Summoning the Spirits: 10 Aurora Images from the Canadian Rockies

The Northern Lights, or aurora borealis, are by far one the most majestic and awe-inspiring natural phenomena we can enjoy during our time on this Earth. Like spirits in the sky, they enchant and entrance us, keeping us up for hours on end as they move through the sky, disappearing and reappearing again with sudden and surprising new patterns.

Capturing them involves a combination of factors: keeping a keen eye on the data (you’ll find a list of Aurora Watching Web Resources here), being ready when the light show begins (even if it’s 3am…), and finding clear, dark skies to optimize your chances of seeing them. Luckily, here in the Canadian Rockies, we have very little light pollution, so when conditions are right, you’ve got a good chance of seeing them.

Here are ten of my favourite aurora images from the past year! For me, having people in the shots adds scale and a sense of wonder for these magical, sometimes eerie, lights in the sky.

Awestruck by the auroras at Lake Minnewanka. Photo by Paul Zizka Photography.
Awestruck by the auroras at Lake Minnewanka, Banff National Park. Photo by Paul Zizka Photography.
Ice climbing under the aurora borealis at the Athabasca Glacier in Banff National Park. Photo by Paul Zizka Photography.
Ice climbing under the aurora borealis at the Athabasca Glacier in Jasper National Park. Photo by Paul Zizka Photography.

Auroras at Panther Falls, Banff National Park. Photo by Paul Zizka Photography.
Auroras at Panther Falls, Banff National Park. Photo by Paul Zizka Photography.
A memorable ski under the dancing lights at Lake O'Hara. Photo by Paul Zizka Photography.
A memorable ski under the dancing lights at Lake O’Hara, Yoho National Park. Photo by Paul Zizka Photography.
Peace and serenity at Peyto Lake. Photo by Paul Zizka Photography.
Peace and serenity at Peyto Lake, Banff National Park. Photo by Paul Zizka Photography.
Ice climbing under the aurora borealis at the Athabasca Glacier in Banff National Park. Photo by Paul Zizka Photography.
Ice climbing under the aurora borealis at the Athabasca Glacier in Jasper National Park. Photo by Paul Zizka Photography.
Back-bending at Bow Lake. Photo by Paul Zizka Photography.
Back-bending at Bow Lake, Banff National Park. Photo by Paul Zizka Photography.
Dancing lights over Cascade Mountain, Banff National Park. Photo by Paul Zizka Photography.
Dancing lights over Cascade Mountain, Banff National Park. Photo by Paul Zizka Photography.
Aurora show at Lake Minnewanka. Photo by Paul Zizka Photography.
Aurora show at Lake Minnewanka, Banff National Park. Photo by Paul Zizka Photography.
Auroras high on Mt. Robson. Photo by Paul Zizka Photography.
Auroras high on Mt. Robson. Photo by Paul Zizka Photography.