I’ll never figure out how I got this one

Northern Lights in South East Alaska Richard Lewis

Northern Lights in South East Alaska by Richard Lewis 2014

You have to wonder when the PA system on a small ship announces “Attention passengers” in the middle of the night if it would be followed by instructions to head to the life raft. Fortunately, In this case, the crew wanted to share with us that a rare occurrence of the Northern Lights was visible. This is not a common sight in South East Alaska during the summer months.

I’ll never figure out how this photograph happened. I almost didn’t bother to set up the camera because this scene required a 30 second exposure on a tripod from a moving ship. Yet, here it is with the added bonus of the Big Dipper which is part of Alaska’s identity as a state.

How I Did It – Some general tips on night photography.

  • Shoot in manual mode.
  • Have your lens aperture wide open
  • Focus the lens manually on infinity because you can’t see to focus and auto focus probably won’t work.
  • Lastly, I always have a little LED flashlight with me to read the focus setting on the lens.


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