Northern Light Nighty Night-5

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Ale_Romano November 30, 2020
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Behind The Lens

This was shot just West of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada in Spruce Grove. It doesn't take me long to drive into farm land, and that's what I did on this evening.
I took this photo during a great Aurora burst in the frigid Alberta winter. It takes a special kind of crazy to venture off into temperatures dipping below -25C, and I am on the crazy side of most things... Clearly you have to shoot the Aurora at night, and it doesn't wear a watch, you get the alert, and you go. This particular image was taken at 9:30pm.
The cool thing about the Aurora is that it changes SO much, second by second actually. So you really need to adjust your shutter speed to reveal many different looks of the Aurora. Long exposure highlights the colour washed over the sky. A fast shutter is going to give the long streaky lines radiating from above. Whenever I teach people how to shoot the Aurora I always get them to try as many variations as possible!
I shot this with my Nikon D600, 24-85mm Nikon, I used a manfrotto tripod.
Well the Aurora itself is inspiration enough! I realize I am extremely lucky to see this as often as I do, but I do not take it for granted. I get alerts sent to me when they are predicting a good night for viewing, and as soon as I do I am gone. While I do see them more than most, it is still rare. Once a year we typically get a VERY good solar storm and we have 5-7 days of constant Aurora Borealis.
I shoot in RAW of course and I shoot pretty flat. I do this to make sure I won't blow anything out, even colours. As the Aurora can go extremely bright at times it can make the colour muddy if you expose too long. So I try to bring up the shadows of the landscape, and control the green wash on everything, like the snow.
In my camera bag
The nikon D600, a 24-85, a 14mm Samyang, A nikkor 50mm, and a 70-300MM nikkor. Along with some filters, a polarizer and my Tiffen 3.0 ND for long exposures. Along with cleaning supplies, rain covers, remote shutter and extra batteries.
As mentioned before you really need to play with the shutter speeds to get different looks of the Aurora. More so it is important that you find locations to shoot! City lights can kill your session so you need to find places that face AWAY from city lights, but a view that still looks to the North. I drive around A LOT in the day and mark spots that will give a great view. I love to have an interesting landscape and simply add the Aurora into the frame.

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