ViewBug community member aaronhill is a 22 year old amateur photographer, based in Essex (UK). "I started on my photography adventure about a year ago after finding a passion through Instagram. 2016 is looking to be a good year for me, with a few trips planned around the world and finally having the equipment I'm happy with, hopefully I'll be bringing some new material to competitions! I currently use a Canon EOS 6D with 17-40, 24-105, 75-300 and 50mm lenses along with Lee & Hi-Tech filters.

What type of photos do you enjoy shooting the most?

I am most comfortable and interested in landscape, cityscape and nature photography but I'm excited with the idea of experimenting with portrait photography in the near future.

What equipment do you normally have in your bag?

I spend a lot of my time as a landscape/cityscape photographer, but I also shoot weddings; and most recently portraiture. Since taking this shot, I've made the huge jump from Canon to Nikon; a change I'm very happy with. My bag now contains: Nikon D750 with Battery Grip, Nikon 24-70 F2.8, Nikon 70-200 VR 2.8, Nikon 85mm 1.8, Nikon 50mm 1.8. I also have Lee Big & Little Stoppers, 0.3, 0.6 & 0.9 soft graduating filters all inside a lee field pouch. This on top of my Giottos tripod, 13'' Macbook Pro & other standard accessories.

Where did you take this photo?

This image was captured in Vik, South Iceland in the middle of the road 'Route One'.

What time of day?

Me & my two photography buddies were sat in our lodge editing the days images, and saw a glimpse of green light in the night sky. We immediately ran out at about 11pm, camera in one hand, cold beer in the other - and stood in the snow admiring the natural beauty of the aurora. One of the most inspiring moments of my life to date.

Anything worth sharing about lighting?

Pure natural beauty completes this scene, lighting is all down to the aurora borealis!

What equipment did you use?

This was shot with a Canon 6D & 17-40 F4.0 Lens mounted on a Giottos tripod.

What inspired you to take this photo?

It's impossible not to get your camera out when the northern lights put on a show.

Standing in the middle of an empty road, in what feels like an empty country, the world seems like a very big and daunting place. I used my friend, Carly to add a sense of scale and realism to the image; which in turn makes it more relatable.

Did you do any post-processing?

This image is a composite image, made up of a long exposure to allow the vibrant northern lights, and a short exposure to allow a static human image.

Both images were layered and blended into one shot in PS CC, some changes to shadows, vibrancy, contrast etc were also altered to get the final image.

Any advice for others trying to capture something similar?

The northern lights are fairly straight forward to capture, however it comes down to length of exposure and also focus point.

In this image, I set focus to infinity (aim for stars in the distance!). The next problem is capturing the stars before they turn into trails (something I nearly failed with here!). This can be worked out specifically to focal length, however general advice is not to go over an exposure of 25-30 seconds. You may find you have to set your ISO fairly high to allow for a short exposure in darkness, so some noise reduction may be required in post to allow for a smooth image.

Make sure your tripod is as sturdy as you can make it, as any camera shake will degrade the quality of your image. Things like using a remote, and turning mirror lock-up on are also useful to reduce the risk of camera shake again.