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aurora help please

10 Dec 2012 8:44PM
Planning to visit norway to try to see the aurora, can anyone recommend what lense to use with my nikon d90 all other advise welcome too.

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StrayCat 14 19.1k 3 Canada
10 Dec 2012 8:50PM
Do a Google search for photographing the Northern Lights. It should turn up tonnes of info from experts.
mgts24 7 6 United Kingdom
10 Dec 2012 9:06PM
The faster the better. Often the aurora are not terribly bright, so if your lens has a small maximum aperture, you will have to use a relatively long exposure, and then the movement of the aurora will be blurred, and you will lose a lot of the detail. You can compensate with high ASA, but then the higher noise level will mask the sublety of the colours. It is a tough balancing act.
User_Removed 8 4.6k 1 Scotland
10 Dec 2012 10:40PM
Don't know about Norway but I photographed the Aurora Borealis in Scotland, Iceland and Canada. With modern equipment a fairly wide lens is best. On your D90, an 18-200mm (either Sigma or Nikkor) is a great all-round travel lens and, at the wider end, great for Aurora shots. (I used a 28-300 Nikkor on my FX Nikon in Iceland a few weeks ago and it was ideal.)

Obviously shoot in Manual exposure and Manual Focus. For starters try ISO 800, f/5.6 and 12 seconds and then play it by ear. Try not to go longer than 12 seconds or the stars will start to "trail". Also try to get some interesting foreground features into the shot (even a tree in silhouette is better than nothing) as bland shots of the sky alone are very boring.

Enjoy your trip. I take it you have an Aurora forecast app on your phone as there is little point freezing your bollocks off at midnight if there is no activity. Generally they can forecast three days ahead (the length of time it takes for the particles to arrive from the sun following solar activity).
User_Removed 8 4.6k 1 Scotland
11 Dec 2012 9:56AM
...should have added to above: Don't be tempted to use Long Exposure Noise Reduction. For some reason, which I haven't worked out, it makes a real mess of Aurora shots as well as doubling the time taken for each exposure).

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