One winter afternoon, I set off for a high tarn in Alaska's Chugach Mountains. The tarn has a Northern view, and the Aurora was forecast to be exceptional. I was hoping for Aurora reflections in the ice on the tarn, with surrounding mountains for context.
I arrived here about 6:30 pm Saturday night. A freezing gale was roaring through this high mountain pass, and though I was bundled in six layers top, and five below, I shivered all night and kept wishing I'd brought one more layer, and warmer gloves and boots.
No sooner had I arrived, and the Aurora came out. It was quite a promising first wave, but it was over before I could set up for photography. Worse, an overcast drifted in, blanketing out the whole sky at my location.
I stayed awake all night long, buffeted behind a boulder to stay out of the hurricane most of the night while overcast prevailed. All night I could see a glow through the overcast, and knew that a spectacular display was going on overhead, but out of sight. Every time a break in the clouds presented itself, I'd clamber across the boulder field in the dark, trying not to get blown over (and not always succeeding) and racing to find a composition that worked for each hole in the clouds I was allowed, before it too disappeared.
Finally, at around 6:30 Sunday morning, this view opened up for me, which worked for the composition I'd envisioned in my climb up here. After all, I was only allowed a more subtle Aurora display, but I still loved how the light played on the tortured ice of that high, gale-swept mountain tarn.
This image was captured in RAW format at full resolution with a Canon 5d Mk III camera, 16-35mm f/2.8 L II lens, and Gitzo 2542L tripod with Acratech GP Ballhead, 16mm, 20 sec, f/2.8, ISO 2500, 17.7 MB, 3810x5714 px.