Aurora Borealis 2014

If we'd like to take northern light (aurora borealis) photos, first we have to choose place and time.


It might sound logical to choose the northernmost place possible, but (fortunately) the aurora-zone is not that north. Iceland and Northern-Scandinavia is the best to view the aurora borealis in Europe. We won't find too many cities with airport and hotels here, so I chose Tromsø, Norway.


Of course it's impossible to fulfill all the conditions at the same time. It's best to buy airplane tickets, book hotels, book guides in advance, which makes it even more difficult to choose the time. It is best to book other activities (dog sledding...) so we'll have a good time even if we are unlucky and cannot see the Aurora.


Photography - equipment

Photography - settings

Photography - composition

Photography - postprocessing

Usually I don't like digital manipulation, I prefer small modifications. My aim is to mimic perception by my eyes. This approach is quite bad for aurora borealis, most of my unmodified aurora pictures were quite different and much nicer than the naked eye perception.

Once we have seen a very dim light. It might have been a very weak aurora or city lights from far away. Our tour guide suggested to take a few photos and check them. If it's green it's aurora:

10mm f/4 13s ISO4000
12mm f/4.5 20s ISO4000

Here you can find a more detailed explanation.

My usual post-processing steps for the images: