The Yukon Experience

This was the hunt camp I was staying in while on my Yukon Adventures. We were not living in some small tent, and we were not suffering in the environment, but that doesn’t mean we had an easy time.

The Yukon wilderness should be both respected through fear and admired through beauty. Right outside this tent was a playground of dancing lights in the sky, and also the potential for death. Grizzly bears were known to frequent these shores, and we had seen many signs of them in the surrounding area. Thankfully none were seen in our camp… but an encounter with a Grizzly at night doesn’t favour the photographer.

Not all nights were clear, and not all nights had a spectacular aurora. This night had a very dim Northern Lights display, but that has its advantages as well – it allows the stars to play a more dominant role and the Milky Way can come into view. The temperatures were above freezing on that night, but just barely – the weather was quickly heading towards winter conditions. I spent roughly 10 minutes taking pictures here before heading back inside to the warmth of the wood stove.

This image is a four-shot fisheye panorama with significant overlap, making sure the connection between frames get mapped properly even with the lens distortion. It’s a very wide angle image, but it shows the vast beauty you can see even when you poke your head outside the tent. Some slight adjustments to colour, contrast and clarity were applied, but no false colours were added – this is very close to what the camera natively captured, and I crawled back into my sleeping bag with a smile on my face.

The tent size is actually a little deceptive in this photograph, as it stretched far longer than it’s width, visible in this image. We had two wall tents connected with a central living / cooking area in between, so social conversations amongst all of the hunters and myself were always comfortable. With at least six people in camp at any given stretch of this adventure, I always felt safe knowing that people with guns slept more lightly than me.

We never encountered a Grizzly at our camp site, but that doesn’t mean they weren’t watching us. And the Northern Lights – I have to believe that every animal finds some beauty in the landscape in which they live. I put out the fire after taking this image as I was the last one to head to bed, hoping for more aurora opportunities to come… and I wasn’t disappointed.

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