It was just a metter of several yards to negotiate from my vehicle to the shore of the lake but what an incredible journey it turned out to be! It was just after midnight local time and I was standing a few feet above the water looking east across the lake, one of many in the Talkeetna area. The aurora was displaying some of the most prominent reddish fringe on its underside that I have ever witnessed.
This type of reddish color on the bottom of a normal green aurora is called nitrogen fringing. It is the result of very energetic particles penetrating the Earth's atmosphere deeper than any other type of aurora. This fringing, produced by the excitation of nitrogen molocules, can be seen as a pinkish or light lavender to a deep reddish or maroon, takes place at an altitude of 35 to 40 miles on its underside. This is as close to the ground as any aurora ever gets.
The beautiful auroral display is joined by the bright moon, the planet Saturn and stars all reflected in the mirror surface of this lake on a still night with absolutely no wind.
I used a 6x9 home-built medium format camera with a 50mm wide-angle lens and Kodak E100VS film to record the moment.
This image is availible in the following sizes: 5x7, 6x9, 8x12, 11x15, 12x18 as well as a 6x12, 8x16, or 13x26 inch panoramic print.