Colors of Autumn in Alaska

By Sara Goodnick

The colors of autumn come early to Alaska in rich hues of red, yellow, and orange.

We all know Alaska is the largest state in the United States by far. What you cannot fathom is just how large it is unless you go there yourself. Previously, I had been in Anchorage during a summer vacation in Anchorage and Homer. Summer was luscious green with huge flowers (and mosquitoes!).

 Enjoyed another trip to Fairbanks in March for photography fun with some friends. March was extremely cold with deep snow that year, and beautiful. Learning to work my camera in that cold – 20°F, (that was a negative 20 below) was a new experience.

I was fortunate enough to be one of our Arizona Highways PhotoScapes Photo Guides for a photography workshop in early September 2022. We made a large circle around the Richardson, Denali, and Parks Highways over seven days.

With overnights in a couple of lodges along the way, we had plenty of time to photograph to our hearts’ desires. Well, for most photographers, we never want to stop photographing- we seem to be addicted to it as many family members will attest.

This season was experiencing more rain and overcast days than usual. Our photography instructor, Michael DeYoung, a meteorologist as well as a talented and successful commercial photographer, kept us moving along and finding stunning vistas whose colors were enhanced by the rains and gray skies. In fact, most of us were surprised by the amount and intensity of fall color everywhere.

Then, there was always the hoped-for chance of photographing the aurora. Madame Aurora does not always appear, and sometimes she is obscured by clouds. This is true everywhere in the northern hemisphere including Iceland and Norway. Fairbanks is one of the best areas to see her. The University of Northern Alaska in Fairbanks has a lovely museum and features a short informative film about the aurora: what, when, where, and how. We had a wonderful night of aurora capture, but we also discovered so much more out there.

I used my full arsenal of lenses and was very pleased that I had brought all of them along. I used Olympus OM-1 and OMD-Mark 3 mirrorless cameras.

Wide angle, 14-28mm equivalent

Short telephoto, 24-70mm equivalent

Medium telephoto, 70-200mm equivalent

Long telephoto, 80-300 equivalent

 and used a 2x 3xtender at times

Macro 60mm equivalent

With so much to see and do, surrounded by such magnificent wild beauty, the need for sleep was almost annoying, but felt great after so much activity.

Sara Goodnick is a Photo Guide with Arizona Highways PhotoScapes