The way to {photograph} the Northern and Southern Lights efficiently

aurora photos, a typical image of the northern lights

Of all of the naturally occurring phenomena that one may {photograph}, aurora pictures are maybe probably the most awe-inspiring. It’s much more spectacular whenever you get a greater concept of what this pure mild present is all about and the place it happens. In probably the most fundamental sense, the aurora is a pure occasion that happens when electrically charged, gaseous particles launched by our solar hit our planet’s ambiance. The variance in colours that you simply’ll see dancing within the sky change based mostly on the sorts of particles that hit our ambiance. On prime of that—and opposite to fashionable perception—this sensible spectacle isn’t solely seen from overly-touristed winter locations like Iceland and Norway. In reality, you may see the aurora fairly readily in each the northern and southern hemispheres. The “northern lights” are known as Aurora Borealis, whereas the “southern lights” are known as Aurora Australis.

Location & Climate For Aurora Images

There are a selection of things that you’ll be finest off researching and listening to everytime you intend on photographing the aurora. Initially is that it’s essential to be at a location the place this occasion will be seen. The additional north or south you go in the direction of the planet’s respective poles, the higher your chances are high of seeing the lights. Nonetheless, being current doesn’t assure a light-weight present. You’ll additionally want a transparent, or partly clear, sky. For those who get skunked out with a “socked-in” sky, you received’t have a lot success. With that stated, I discover that having some clouds provides rather a lot to my compositions, as they supply a layering impact and contrasting factor to the lights and stars.


A number of further issues to know is that not all aurora mild reveals are created equally, nor do they run on a set schedule. Simply since you take that flight to Iceland and discover a phenomenal location with a transparent sky doesn’t assure you a light-weight present. One of the vital essential components to think about is the geomagnetic exercise stage, represented by a KP quantity, at or round a specific time of evening. The upper the KP quantity, the crazier the sunshine present. Something above (and together with) Kp5 is classed as a geomagnetic storm, and in that occasion, the sky will mild up so brightly, you’d suppose the solar turned inexperienced.


One closing factor to think about is that there aren’t many guidelines to comply with in relation to exposing for the aurora. These mild reveals differ by the second and you might discover that one publicity required 30 seconds and the following one solely required 2 seconds. Hold an in depth eye in your digital camera’s meter as a result of it’s very straightforward to blow out your picture regardless that it could look like it’s very darkish exterior.

aurora photos with mountain background

aurora photos with mountain background

When framing your photographs, it additionally helps to have some foreground parts in your aurora pictures. They supply a way of place and depth on your viewer, and can finally result in a extra fascinating {photograph}.

Lastly, lest it’s essential to be reminded, don’t neglect that tripod!

See extra of Brian Matiash’s work at

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