How to Photograph the Northern Lights
By Photographer Patrick J. Endres
For many, just viewing the northern lights is a life-long dream, and to capture them with a camera is both a thrilling and awe inspiring experience. I remember my first time very well, and the rush of that experience lives on in my memory. I began photographing the aurora borealis with slide film, which was a complicated process that involved a good deal of experimenting. In those days while guiding photo tours, clients attached themselves to my hip seeking experienced-based guidance on exposure times and camera settings.
Todays digital cameras provide the photographer immediate exposure feedback and allows real–time learning in the field where corrections can be made on the spot. This has somewhat demystified aurora photography, but it has not removed the need for experience, or being well informed about the many aspects necessary to make it a success. I wrote a web article in response to the many questions I received about how to photograph the aurora, and that provoked even more questions. I then tackled the topic in the most comprehensive fashion possible. I put pretty much everything I know about photographing the aurora in a 326– page eBook, which is now in its 3rd edition.
What exists here are parts of that initial article and enough excerpts from the eBook to get you started. Each subject is expanded on considerably within the full version. Screenshots taken from the eBook provide an example of design and subject material included therein. I emphasize Canon DSLR’s since that is what I shoot and know best, but the principles intrinsic to aurora photography should remain true across all platforms.