REVIEW - AURORAíS WINTER WALTZ

Klensch, Michael, Auroraís Winter Waltz. Alpenglow Photo, Skagway, Alaska. Hardbound. 63 pages. Profusely color illustrated. $16.95.

Michael Klensch of Skagway, Alaska, has the soul of a poet and the skill of a photographer. He describes his truly beautiful pictures of the aurora borealis with short essays on Classical views of the the sky and its starry inhabitants. The format is oblong, which makes for a nice lay-out, and the color reproducation is outstanding.

Thereís a short lecture on Aurora and Sol and the Pleiades of Roman lore, as well as a scientific explanation of the cause of the Northern Lights, which isnít nearly as much fun as Roman myths. That could be my own bias, although I never could see more than the belt of Orion and thought the ancients were really stretching it in some of the constellations.

The Valkeries of the Norse are brought into the story as well, although itís a bit disappointing that none of the Tlingit legends are referred to.

However, the stunning photographs, most taken from Skagway but some from northern British Columbia and the Yukon are included, show the various colors and shapes of the lights. He also shows a surely prize-winning double exposure of the sun and the aurora streaming down to soften his lecture on the solar winds and magnetic fields for the unscientific.

He also captures some great shots of the moon and Venus rising above the mountains of Skagway. Perhaps the most spectacular event he witnessed was a night on the beach when all was red about him, and a whale and her calf breached, as did some seals, in a red mist.

The two most amazing things to this non-astronomer are that he used only ordinary 35mm cameras and no tricks other than the one double exposure, and, most of all, that a resident of Southeast Alaska found enough clear nights to photograph the sky.

Buy two copies - one for you and one for your sky pals Down South.

D. L.

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