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Napa Valley Sign - Napa Photographer - Aurora Borealis


An absolute phenomenon that truly happens once in a lifetime this far south. I began the evening looking at the sky around 10:30 pm with my naked eye, but didn’t see anything but a faint purple hue near the horizon. But when I got my camera out and took a long exposure photo, I was in absolute awe. Four hours later, I found myself at the renowned Welcome to Napa Valley sign on Hwy 29 and captured this along with the below other photographs. And, believe it or, I was the only person there. How lucky was I?! Right place at the right time in all it’s colorful glory.

napa valley aurora borealis with vineyard by napa photographer Suzanne Hawken
napa photographer Suzanne Hawken Napa Valley Welcome Sign during Aurora Borealis
napa valley sign with aurora borealis by napa photographer Suzanne Hawken
napa valley welcome sign and aurora borealis photographed by napa photographer Suzanne Hawken
napa photographer Suzanne Hawken took this napa valley sign during aurora borealis 2024


The chill in the air was a welcome change as was the unusual fog we were experiencing in the Valley. There’s not much that gets me out of bed before 7 a.m. but with fog in the forecast, an exception was made.  I drove from the floor of Napa Valley up into the hills of the Chiles Valley AVA, very close to the Nichelini Family Winery – one of the oldest family-owned wineries in Napa Valley (dating back to the 1890’s). Searching for a shot of the fog rolling through the vineyards, this beautiful forest caught my eye and I pulled over. It’s these captures – the ones that are unexpected – that I love the most. I hope you love this one too. It was, indeed, a heavenly forest.


While congregations of visitors from near and far take photos of the south side ‘Welcome To Napa Valley’ sign, I take foot in a different direction. About 500 feet north of the iconic sign, located on the west side of Hwy 29 between Yountville and St. Helena, is where you would have found me taking this photo. Fall came very late here in The Valley, but when it arrived, it’s vibrant colors burst at the seams. This photo is taken of the beautiful winery, Far Niente, on a very foggy day – the first day of Fall’s daylight savings (November 5th, 2023) – just a few minutes before the clouds opened up and the rain began to pour.


Faust Haus winery in St. Helena looks haunted on a mid-summer day – haunted in a good way that is! But, on this day, the first day of daylight savings time in 2023, it looked even more so. The rain was pouring down and the fog was rolling in over the hills in the not-so-far distance. It was a perfect day to capture this gorgeous landscape with the fall colors truly popping out from the rest of the Halloween-ish surroundings. It may not have been Halloween anymore, but this winery was definitely saying, “Hold my Pinot”!

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