Sylvia Grinnell Territorial Park, NU

Written by Dustin Manley

The most beautiful show of the northern lights I saw was performed in Iqaluit. I witnessed them once before in Whitehorse, but it now seems like an opening act for the main event. They were so stunning that a friend and I spent four hours in -54C chasing and photographing them.

Photographing, let alone functioning, in -54C is difficult. Despite dressing in several layers I got a bit frostbitten earlier in the day. Cameras also suffer from extreme cold, so I used gaffer tape to secure a hand warmer next to the battery compartment. It is also imperative to seal your camera gear in an airtight bag before bringing it inside from the extreme cold, or else you risk condensation destroying it.

At Sylvia Grinnell, I had the chance to photograph the qimmiit—North America’s oldest and rarest purebred indigenous domestic canines—against a backdrop of the aurora borealis. Once all my camera batteries were depleted, I laid on the ground and watched the end of the show. The wind was sweeping through the aurora as if it were snow, sending the emerald ribbons pinwheeling across the sky.

What a performance.

All photos by Dustin Manley. All rights reserved.