Date: 29/10/2015

Six essentials to pack to capture the Northern Lights on your camera

Author: Vanessa
Location: Canada, Finland, Greenland, Iceland, Ireland, Norway, Russia, Scotland, Sweden, Faroe Islands, Wales, Estonia

Seeing the Northern Lights is an unforgettable experience. If you are lucky enough to see them, the moment will probably be one of your most cherished memories of your trip to the magnetic North. Standing under the roof of the sky and watching the dance of the cosmic lights has a special place on many people’s bucket lists - and for good reason! However, if you want to bring things to the next level and capture the magic of the Northern lights on camera you need to keep a few things in mind in order to make your experience an enjoyable one.


  1. A tripod is essential


Even though carrying this bulky gadget might appear to be a hindrance, once you start shooting your pictures in the freezing cold you’ll realize that your investment has been worthwhile. Having a solid and fixated ground for your camera will allow you to have stable and crystal-clear pictures even when using long exposure. As you will photograph the night sky using a larger model will give you a lot more comfort when taking the pictures. In order to get a wide variety of angles you should also think about getting a tripod with a ballhead. Some of our Northern Lights photography tours include tripod hire and some accommodation providers also have a stock of tripods to use. Do let us know if this is important to you and we’ll be pleased to make recommendations for you. You can also buy mini tripods like this one on Amazon which are good for placing on a wall or table whilst you try to shoot pictures of the Aurora.


2. Bring an extra set of fully charged batteries


Night time temperatures in the Arctic will often drain your batteries quickly. Therefore carrying a set of spare ones close to your body could save you from a lot of unnecessary frustration.


3. A cable release for long exposure


To avoid any disruption in long exposure pictures it is recommended to use a cable release rather than to press the button on the camera. Especially when photographing light this is something you should pay extra attention to.


4. A headlamp


In order to be able to operate on your camera with both hands a headlamp will be useful for your walk to and from your photography location, but also as you operate your camera.


5. Willingness to experiment


Finding the perfect time for exposure will depend on many factors, the moon activity, your camera, the activity of the light and your willingness to experiment. Experts generally advise to not shoot automatically and to instead use the RAW-mode on your camera. This will allow you to adjust the lighting later on.


6. Warm clothes

Be sure to wrap up warm whilst you’re outside.


And finally don’t forget to enjoy the moment. Taking pictures is wonderful, but memories are even better. So relax and take the opportunity to ponder how small we are in this vast universe.



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