Nikon D3, 28mm f1.4 lens ISO 1000
The aurora forecasts for Monday night were for "Moderate" activity.
In aurora lingo that's code for a sleepless night that began just after
9 pm and went on more or less continuously until after 2 am. For hour
after hour, the entire sky was filled with swirling bands of light,
sometimes bright enough to throw a shadow on the ground, at other
times more muted.
As always, the challenge was to find a composition that worked.
Aurora pictures generally need an "anchor" to be effective, something
earthbound to give a sense of scale and place. Shots that include just
the aurora may be colorful, but don't tell much of a story. However, the
area around Great Slave Lake is not wildly dramatic: there is no Denali
here, no ragged peaks to showcase the lights. There are, instead,
thousands of square miles of trees, and trees are invariably an essential
part of the composition.