An aurora night at Lake Laberge and Fox Lake

Last Friday (September 27th), the aurora forecast was very good so a friend and I headed out, planning on a long night of photography.

We first went to the Lake Laberge Campground, arriving early so we could watch day transition into night. I was very surprised by how many people were camping for the weekend – the last weekend the campground is open for the season.

I shot the first photo right at 9:00 pm. All of the photos in this post were shot with my Canon EOS 7D, with a Rokinon 10mm lens, at f2.8. The first two photos were shot with 5-second exposures and ISO 800.

Dusk at Lake Laberge, Yukon
Our timing was perfect, as the aurora borealis began to appear just 4 minutes later. Some of you may wonder whether “aurora borealis” or “Northern Lights” is the correct term. While “Northern Lights” is an old term that has largely been replaced in common usage, everybody will understand, whichever term you use.

Aurora borealis at Lake Laberge, Yukon
Darkness then came quickly. By 9:20 the aurora was getting larger and brighter. The next photo was shot with a 20-second exposure.

Aurora borealis at Lake Laberge, Yukon
A 30-second exposure captured the next image. To the left, the lights of a distant jet can just be made out as it passed over.

Aurora borealis at Lake Laberge, Yukon
At 9:38 there was still a bit of light in the sky to the west. The large diffuse band of aurora seen above the bright band in this and the next few photos is quite unusual.

Aurora borealis at Lake Laberge, Yukon
The sky was incredibly clear, and the Milky Way was showing up well overhead. This was shot with a 30-second exposure and ISO 3200.

The Milky Way at Lake Laberge, Yukon
When the campers nearest us lit a large fire, and another RVer turned on large outside lights, it was time to leave. Before leaving, I shot a few photos that included the fire – this one at 9:44 pm.

Aurora borealis at Lake Laberge, Yukon
The aurora delayed our departure by a few minutes – the next two photos show the unusual diffuse band of aurora well.

Aurora borealis at Lake Laberge, Yukon

Aurora borealis at Lake Laberge, Yukon

We got to the Fox Lake Campground at about 10:40. There were lots of campers here, too, and a bus full of Japanese tourists. The aurora had gotten quite dull, but my friend had brought some glowsticks and we played with them a bit. I shot the next photo right at 11:00, by which time the aurora had brightened up again.

Northern Lights at Fox Lake, Yukon
It takes a very good aurora display for Fox Lake to be a good shooting location, as that hill on the right blocks any low displays. My friend was shooting from the end of the boat dock.

Aurora borealis at Fox Lake, Yukon
Looking back at the camping area at 11:12. Some of the tourists were using flash to take photos – extremely annoying, and ruined many of my photos.

Aurora borealis at Fox Lake, Yukon
At 11:16 there were some nice rays and reds in the display. You can see a vehicle on the North Klondike Highway in the next photo, too.

Aurora borealis at Fox Lake, Yukon
By about 11:30, my body was giving out. This is one of the ongoing problems I’m having from my injury back on August 7th. I went and sat in the car and watched from there, but a nice flare at 11:40 got me out for some photos that included the tour bus…

Northern Lights at Fox Lake, Yukon
…and some shooting directly up, where some nice corona action was happening.

Aurora borealis at Fox Lake, Yukon
At about 12:30, we started back home. Just after 01:00, though, the aurora was so strong that I pulled over and we got a few shots from the shoulder of the highway.

Aurora borealis on the North Klondike Highway, Yukon

After I dropped my friend off, the aurora went crazy on my drive home. I texted her and she went back out and shot for another hour, but I was done. Although it was a much shorter night than I’d planned, it was still really good.


An aurora night at Lake Laberge and Fox Lake — 11 Comments

  1. Nice article and great pics. Sorry you had to leave early but I understand…I’ve not gotten out as much as I’d hoped this year.

    • Thanks, Norma. I’m still counting on this being a temporary setback for me. Carcross has gotten too many lights – it sucks that you have to go further now.

  2. WOW amazing photos !! We don’t have nice dark skies like that here in southern ont. also no Aurora here. /thanks Murray

  3. I had a great two nights counting satellites in the dark skies of the Adirondack Park two weeks ago but had nothing that brought me to me feet like seeing the Northern Lights would. Great pics. As always, thanks for sharing.

    • Thanks for checking on me, Janie. I’m not doing very well – basically functional but hugely limited and not getting better. I’m very tired of hearing “you’ll get better eventually”.

      • I’m so sorry Murray. It doesn’t help to ask for your patience (I know, I know) but please rest and let your body heal. I can’t believe the Drs haven’t found out what’s wrong😟 Take care, I’m sending healing prayers🙏🙏🙏

  4. Thanks so much for these great photos. I was born in Whitehorse and grew up in the 70s and, seriously, cannot remember ever watching the Northern Lights. It was just not “a thing” like it is now. Obviously, many people were taking pictures back then, but it was not part of my consciousness. Weird.

    • Yes, Ted, that is weird. I was living in Vancouver in the ’70s, and we saw the aurora one night. Even 40 years later I still remember the entire experience.