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Aurora Bridge



Kirkenes, Norway. March 2014

Kirkenes, Norway. March 2014
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4 Comments | Report
chuckrickman
 
chuckrickman July 23, 2015
Congratulations on winning featured.
framing-places PRO
framing-places July 23, 2015
it was a brilliant surprise - thanks very much!
Remraf
 
Remraf July 23, 2015
Great shot!
framing-places PRO
framing-places July 23, 2015
Thanks a lot :)
tetvet
 
tetvet July 23, 2015
beautiful, congrats
kkat PRO
 
kkat July 23, 2015
Would like to see this someday! Great!
framing-places PRO
framing-places July 23, 2015
It's very addictive ;) Ever since I've seen the Aurora for the first time, I can't stop going to Northern regions for a chance to see it again!

Behind The Lens

Location
The photo was taken just outside of Kirkenes, Norway, on the last night of a two week trip from Tromso to Kirkenes with my travel photography buddy. It was March and around -25 degrees in the middle of the night. Unfortunately we didn't have time to scout out a good Aurora-watching spot during the day, but luckily we came across this pretty awesome spot.
Time
The Northern Lighs are only visible in the dark, of course, and there's a theory that the hours between 11pm and 3am are usually best. I can't say whether or not this is true as a rule, but it certainly worked that night. This shot was taken somewhere around midnight.
Lighting
The lighting was a tricky one in this location actually. There was a lot of synthetic light coming from nearby houses, and you can see the lights of a car driving along the mountain range on the right too, which isn't idea. The Aurora was also quite faint that night, so it was a bit of a challenge keeping the exposure to just the right amount of time to avoid star trailing, yet still long enough to give some definition to the Northern Lights curtain effect. I have to admit, at the time I was so concerned about getting the settings right, and not freezing to the ground, that I didn't even notice the reflection!! That was a nice surprise one I loaded the image onto the computer :)
Equipment
I used my Sony A77 with a 10-24mm Tamron wide angle lens here. Of course a tripod (Manfrotto 190) was also necessary, as well as a wireless remote
Inspiration
Chasing the Aurora has become a bit of an obsession, and a few years in a row I was lucky enough to be able to travel to the Arctic Circle during the winter months to hunt the light. If you've never seen the Northern Lights, this might be hard to comprehend, but anyone who has seen them, especially in high activity, will understand that it's an incredible and very addictive experience ;)
Editing
I always try to not go overboard with the post-processing, so I just did my usual bringing out the contrasts, leveling out highlights/whites and shadows/blacks, and smoothing the image noise. The latter was inevitable at ISO3200, unfortunately.
In my camera bag
When I travel I usually carry my entire kit with me, which has become pretty heavy over the years: Sony A77 SLT camera with 16-50mm f2.8 kit lens (this still remains my favourite lens) Tamron 10-24mm Sigma 105mm macro Sony 70-400mm Manfrotto BeFree travel tripod (used to be the bigger 190, but this is way too heavy and bulky for travelling) F-Stop Tilopa backpack with medium ICU
Feedback
Wrap up warm, bring lots of time and patience, and hope for clear skies!! Capturing the Aurora Borealis itself, once it's come out to play, is actually fairly straightforward as long as you have a camera that can be controlled in full manual mode. Use the fastest and widest lens you have, remove any filters, set focus to infinity, ISO to anywhere above 800 (depending on light intensity) and shoot away. I usually get best results with an exposure around 10-15 seconds, but again, this depends on the intensity of the lights, speed of movement, other light sources, etc.

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