Northern Lights Vacation

When people plan their holiday vacations, the usual choices are the beach, ski resorts, mountain resorts, and theme parks. These are very common options, especially when kids are involved. But if you are tired of going to the same places every year, try planning a Northern Lights vacation. This type of vacation is not only unique, but also quite spectacular.

Everyone has heard of the Northern Lights, which is also known as the aurora borealis. You can visit Alaska and watch the brilliant light show at Fairbanks. Of course, you can always go abroad and visit Iceland, Sweden, Finland or Norway where you can see a fantastic display of lights in the night sky. But why go far when your own country boasts of magnificent Northern Lights display during spring and fall seasons? Plan your trip anytime during February to March or September to October, since these are the best times to witness the Northern Lights.

A Brief Overview of the Northern Lights

The Northern Lights phenomenon causes the sky to dazzle with light. The process actually begins from the surface of the sun; when the sun emits a cloud of gas, called CME, its particles then collide with the magnetic surface of the Earth, which then causes complex changes to occur. The interaction between oxygen and nitrogen atoms in the Earth’s atmosphere results in a glittering light show.

The Northern Lights can occur during the day but are only visible to the naked eye at night. Moreover, the Northern Lights are found only in the northern hemisphere. The southern hemisphere, on the other hand, has its own spectacular lights called Aurora Australis. 

Why Choose Alaska?

If you are planning to watch the Northern Lights within the United States territory, then the best place to go is Alaska. You may go to Norway or Finland if you have time but for those who only have a few days to spare, going to Alaska is ideal.

Fairbanks, Alaska is the best place for a Northern Lights vacation. There are many available hotels and lodges that you can stay in. Viewing the Northern Lights in Alaska is also more affordable than going out of the country.

Tips for a Northern Lights Vacation for Photographers

A lot of photographers wish to capture the beauty of the Northern Lights. When they visit places like Alaska, Northern Lights are always at the top of their list of must-capture images. If you are thinking of capturing the beautiful Northern Lights on camera, then here are some tips to help you:

  • Basic Equipment: Using a 35mm DSLR camera and tripod with remote trigger is advised. The camera setting should be at Infinity.
  •  Photo Gear: It’s important to have a wide-angle zoom photo lens like an f2.8 or lower. Prime lens with fixed focal lengths is also recommended. Extra batteries are a must.
  • Taking a Picture: Good exposure times are 20-40 seconds per picture. Avoid holding the camera—use a triggering device instead because this reduces the risk of shaking. 
  • Expectations: You cannot predict when the Northern Lights appear and for how long. It’s best to be patient and learn to endure the cold weather.

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