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




All of us on the course have about 10-20 versions of this shot. Many of them look almost the same, but the people are in a slightly different position. So why is that important? Why take another one the same with the people in a slightly different position? I took one where three young women were right at the front of the frame, lit up by the light from outside the tunnel. The image suddenly became about them, rather than about the scene in general. Now if they were my best friends, maybe that would have been a great photo, but, to me, the scene and the crowd are more important than three specific people I’ve never met and probably never will.