Anderson during a night of activity on Alaska's Kenai Peninsula. A cold and tired photographer in Alaska's frigid nterior
Born in March of 1960, Dennis Anderson grew up under the dark skies of rural Montana near Livingston where he developed a keen interest in astronomy at a young age. In an effort to share the wonderous sights of the night sky, photography became a perfect match to this hobby.
"By the time I was eight years old I had a camera on a tripod." remembers Anderson, "Comets, meteors, stars and planets all captured my attentions but then came the auroras. They were pure magic."
Mostly self-taught, Anderson spent many hours devouring any literature about his favorite subjects that he could get his eyes on. A lot of time was spent in the darkroom with hands-on experimentation in an effort to perfect his astro-photography techniques.
Anderson re-located to Alaska in 1995 having first moved to Valdez and settling in Homer later that year.
"The auroras are fantastic up here, but I'm not the first to figure that one out. There's already a lot of talented competition."
So in an attempt to set himself apart from the rest of the pack, Anderson decided to persue a course that would allow him to capture the most detailed images of the auroras ever.
"I have experimented with just about any commercial 35mm and medium-format camera you can name in an attempt to find the sharpest fastest glass for the best images. Nothing was really over the top so I started acquiring surplus optics from various sources. These are all special purpose optics used by government military and scientific agencies. I have experimented with literally dozens if not hundreds of lenses trying to find my Holy Grail."
A few years later, the search has paid off. "I now have several home-built cameras in the medium-format range and even a few in the large format sizes. These machines are pretty crude. My brother refers to them as Franken-cameras. A piece of this...a part of that...a spark of new life. Most don't even have a shutter but the results will speak for themselves. The films that I use give images many times the size of 35mm. The detail is unprecedented. Even digital cameras have a long way to go to equal what can be captured with a big piece of film under a dark sky. And besides, who wants to go running for home just as the action is beginning to heat up and your batteries die?" Anderson says with a wink.
"Mega View" No. 10A
"Franken-Camera" No. 6B 4x5 large-format with circular fisheye lens
6x9 medium-format for "Imax quality"
Anderson takes a break from the cold near Villa Union, Mexico March 2006
Night Trax Aurora Photography
P.O Box 3934
Homer, Alaska 99603