Night photography

Discussion in 'Digital Discussion & Q&A' started by Q4kntmare, Jul 21, 2017.

  1. Q4kntmare

    Q4kntmare TPF Noob!

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    I am heading to Canada and would LOVE to get some pictures of the northern lights. I've never really attempted night photography and need some major assistance. I am running a Nikon d7200 with a 18-135 lens. I know the basics of photography, but have the following questions:

    What ISO should I target?
    What F-Stop?
    How can I easily focus?
    What time of night should I try?

    Thanks for the help.


     
  2. bratkinson

    bratkinson No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    There have been a fair number of threads on this site regarding the northern lights.

    Please use the search feature on the top tool bar of the forum screen (not your browser) and search for 'northern lights'. Also search for 'aurora'. I tried adding 'beaurealis' to the aurora search, but found none...probably my lousy spelling.
     
  3. Low_Sky

    Low_Sky No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Aurora's aren't hard to photograph, and there has been plenty written on the subject. If you don't turn up much with the search feature on this site, use Google.

    I'm no expert, but have done it a few times. Here are what I consider the "high points".

    1. Use the fastest glass you have, wide open (smallest f/ number).
    2. Tripod is mandatory.
    3. Use the slowest shutter speed you can get away with for the ISO performance of your camera. At 8s you should have distinct shapes. 30s will give you smears of color in the sky if the aurora are moving quickly.
    4. Manual focus before dark, leave your camera in MF, and TAPE YOUR FOCUS RING DOWN. Trying to MF in the dark by chimping the stars in your shots while Auroras are overhead sucks.
    5. Bring what you need to be comfortable. You might be out all night in the cold.

    The photography is the easy part. Catching a good aurora forecast on a night with clear skies and a less than 25% moon when you can stay up all night and get to a dark location is the hard part.


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