Lights Dancing over Pangnirtung

The northern community is a pretty small one.  Often once you meet someone it’s just a matter of time until you are in the same place at the same time again.  Sometimes it’s in the Iqaluit Airport, or a different community..but trust me you will at some point in time chances are you will run into them again.  A few weeks ago I got an email from Mark.  Mark is  someone I met the summer of 2009 here in Pang.  In 2009, we did 3 different hikes together…one up Mt. Duval, one at the end of the road-past the gravel pit and the last one was out past town towards Cumberland Sound! He’s part of the reason I did so much hiking..and got to see so much around Pang…often he, Kristen and Christine would come knocking on my door on a Saturday morning (not too early) but early enough I was still in my pjs… and sometimes they had woken me up.  But they would just say get ready…today we want to go here..and you are coming! Then they would wait while I got my hiking gear on, threw some food in a pack, and grabbed my camera.  For that I’m really grateful, I have a heap of memories from that summer instead of memories of ‘sleeping in’ or ‘watching tv’!

This week Pangnirtung had the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) team in town and Mark was part of that team.   At some point in the future I will tell you more about the TRC and the public event that I attended..but tonight I’d like to share with you some photos I took with Mark out on the ice!

As with any night photography in the arctic… usually there’s a time that you start to get cold.  Normally you just keep your toes/fingers moving…and stay active and you are OK! In attempts to keep warm I randomly decided to run and flash my flashlight randomly through my long exposure.  The result I think is pretty darn cool…

Playing with light while the Northern Lights Dance!

The lights playing over town… I love that Orion’s Belt can be seen in this photo… One of the amazing thing to me is how different cultures have stories to explain the same star constellations.  I just recently came across the Inuit story to explain the stars in Orion’s Belt..(and a few others around Orion!) It is known as Ullaktut.

I’m going to include the story from “The Arctic Sky – Inuit Astronomy, Star Lore, and Legend” by: John MacDonald 


A legend relating to the constellation Ullakut – the three stars of Orion’s belt.

In the legend they are known as Ullaktut (the runners). There are three stars, slanted upwards and evenly separated. They are most visible. Directly in front of these stars is a big star with many smaller stars around it. The big star is called Nanurjuk (the polar bear); …the smaller stars are known as the Qimmiit (the dogs).

The three runners-the Ullaktut-came across a polar bear at night and are known to have climbed up to the sky; that is the legend. They are quite visible. They are used for navigational purposes because they are easy to identify. The Ullaktut legend has it that there were three runners…actually there were four of them. They were out hunting and, during the night, they came upon a polar bear. As they were chasing the bear, one of the runners got really hot and took off his mitts. As he ran he dropped his mitts. After a while, this runner noticed he didn’t have his mitts, so he went back for them and that is how he returned to Earth. He was the fourth person. Had he continued after the bear he would have been the fourth star. He was thus the only one of the runners that made it back to camp. That is the legend of the Ullaktut stars.

Lights over Pangnirtung

Mt. Duval.... and lights over my house!

Then I started to take some random photos shining my flashlight at my camera… I stood in the same spot for next two photos but only ‘parts’ of my body were captured in the photo….

What part of my body do you see in the top photo? in the bottom photo? 

I did take some other really fun photos.. with Mark using a flashlight to write messages for his wife! But since those aren’t my messages to pass along…I’ll leave them off the blog! So the last photo I’ll leave you with tonight a little star gazing over the Pang Pass… (probably one of the first ones I took last night!) Every day I can’t help but think I’m so damn lucky to live in such a beautiful place! 

Thanks Mark for an awesome night.  ‘Til the next time we meet… I’m guessing it will be in the Yukon…but you never know where our paths might cross again!

About SarahontheRoad

This blog is a spot to record my adventures in life while living where ever I may be!

Posted on February 16, 2012, in night photography. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Those are so amazing and you are really inspiring me to get out and enjoy winter while we have it!

    • For sure…I saw all your fresh snow on your blog that you got this week and smiled! (Our snow in town blew out of town..and there’s just crusty stuff left…) So take advantage of that awesome white fluffy stuff.. and enjoy it!

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