Top tips for capturing stunning northern lights photos
posted Wednesday, April 18, 2018 at 10:30 AM EDT
While visiting Iceland and shooting with fellow photographer Mads Peter Iversen, Nigel Danson was treated to some fantastic aurora photo opportunities. Being able to shoot the northern lights is the dream of many landscape photographers. Capturing a great aurora shot is not as easy as simply pointing the camera up at the sky, there's a lot of preparation and thought that goes into it. There are no perfect camera settings either, as every display is different in terms of colors, intensity and duration. With that said, there are certain things you can do to ensure you have a good starting point for any aurora photograph.
In the video below, you'll notice that Danson and Iversen headed to their desired location well before nightfall, which allows you to easily set up a composition and figure out how you want to set up your shot in the event that northern lights do occur, which is never guaranteed. Deferring to Iversen's experience, the video below delivers three top tips for aurora photography. Firstly, you need the proper gear, including a sturdy tripod and a camera and lens combination which can handle low-light situations, which means a sensor that delivers good high ISO images and a lens which has a fast maximum aperture, such as f/2.8 or faster. You can make do with a slower lens if your camera can pick up the slack. You will also want a fairly wide lens to capture a lot of the night sky, particularly if it's a great aurora display.
Another tip is to be aware of the weather. A cloudy sky is of course no good because you won't be able to see the aurora. However, a few clouds can make for a very dynamic image if they're in the right area of the sky. It can get very cold at night, especially in areas you're more likely to see the northern lights, so be sure to dress warm and be able to keep your gear warm if need be. It may not be strictly a photography tip, but if you're miserable when out shooting, your photography will often suffer as a result. For other great tips, watch Danson's video below.
(Via Nigel Danson)