This Story originally ran in the Winter 2014 (V8I1) edition of Yukon North of Ordinary.
Joseph Bradley’s craft is all about sharing moments of beauty with the rest of the world. He’s well aware it takes a great deal of patience to capture his favourite subject—the majestic aurora borealis.
“They are challenging and exhilarating to photograph,” the Whitehorse-based photographer admits. “Many people miss them and are not able to see the lights, so I try to capture the experience and give them a glimpse of their beauty.”
While growing up on Prince Edward Island, Bradley was drawn to nature and shooting the province’s scenic vistas with his 35mm
camera. That passion led him to enroll in the photography program at Humber College, in Toronto. After earning his degree, he remained in Ontario, later taking digital-imaging courses to further his artistic education. Eventually, the Yukon’s breathtaking environment enticed him to make another move, in 2006.
“I love the energy and the peace I get from the Yukon. Very few places in Canada offer such beauty and tranquility,” he says. “How many places in Canada can you have mountains, lakes, and northern lights?”
Bradley loves the meditative nature of his calling and the limitless possibilities when combining photography with technology. Taking portraits and capturing landscapes are among his favourite subject matter, but pointing his lens upward is at the top of the list.
“I dress very warm and wait, looking up at the night sky. It is so peaceful and beautiful. Then they pop and I feel like a kid again,” he says of capturing the northern lights. “When the portals open above your head, it’s like God sending spirits down to earth.”
The most memorable display he recounts happened eight years ago on the Fish Lake Road, in Whitehorse. The lights danced in every direction that night, in vibrant purples, greens, and reds. For this photo essay, Bradley looked through his collection to share some of his best captures of the stunning scenery up above. Y