The best images rarely come together on accident. Yes, I know, sometimes serendipity will place you at the perfect spot in the perfect light with all the gear you need and you are able to click away. But that is a darn rare thing. Good images, particularly landscape photography, almost always require a bit of planning. The season, times of day, weather, and your location, should all be considered before you head to the field. Though this is particularly true on multi-day trips, planning can be useful even for shoots around your local area.
I once got an inquiry about one of my private photo workshops from a gentleman who wanted to photograph the northern lights in the mountains of northern Alaska. This is an area I know well and a place I regularly lead photo tours, so I was eager to send along the information he requested. Until I got to his last sentence; he was planning his trip for July.
A curtain of aurora over the Dalton Highway and Brooks Range of northern Alaska. If you want to see the northern lights, it’s best to not plan a visit in the summer.