A Magical Morning – Northern Lights & Swans

Today began very, very early. The aurora borealis forecast was for a Level 4 display, which is very good, so I got out of bed at 01:30, and even though there were no Northern Lights yet, got my gear packed and headed out. The first auroral glow began as I left the driveway just before 2:00. I actually hadn’t planned on being able to get out at all, because the weather forecast was for clouds with possible snow flurries.

My first stop was overlooking the Yukon River just north of the Yukon River Bridge on the Alaska Highway. The lights from Whitehorse made this vantage point unsatisfactory regardless of what the aurora did.

Northern Lights over the Yukon River

Down to the bridge, but I clearly needed to get much further from Whitehorse.

Northern Lights along the Alaska Highway

Facing the opposite direction at the same spot was much better.

Northern Lights along the Alaska Highway

Looking northeast, a particularly bright display for 3-4 minutes even blotted out the city lights.

Northern Lights along the Alaska Highway

I continued on past Jake’s Corner to White Mountain, which was fairly good.

Northern Lights along the Alaska Highway

I decided to try a new location, the Tagish River Bridge (a.k.a. the Six Mile River Bridge). This was shot at 4:19. This turned out to be a truly magical spot, as not only did I get a good Northern Lights viewing spot, there were many swans on the river below, chatting away to each other in the darkness.

Northern Lights from the Tagish River Bridge

Looking down the river. The aurora wasn’t very strong, but the swans more than made up for it!

Northern Lights from the Tagish River Bridge

This shot is pointing just a bit to the right of the one above. One swan can be seen on the river near the ice.

Northern Lights from the Tagish River Bridge

What a truly incredible way to start a day! That’s me in the photo. Hours later, I’m still thrilled by the memory of the 3/4 of an hour I spent there.

Northern Lights from the Tagish River Bridge

Looking up the river, with the moon about to come over the ridge.

Late-winter moonrise along the Six Mile River, Yukon

Driving along the Tagish Road towards Carcross at 05:22. I had a few ideas for Carcross shots, but none of them worked out for various reasons (the aurora was gone, there was only one swan on Lake Bennett, it was too dark for some shots, too lights for others.

Night driving on the Tagish Road, Yukon

I experimented at this spot for quite a while. It takes a lot of patience to get a vehicle in a shot in this country! This is on the South Klondike Highway, looking back towards Carcross at 06:33. That’s Montana Mountain, looking a lot closer than it actually is due to the telephoto lens effect.

A late winter morning on the South Klondike Highway, Yukon

This semi-trailer provided an interesting shot.

A late winter morning on the South Klondike Highway, Yukon

I made one final stop at 06:55 to catch the morning light behind me on Gray Ridge.

A late winter morning on the South Klondike Highway, Yukon

I was gone a little over 5 hours on this shoot. I went back to bed for 3 hours, and now, with both good aurora and weather forecasts for tonight, am ready to do it again tonight! :)

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8 Responses to A Magical Morning – Northern Lights & Swans

  1. jean Duhamel says:

    These pictures are beautiful Murray! I used to love watching and listening to them dance across the sky. Will look forward to seeing tonights pictures

  2. Peter Igla says:

    Dear Murray, wonderfull pictures you took along the Tagish Road. I have a summer cabin in Tagish, so it`s very nice to see how the landscape looks right now, turning from winter to spring. Greetings from Pfaffenhofen / Germany.

  3. Thanks, Peter. I’ll be flying over your winter home in October on my way to a Rheine River cruise :) I had a look at your Web site and see that you sell tours with Ruby Range – I’m driving/guiding 3 tours for them this summer.

  4. Patsy says:

    What beautiful pictures, made my day!

  5. Peter Igla says:

    IsnĀ“t the world small *lol*. I work with Karsten for more then 10 years now. Well, when you drive along the Tagish road this summer – if you want – give me a quick call at 399-3226 and drop in at the Taku subdivison for a well chilled beer …. Peter

  6. Martha says:

    Just beautiful and spectacular photos. I’ve seen one white aurora display and it was 360. It was fantastic. Maybe I’ll get to see colors someday, but seeing the lights just once, for some of us, is a gift. I can’t imagine being able to see them on a regular basis!

  7. gislane s barreto says:

    Very, very BEAUTIFUL photos. And the blog, too. Congratulations.

  8. gislane santos barreto says:

    I love the blog, and the photos. Congratulations!