Chasing the Northern Lights Part II

Today’s Post by Barry Staver

Here’s more info, adding to my earlier post about the challenges of photographing one of Mother Nature’s most amazing sights.

Photographing the Northern Lights as opposed to the Southern version, I believe, is easier and the most popular choice. The viewing locations are far too numerous to list here, but regions easiest to reach include Alaska, Iceland, northern Norway, Sweden and Finland.

My son and I began our quest from the town of Tromso, Norway in part because the Chasing Lights Tour Company, based there, had such a good reputation for finding Northern Lights. I highly recommend them. Their small 13 passenger buses were perfect for driving around northern Norway in pursuit of the Lights. Photo #1 shows our group setting up at the first of several locations during our second night.

We usually travel independently and seldom engage tour companies, but this time we were rewarded with beautiful light displays three nights in a row. Consider investing in multiple nights of viewing, after all you’ve traveled a long way at good expense. Leaving the logistics to the local pros allowed us to concentrate 100% on enjoying and shooting the Lights.

Here’s a few additional tips. The small size of mirrorless cameras is normally a plus, but operating them in cold weather wearing gloves is difficult. I cut small slits into the thumb and index fingers of a right hand glove Make the cut smaller than your finger size because as you shoot the hole can become larger. If you do a lot of cold weather photography then sew the cuts at the edges to keep them from unraveling. It’s now easy to slip the thumb and index finger out of the gloves to shoot, slide back to warm up when not shooting.

I also use the eight-hour hand warmers inside the gloves to keep fingers warm. Open up the package, place a warmer in between either your palm or on top of the hand and the glove. Barry and Joe Farace are co-authors of Better Available Light Digital Photography that’s out-of-print with new copies available from Amazon for $19.95 (non-Prime) or used copies for only $7 as I write this.