Otherwise known as the Northern Lights, the Aurora Borealis refers to streaks of light seen dancing across the sky. They form a breathtaking sight that is quite difficult to capture in a photo. If you have ever seen a photograph of the Aurora Borealis there is no doubt you were awed by the prowess of the photographer. You might have thought that it is a very hard thing to do to capture a shot of these lights but the truth is that it is really not; even you can get a photo of this amazing sight. This does not go to say that it is not hard to capture a shot of the lights; it just goes to say that it is not impossible. Definitely compared to taking a photograph of a landscape, it is much harder but it can still be done.
To be able to take a photo of the Aurora Borealis, you will need the following equipment:
- A DSLR camera that comes with the wide aperture feature. It is always advisable to opt for a lens with a wider angle.
- A battery that is fully charged
- A tripod stand
- A wireless trigger or a shutter release cable. In the event that you are not able to get this, make sure you work with a camera that has a timer. The shutter control cable is however more advisable as it will give you extra control and allow you to have the shutter open for as long as you want. Get a certain device to regulate the shutter to ensure that vibration is minimized.
- A flashlight will also be essential as you will have to operate in the dark.
After you get all your tools ready, it is now time to get to work. Go out of town; the city lights will not work well for you in this situation. You need to be in a place where there are no city lights; this way you will be able to take a much better and clearer photo. Once you have zeroed in on an ideal spot, set up your tools. Attach your camera to the tripod stand and then attach your shutter cable. Keep your fumbling to a minim as you set up the tools.
After you have set up all your tools, set your camera into M. Do not be shocked, yes you will have to use the camera manually for you to take this shot. Your shutter speed should then be set top infinity. Aurora Borealis photography is not a very easy task to accomplish. Focus is very imperative; otherwise you will capture the photos but even you will not want to look at them. When out there in the field, focus your camera on the moon if it is visible. If the moon is not visible work with a light off visible from a distance; communication towers would be an ideal choice. The back button focus has also proved to be very helpful in this situation.
Now it is time to take the shot and this is where things will become a bit tricky. Trial and error has to be employed here. Remember that every camera is different and has a different reaction to low light. It would be very advisable for you to ensure that you are using very low ISO. This will work to ensure that you do not get a photo that has a grainy look. Remember though that the earth is in contact motion and the starts in the sky are affected by this fact. The camera thus perceives the starts in a different way than you do. If you allow your shutter to remain open for a very long time the photo will come out with star trails. Remember that you main aim is to capture a photo of the aurora thus you have no use for the star trails.
For your shot to be perfect, your aperture has to be set right. The moon can be a very good guide for this. In the event that the full moon is visible, close the aperture just a little bit but if the quarter moon is what is visible, it would be wise for you to begin at approximately f/3. Ensure that you adjust the width of your aperture in accordance with the lighting in the environment that you are in.
There you have it aurora borealis photography is not very easy to accomplish but if you follow these steps you will definitely be able to succeed. Do not shy away from it; pack up your bags and find an ideal spot out of town and get to enjoy this amazing practice of photography; you can even turn it into a fun road trip that you can enjoy with your friends and family.