 ISO, which was amazingly clean and noise-free. I was surprised how well they looked, and how they handled post-processing adjustments and still held up to high reproduction standards.


  • Elizabeth Parnis - I really want to see this phenomenon!December 23, 2014 – 4:23 amReplyCancel

  • Elizabeth Parnis - Awe inspiring!December 19, 2014 – 10:40 pmReplyCancel

  • Eric Rosenbaum - You’re killing me. What an incredible display. I can close me eyes and feel the cold and exhilaration and awe. I can see the runs to the vans to warm up and jumping out again while still cold because it is all too amazing to waste time worried about being cold. Instead of seeing this breathtaking display, I experienced a different sort of nature’s awe last week: Hurricane Sandy. Man, were we ever clobbered. Still reeling here–horrible mess. By the grace of God Bri and I came through it ok. Thank you for sharing so many of the photos.November 4, 2012 – 12:14 pmReplyCancel

    • Patrick Endres - Eric, it was a great light show. Glad to hear you came through the great storm o.k.November 5, 2012 – 2:21 pmReplyCancel

  • Patrick Endres - Thanks Mike and Carl, I wish you both some great aurora shooting this year, it could be a good one.

    Steve – I thought I answered your question but I guess it did not post. Regarding moving water in the pics, yes, there is some open water, and some reflections on ice. I used both the f/1.4 and a 2.8 lens, mostly the 2.8 since it was 14mm.November 2, 2012 – 8:31 amReplyCancel

  • Carl D - Great stuff, Patrick – and to Jay, the answer is a resounding “no” ;; with the caveat that for the aurora BOREALIS (not to be confused with Australis), what you’re calling the ‘diffuse side’ is generally towards to south; but certainly not always the case.


    CarlNovember 1, 2012 – 10:46 pmReplyCancel

  • Mike Criss - Beautiful set Patrick. Hoping for a great year of Aurora photography.October 30, 2012 – 8:46 amReplyCancel

  • Pat Landers - Woh, Patrick. That might be your best set yet. Looking forward to doing that trip again some day. PatOctober 26, 2012 – 3:18 pmReplyCancel

    • Patrick Endres - Thanks Pat and Tin Man, would love to have you both on a future trip.October 29, 2012 – 8:54 amReplyCancel

  • Tin Man Lee - Patrick, these are got to be the best northern light photos I ever seen in my life!!! Congratulations! The red, the white, the green, the reflection on ice, the amazing shapes and patterns,… I am speechless! A great pleasure to meet you during dinner with Hugh and the group in Fairbanks!October 26, 2012 – 8:10 amReplyCancel

  • PNC Weblog » Northern Lights … we can only hope - […] These images were taken earlier this month by a group of photographers.  I am not sure where they were (somewhere in Alaska I think), but I know they would not have been in Anchorage … the sky is too bright because of all the city lights. […]October 25, 2012 – 11:24 amReplyCancel

  • Karen - Patrick–I’ve been a fan of your aurora pictures for a long time, but these are the best! I can only imagine what it must have felt like to witness this light show.October 25, 2012 – 6:25 amReplyCancel

    • Patrick Endres - – Karen, thanks

      – Kathy, sorry you were not feeling 100% that night, but hopefully you captured some of it.

      -Steve, I shot most of the stuff with the Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8 and a few with the canon 24mm f/1.4, There is some flowing ice/water in a few shots. Others are reflections on ice.October 25, 2012 – 8:40 amReplyCancel

  • steve - Wow, what an amazing prolific display, and over such a short time frame too! Looks like a very fast lens? Is the water moving in some of those pics?October 25, 2012 – 6:04 amReplyCancel

  • Kathy - Spectacular, Patrick!! Just so sorry I had to miss out on much of this. :-(October 24, 2012 – 5:47 pmReplyCancel

  • Jay - Aurora seems to have a diffuse side and a hard edged side. Is the diffuse side always toward the equator? I’m interested in writing a program to create aurora and wanted it to be correct. Thanks!October 24, 2012 – 5:11 pmReplyCancel

  • Mark - Hi Patrick. It’s possible the third person in the background is me, but there’s not enough detail to say for certain. I think the first in the photo is Darren, not sure who the second one is, but it looks like they were using a Manfrotto/Bogen tripod. James perhaps? Next time someone offers me beer on a night like that someone should slap me upside the head if I accept.October 24, 2012 – 12:33 pmReplyCancel

  • Patrick Endres - Ditto Mark!!! but glad I went back out. Is that you in number 23?October 24, 2012 – 11:39 amReplyCancel

  • Mark - Great stuff Patrick. I should not have had those two beers with the pizza at 3 a.m. that first night. :-)October 24, 2012 – 11:36 amReplyCancel

  • Vivian - What a great set of pictures! In all the pictures it’s so neat to see the star field along with the northern lights!October 24, 2012 – 9:40 amReplyCancel

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