Stroke of Luck

By: LeRoy Zimmerman


Region: Polar Regions

Site: Anchorage - USA

Date: 2011 September 27


The northern lights are captured above beautiful landscape of Alaska. As noted by the photographer "This is the first time I have ever seen lightning while out shooting auroras in all the 27 years I have been shooting my aurora panoramas. Was quite surprised to see lightning so late in September(the 27th) here so far north in Alaska. Unusual for sure. The first flash seemed so out of place, like one had to ask 'What the heck was that?' It caught my attention out to the east, while I was facing magnetic north looking into into the center of the auroral arc. Then it happened again in the same area, and I realized I was seeing lightning illuminating some very distant clouds, perhaps 15-20 miles away out over College Fjord. Thank god for digital, as I could just set up the camera for 15 second exposures and shoot and shoot and shoot until a bolt lit up the sky. Got quite a variety of flashes that evening for sure! Here is one of my favorites from that special evening. This is a view looking out into the Chugak Mountains from the Knik Valley just north of Anchorage, Alaska. The open Knik River is reflecting the auroral light along with a bit of the flash illuminated sky as well. The Knik Glacier can be seen in the distance very near the center of the frame, slowly sliding out of the mountains and melting into the river itself." LeRoy Zimmerman/

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