How can I improve Aurora Borealis Photography?

Laino

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I have a Nikon D5000 and I shot these photos last night of the Aurora Borealis. First time doing night shots. I set it to long exposure on. As you can see they are a little blurry and I'd like to improve on this next time. One possibility could be that maybe my manual focus was out since it was really dark and hard to see, it could also be that I pressed the button rather than use my remote thus moving the camera slightly. Does anyone have any tips on other settings I should try for these shots? I also heard there is a program I can install that will take back to back shots and then I can later piece them together so it will look like a movie, does anyone know about this?
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Snyder

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You may want to invest in a good sturdy tripod so wind wont effect your exposure, also using your timer or a remote shutter release cable will help reduce possible vibration. Also if your camera has mirror up mode (MUP) that will help reduce camera shake. There is a ton more stuff to do but im too lazy to type it all out. =p Good luck.
 

DiskoJoe

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What is your exif data for these shots? aperture/shutter speed/iso/focal length? What type of lens and motor were you using also.
 

Catchmo

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Almost any type of video editing software beyond the basic consumer grade will have an option to"detect sequence"... Which means that as kong as you're pictures are sequentially numbered and a targa, tiff, or jpeg, the software will convert it into a video file. I use motion on my macbook to do this.
 

Skaperen

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You may want to invest in a good sturdy tripod so wind wont effect your exposure, also using your timer or a remote shutter release cable will help reduce possible vibration. Also if your camera has mirror up mode (MUP) that will help reduce camera shake. There is a ton more stuff to do but im too lazy to type it all out. =p Good luck.

And some sandbags for the tripod leg struts to heavy it up more.

I mentioned in another thread the technique of taking multiple short shots (1 to 2 seconds) and combine them later. This gives you and option of discarding any bad shots that were impacted by vibration. At this point, I don't know just what capabilities exist in various software to do the combining. For my own shots, I will be writing my own software (something that 40 years programming experience makes easy) to do the combining once I get a good conversion from RAW (such as with dcraw).
 

Garbz

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I also heard there is a program I can install that will take back to back shots and then I can later piece them together so it will look like a movie, does anyone know about this?
View attachment 7011View attachment 7012

You want two things, an intervalometer and a program that stitches photos to a movie. Intervalometers for most cameras can be had for very cheap on ebay (make it easy on yourself, shoot in the smallest format with medium JPEG compression only, your computer will have a fit if it needs to resize 1000 photos). The software can vary depending on complexity, but Windows Live Movie Maker is free and quite capable which is what I use at the moment.
 

Big Mike

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How long are the shutter speeds? If your shutter speeds are longer than maybe 5 or 10 seconds, then slight vibrations from tripping the shutter or mirror slap, probably won't matter much.

To ensure sharper shots, first make sure your focus is accurate and use a 'good' aperture (something like F8 or F11).
 

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