Photo of the week — “Northern Lights”

Posted by lwpetersen | January 15, 2015 | photo of the week, photo-blog
Aurora over snow-covered forest.

“Northern Lights” — photo of the week ending January 10, 2015

After about 20 minutes of bright aurora bands filling the sky, it seemed like the display was fading, the brightest bands dwindling off into the southern sky. Then, on the eastern horizon this band re-formed, condensed, brightened, and a loop pushed up and overhead. This was an awesome show!


Technical notes
Nikon D7000
Sigma 17-50mm f/2.8 EX DC Lens for Nikon
Focal Length:  17 mm
ISO:           3200
Aperture:      f/3.2
Shutter Speed: 0.5 sec

Photographing this event was tough because the northern lights were so dynamic. It was good practice, since every few seconds I had to move and adjust the tripod and change the shutter speed. None of the bands seemed to hang out in the same place for long, and my viewing directions were almost entirely east-west, my northern and southern views were blocked by large trees.

I always try to tell people who want to shoot the lights how important it is to be comfortable and quick with gear and understand your camera settings (camera settings article) and this was a testament to that. Any time spent fiddling with the camera was time missing this amazing spectacle of nature.

I pushed the ISO up to 3200 for a good portion of the night. That’s pretty much the limit that I can take with the D7000 and I definitely had to stretch my noise reduction to the limit as a result. This lens gives me a fair amount of distortion when shooting at 17 mm and f/2.8, and I preferred to have a sharp image throughout with minimal vignetting. Even though the aperture wasn’t totally open, I was shooting at less than 1 second shutter speeds for most of the night.

Leave a Reply

Related Posts

Glacier Calving. Splashback from a chunk of the Columbia Glacier breaking off into Columbia Bay.
Posted by lwpetersen | August 11, 2018
Tidewater glacier calving is an extremely powerful event that everyone should get a chance to witness. If you haven’t ever seen this, it’s time to hop on a plane to...
Watching the first sunrise of 2018 from Ester Dome. Fairbanks, Alaska.
Posted by lwpetersen | January 3, 2018
I’m not big on New Year’s resolutions, but I’m still resolving to write more and take more photos in 2018. I’ve been occupied with work the last couple years and...
Aurora at Angel Rocks
Posted by lwpetersen | February 2, 2017
It sure doesn’t feel like it, but it’s been over a year since I’ve published a blog-post. I’ve still been writing, editing, and updating, but not publishing new things. I’ve...