Last post I talked about my love of the Aurora Borealis, I suggest you first read that HERE I believe it will inspire you! Today I want to share a little bit of how to shoot the Aurora Borealis, I will do this in a couple of parts, so I don’t bore you with my lack of wit and charm… Ok I know not all of you have the correct location for Aurora Borealis capturing, BUT maybe one day you will want to come visit your old friend Jesse, and I won’t have to spend all night explaining to you what to do when we are out shooting…
The Aurora Borealis comes in many shapes and sizes, and also intensities. So people ask “How do I shoot The Aurora Borealis?” all the time. I have trial and errored A LOT, so hopefully we can remove some of the error, and in turn, maximise your time capturing mind-blowing images!
First rule, and yes this is a RULE – get a tripod! Haha, I mean I think we all know this by now but this is going to be important!
I love landscape images clearly and have many different locations for grabbing them, so for me, it is very important to have something interesting I am going to frame up. I ask the question, “OK, would I like this shot withOUT the Aurora in it?” So do the same, force this to the next level. The Lights speak for themselves, yes of course, but we want to create STUNNING captures, and having a great scene is integral! Take that great scene and ADD the Aurora to it, now you have something amazing, and super rare!
So keeping that in mind I have discovered many “spots”. I spend a ton of gas driving around the country, PLANNING. This is a HUGE part of my process. My vehicle has a GPS, so I find a great spot in the daylight (It is a little easier to locate good spots in the daylight, believe it or not…) and save them on my GPS, be sure to write a note about any pin you drop!! I have completely forgotten about what a place was, get there, and it be only for sunsets… If you don’t have a built-in GPS just use Google Maps on your phone! Just as good, better actually. I just like to save my battery on my phone in case I get stuck out in the middle of nowhere, at -35C, at 2am….
It’s one thing to find a great location, but you also MUST consider the light! Finding a place where you are not looking toward a town is critical. Some nights the Aurora isn’t very strong, so find places that look North (That’s where they shine brightest), and a spot that won’t have lights interfering. The moon can also interfere, and “blow out” what would have been a decent show. This happened to me the other night actually. I guess it is safe to say a little luck does come into shooting the Aurora Borealis, successfully anyway.
Then set up, be ready to move quickly! Speed can have a huge part in grabbing amazing Aurora Borealis shots. You might not get a lot of time with them firing off! I have seen Aurora flare up for 5 minutes and then poof! Gone, and don’t show up again that night! So speed is of the essence. This is why I plan out spots before hand. As soon as I see the Aurora I am off! I don’t have to worry about trying to find a suitable location, I can just get there and start clicking!!
Next time I will get into some camera settings and creative ideas to try as I try to answer the question “How do I shoot The Aurora Borealis?”
KEEP READING! PART 2 RIGHT HERE
Equipment Used: Nikon D600, Nikkor 24-85mm G, Nikkor 50mm D, Yongnuo YN560-TX III Remote trigger and Flash, Polaroid Battery Grip, Lowepro Transit Backpack 350 AW.