Northern Lights Photography

Woodbutcher
21st June 2012, 22:15
Hi all,I wonder if anybody can give me a few pointers about taking photos of the Northern Lights.I have been told that using a digital camera is no good for the job,so i have dug out my Pentax P30 SLR that i bought in 1986.I know that i will need long exposures,but how long ?,and will need a tripod,but what on earth does RAW mean ?,I am no David Bailly. Cheers.

lamptrimmer
21st June 2012, 22:32
Hi Woodbutcher
If you google in RAW the Wikipedia site has lots of info. about RAW
lamptrimmer

Woodbutcher
21st June 2012, 22:47
Hi Woodbutcher
If you google in RAW the Wikipedia site has lots of info. about RAW
lamptrimmer

Thanks Lampy, will have a Google

Chris Isaac
22nd June 2012, 07:18
Can I refer you to this, it may help.
http://www.alaskaphotographyblog.com/how-to-photograph-the-northern-lights-with-a-digital-camera/

trotterdotpom
22nd June 2012, 10:46
First step is be there at the same time as the lights! Why won't a digital camera work please?

John T

Compass Rose
22nd June 2012, 15:25
The use of a digital camera shouldn't be a disadvantage, take a look at this chaps photo's using a Nikon D90 , he also has a tutorial on how to take photos of the Aurora Borealis. Good Luck.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/aigle_dore/6973044581/in/photostream/

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zuojVi6u2xY&feature=plcp&context=C3958e09UDOEgsToPDskK0rqNErAtMYKC0aJ9-IIsE

Woodbutcher
22nd June 2012, 23:29
The use of a digital camera shouldn't be a disadvantage, take a look at this chaps photo's using a Nikon D90 , he also has a tutorial on how to take photos of the Aurora Borealis. Good Luck.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/aigle_dore/6973044581/in/photostream/

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zuojVi6u2xY&feature=plcp&context=C3958e09UDOEgsToPDskK0rqNErAtMYKC0aJ9-IIsE

Thanks for that,what great photos.

gaelsail
23rd June 2012, 08:54
The main thing that kept cropping up in conversation with 'professional' photographers on a Northern Lights cruise was not to use flash.

Cisco
23rd June 2012, 09:20
The main thing that kept cropping up in conversation with 'professional' photographers on a Northern Lights cruise was not to use flash.

Back when it was newly opened my cousin took a photo of the Forth Road Bridge with flash from about 5 miles away....... got a good photo of a dyke........

Speaking of which...heard on the radio about 18 months ago 'Forth Road Bridge closed on a/c wx for the first time in living memory'.......oh OK...

Woodbutcher
25th June 2012, 07:56
Well, if my pics dont come out,theres always postcards.

airds
26th July 2012, 11:56
This should inspire you
https://vimeo.com/21294655

John Rogers
26th July 2012, 17:48
This should inspire you
https://vimeo.com/21294655

Excellent Light Show.

Woodbutcher
27th July 2012, 20:50
Thanks for that,cant wait to get there and see it for real.

gordy
28th July 2012, 08:18
This should inspire you
https://vimeo.com/21294655

That's fantastic!

peteloud
4th August 2012, 21:51
The big advantage of a digital camera for such an unusual subject as the Northern Lights is that you can take a shot, check immediately. If it is not right, change your settings and taken another shot, and so on until you get it right.

It shouldn't take more than 3-4 shots, and 2-3 minutes before you've got it right. Then delete the test shots and take more good shots.

Do not expect the colours to come out as you saw them at the time. The colours depend upon the internal processing in the camera, etc.. Take your shots in Raw then in post processing in Photoshop you can adjust the colours to suit.

I personally prefer to try and have the same colours in my image as what I saw, but most people who take shots such as sunsets etc. seem to prefer over-enhanced colours that look spectacular, but are unrealistic to those who know about such things.

Woodbutcher
4th August 2012, 23:14
Thanks Pete,I am looking to buy a digital camera at the moment,but with so many on the market its difficult to choose,I am going to take my Pentax SLR and tripod as well,so i should get something.All the best.

DURANGO
5th August 2012, 06:53
Thanks Pete,I am looking to buy a digital camera at the moment,but with so many on the market its difficult to choose,I am going to take my Pentax SLR and tripod as well,so i should get something.All the best. And if all else fails there is always the trusted easel ,have a great trip mate .

peteloud
5th August 2012, 10:40
I have owned, (and still own), many cameras over the past 50 years and my favourite was the Pentax Spotmatic SLR that I bought second-hand in Oslo in 1971. Some of my best photos were taken on that. Check out my Gallery on SN.

But If I was expecting to see the Northern Lights I wouldn't bother taking a film camera.

If you buy a digital camera for such tricky shots I would suggest that you get a camera that is not automatic only. I suspect that it would be best to use manual settings. Once I got it as best as I could, I'd bracket the shots, so I had spare shots over & under exposed just in case the primary shot wasn't as good as I thought. (Actually I'd probably fuse them together to produce a better final result, but that gets pretty technical).