Chasing the Overland Train Aurora

There are some photos that prove illusive.  They require a specific set of conditions, and of course actually being there when those conditions occur.  The Yukon Transportation Museum’s USA Military Overland Train, has been tempting me with one of those illusive images for quite some time–a photo of the aurora visible over the train.

Aurora over the YTM's Overland Train

An aurora display on February 18th, 2014, finally provided the first real opportunity to capture this.  Of course, I was not just after a still image of the aurora, but a time lapse of the the aurora dancing over the land train.  The still above was snapped during the set up for a quick two-axis moving time lapse using an Emotimo TB3–to run while setting up for the real shot.  Unfortunately, the time lapse didn’t work (due to embarassing human error…).  I guess that is a good lesson on not rushing the setup of your time lapse.

The time lapse shot I was really after, required a bit more setup, and made use of a nice 3-axis move on the TB3 & a Dynamic Perception Stage 0 dolly.  It required a bit more setup, and a bit more time.  Unfortunately, during the setup, that is when the aurora hit a rather spectacular activity peak.  A couple shots from the setup captured some of this display.

Overland Train Aurora
Aurora over the Overland TrainAurora over the Overland Train












I guess this is always the challenge of capturing the aurora — knowing where to point the camera before the best of the aurora have actually happened.  By the time the time lapse started, the aurora had calmed down considerably.  Better luck next time, I guess…

Aurora over the YTM’s Overland Train from Tyler Kuhn on Vimeo.


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