Alaska Collection

There are plenty of places to observe the Northern Lights—Greenland, the Yukon, Fairbanks. But here in the funky little town of Talkeetna, Alaska, there's something extra-special.

Renowned Northern Lights photographer Aurora Dora Redman says its due to a unique combination.

"We have a beautiful landscape with the Alaska Range close to us and the rivers all coming together here in Talkeetna," she says. "And because we don’t have light pollution it makes for some amazing dark skies. So, the darkness matched with this beautiful scenery—it's incredible."

In many of Redman's stunning photos, some of the tallest peaks in North America are featured with the Aurora Borealis dancing above. You've got Mt. Foraker, Hunter and Denali on the bottom, the Aurora, Andromeda and the Milky Way above.

Talkeetna Alaskan Lodge

Photo credit: Aurora Borealis dancing above the Talkeetna Alaskan Lodge. Photo courtesy of Dora Redman.  

Besides the high peaks, Redman loves the varied topography of the Talkeetna area, including the vast rivers like the Susitna, Chulitna and Talkeetna all converging here as well. "It's the richest area we have," she says. 

And shooting photos from the broad observation deck at the Talkeetna Alaskan Lodge, which faces north towards Denali, provides the ultimate lookout (with a cozy fireplace just steps away).  

"Aurora" Dora Redman at her gallery

Aurora Dora Redman at her gallery in Talkeetna

"Here in Talkeetna, we're at Latitude 62, so we're north enough to see the auroras," says Redman, who has been shooting photography of the Aurora Borealis for 17 years.

For her, it's more than just a passion. The bustling Aurora Dora Gallery in Talkeetna showcases her talent and passion. She's also a keen instructor who loves to share her knowledge and expertise. 

"So, the darkness matched with this beautiful scenery - it's incredible." - Aurora Dora Redman

"The Auroras are amazing," she says. "I want to help more and more people take great photos of them, and then share their images with the world."

Here are four of Dora's tips to getting the most out of your Aurora photography:

  1. Dark and Clear: You can't control the weather, but you can remember to be patient and not be disappointed with what nature is up to, Redman says. 
  2. Focus on infinity: Set your ISO between 800 and 3200, your aperture between f/2.8 and f/5.6 and your shutter speed from between 15 to 30 seconds. "To catch both the light and the dark, " Redman says. 
  3. Keep it still: Use a tripod and a remote trigger to reduce camera shake. If you don't have a remote trigger, use the timer on your camera.
  4. Expect to not sleep: Fortunately, or perhaps predictably, Redman's a nighttime kind of person. "I'm always awake," she says. "I can't imagine myself sleeping while the Auroras are dancing outside."

Aurora over the mountains

Photo credit: Iconic Alaska (Alaska Range, Big Dipper and North Star) shot in August 27-28, 2015, from Talkeetna Alaskan Lodge. Photo courtesy of Dora Redman.  

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