Photographing the Aurora


“Welcome to Alta-Can Aurora Tours. I look forward to assist you in photographing one of Nature’s wonders, the Aurora Borealis. I will be with you during Aurora viewing and available to assist you”.Bill Rockwell

What you need

  1. A camera that can be manually controlled, either a film camera or digital camera. Your camera should be able to keep its shutter open for 30 seconds or more. If only 15 seconds, higher ISO is required i.e. 800 ISO instead of 400.
  2. A tripod: since the camera lens is open for a long period of time, any movement will blur the photo.
  3. A cable shutter release.
  4. Film: 400– 800 ISO (film camera).
  5. Wide angle lens: 10-28 mm, preferable but no bigger than 50 mm.

How to photograph the Aurora

  1. Attach camera to tripod and cable release to camera.
  2. Set camera to B (bulb) or T (time setting).
  3. Set camera lens to lowest f-stop or widest opening.
  4. Set camera focus on infinity.
  5. Aim at Aurora and open lens with cable release.
  6. Close lens after 15, 20 or 30 second exposure (ask Bill about exposure time).

Many cameras can do this but SLR cameras, whether film or digital, tend to provide the best results when combined with a tripod and the right lens.

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