HOW TO TAKE GOOD PICTURES? - Northern Lights Tromsø

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Location

Head away from densely populated areas with bright artificial lighting that damages your night vision. Further south, it is advantageous not to have anything large, such as mountains, restricting your view northwards, as the Northern Lights are best viewed from the north and can stretch southwards.


Camera settings

You need to use the manual settings on your camera, and you should count on some experimentation. 


ISO

ISO measures the sensitivity of the image sensor. The higher the ISO value, the lower the aperture and shutter speed you require. Your photo may be grainy if the ISO value you use is too high. Start by trying 500 ISO and work from there.


Aperture

The aperture determines how much light enters your camera. The aperture is described by an f-number (value), e.g. f/2.8. When photographing the Northern Lights, it is best to have the lowest possible value.


Shutter speed

The shutter speed is the effective time the camera’s shutter is open in order to take your photo. Slower shutter speeds allow more light to enter the camera. At night you need to use a slower shutter speed in order to obtain a brighter photo. Start with a shutter speed of 8 seconds and if the photo is too bright then try with a faster shutter speed.


Focus
Use manual focus and set it to infinity. That way the stars and the northern lights should be in focus. If you can't set your lens or camera to infinity, try letting the camera autofocus on the moon or any bright light further than 15-20 meters away from you. You can also use video mode/live view to manually focus on any light far away. 

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