The Northern Lights — or Aurora Borealis, or Polar Spirits, or whatever you’d like to call it — is far up my bucket list. Like really far up. So far up I often have dreams of standing in the middle of a frozen landscape, completely alone, looking up at this celestial display, awestruck.

My dreams are photographer Alexis Coram‘s reality. Twice over the past year Alexis has travelled to Alaska where she’s captured incredible photographs and time-lapses of the aurora at full-tilt, dancing the night away.


Alexis’ first trip to Alaska was last year, and she returned with a time-lapse called Technicolour Alaska, which was picked up and honored by the likes of the Huffington Post and Nat Geo.

This year, in an attempt to re-capture the magic she felt on that first trip, she took a long weekend trip to Alaska. At first it seemed the clouds would kill all hope of another incredible time-lapse… but then they cleared:

I headed back to Alaska this February for a long weekend, hoping to catch another glimpse of the Northern Lights and to spend more time getting to know this beautiful part of Alaska. Of the 4 nights I spent at a cabin just outside Fairbanks, 2 nights were entirely overcast. I wasn’t hopeful that I’d get enough footage to make another film but the night before I left was electric…

The best storm I’ve ever seen lit up the sky for hours upon hours and in every direction — this was a game-changer. I ended up shooting for 7 hours straight before heading to the airport for a 6am flight home. “Awake” is the result.

“The title for this film can be interpreted many ways but for me it represents the feeling I get when I’m standing beneath the Aurora… more awake, more alive, entirely enraptured,” Alexis told us in an email. “It’s hard to describe with words – when you’ve seen it for yourself, you know.”

Fortunately, the time-lapse above and images on her 500px profile do a fantastic job of explaining it for her. For us dreamers who have never stood beneath the aurora borealis, incredible creations like “Awake” are as close as we can get… for now.



For those of you hungry for technical details, Alexis was kind enough to provide a few of those too.

According to her, all the footage was captured using a Nikon D800 paired with a Sigma 35mm, and Nikon DF paired with a Sigma 15mm FE. Both were perched atop Induro tripods. We also asked her about her processing workflow. Here’s what she had to say:

My typical workflow is: Import photos to Adobe Lightroom -> process each sequence using LR Timelapse/Adobe Lightroom -> create each time lapse sequence and apply motion effects in Adobe After Effects -> compose the film in Adobe Premiere Pro.

In some cases where I had artificial light sources create flicker or harsh highlights (for example lighting up the trees), I imported the After Effects composition into Adobe Photoshop and applied masking to ensure maximum consistency across the sequence.


To see more from Alexis (and you want to… trust me) check her out on 500px, visit her website, or give her a follow on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.