Wednesday, October 23, 2013

A Cheaper Way to Watch an Aurora

If you wanted to see an aurora you could choose northern Europe, Alaska or Canada as your destination, but apparently, the best weather, and therefore the best chances of securing your aurora viewing would be in Alaska.
Now if you did go, you'd probably want to take a few photos or videos of the event. But how good your photos would be would depend on the quality of your equipment and the quality of the auroras while you were there.
So if you wanted to take that a step further and make a business out of photographing auroras then you'd need to get the best equipment (able to withstand below freezing temperatures) and spend a lot of time going back and forth to Alaska.
Yesterday I met Tetsuya Nakagaki at one of his aurora cinema nights that he conducts all over Japan. He has traveled to Alaska from Japan 40 times, and he calculates that in travel alone he has spent over US$200,000 collecting images of auroras. That certainly makes the cinema fee of 1,200yen (around US$12) seem pretty reasonable.
I have always been a big fan of Michio Hoshino's photography. I've never been able to forget the playful images of the bears in his photos of Alaska. Not to mention that photo of a moose chasing a grizzly bear! And Nakagaki's images of auroras over the top of a lake while he sits by the fire (probably sipping cocoa and eating marshmallows) makes it hard to resist. I hope I can make it there soon!
You know, I'm sure Kenji Miyazawa would have loved to visit Alaska and watch an aurora. 

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