Photographing the Northern Lights – Take Two

Last night, we were pretty lucky with the lights. They were fairly low in the sky (apparently meaning they’re not that strong) but it was much easier to see them with bare eyes and appreciate that they were moving than it had been the previous night. The previous night they had just looked like a greenish tinge in the sky that could have been a cloud highlighted by light pollution. Anyway, here are the results:

IMG_1772DNG18 mm, 30 sec, f4.0, ISO 8000

So, my ISO was waaaay too high and I’ve had to reduce the noise on Lightroom afterwards. Part of that came with not knowing the limits of the camera, and part of it came with leaving the remote shutter clicker thing back at the cabin, so being limited to 30 sec exposures. On top of that, part of the problem may have stemmed from the fact that I turned the brightness down on the screen so much that I overcompensated when exposing my photos. OR, I could just have a lot to learn! Anyway, as a result, my photos are quite noisy, especially in the foreground. But, when you’ve just seen the Northern Lights, who cares?!

IMG_1774DNG15 mm, 30 sec, f4.0, ISO 8000

IMG_1775DNG 15 mm, 30 sec, f4.0, ISO 8000

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Pushing my technical limits!

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A large part of the course was in Borough Market. The instructor made a big deal of getting the light right at the start, Use manual mode. Use metering, Take a load of pictures of absolutely anything just to get the settings for the camera right before you even start to take the pictures you want to take. For me, I initially really struggled with this – I have a really bad habit of just reverting to Aperture priority and letting the camera do the work. However, the instructor showed us quite a few photos that had been taken on Auto, compared with photos taken when the photographer had chosen the settings, and the latter were substantially more atmospheric, every time.

St Paul’s Cathedral

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I don’t think the intention of the 36Exp course I went on at the weekend was for me to take photos in Black and White, but that’s what I started to experiment with. I’m also not sure this counts as street photography. It’s more like my architectural photographs that I love taking, just that it happens to have a couple of people in it!