You can take photos of the aurora with any camera, including your phone. If you want to print a large image, a DLSR with a lens that opens to at least F2.8 will help immensely. Shoot RAW in addition to JPEG.
Cold weather kills batteries. Bring spares.
The Memory Cards
It’s easy to fire off thousands of images when you get excited. Prepare by emptying your memory (SD) cards before the shoot, and bringing extras. If you plan on taking time lapse images, it is advisable to have a card with a fast write speed. Also, RAW is best…always.
Stable as a Tripod
Keep that camera stable. It’s crucial. This can be achieved by either placing the camera on a solid object or using a tripod. Boreale has a few tripods that you can borrow.
Pressing the Button
Long exposure times means more chances to shake the camera, and that movement will make images less sharp. Use a shutter release cable or a self-timer. Most cameras have one.
When the aurora is dancing, it can fill the whole sky. Use the widest lens you have to capture as much as possible in one image. Use a lens with a wide (fast) aperture. F2.8 is the preferred aperture however F3.5 and F4 will also work.
It’s dark in the Yukon winter. A headlamp (Or torch for you Aussies) is invaluable. A red filter for it is even better.
The Camera/Lens Heater
When the temperature drops, your lens can freeze or fog. Inexpensive lens heaters can be
purchased or just wrap a handwarmer around the barrel of your lens and secure with a rubber band.
It’s cold in the Yukon. Warm—or downright hot—clothing is key. Gloves with retractable fingers are a nice luxury.
This website is awesome for planning.
– The Kp number is a system of measuring aurora strength
– Kp numbers range from 0 to 9 (0 being calm, 1 very weak, all the way up to 9, a major geomagnetic storm with strong auroras visible)
– Anything Kp5 and above is classified as a geomagnetic storm
– Any clear night with a Kp of 3 or higher should be considered.
– The best time to view the aurora is 3-4 hours around midnight, so anytime between 9pm-3am
10 Steps to Shoot the Aurora Successfully
Do these before leaving the warmth of your room, eh
1. Set you camera to M (manual mode)
2. Chang the focusing method to M (manual mode)
3. Change the ISO to 2500 (this is a good starting point)
4. Change the white balance to around 3800K
5. Turn off in-camera or lens stabilization
6. Reduce the luminance of your display screen
7. Turn off auto noise reduction
8. Turn on Live View
9. Attach the tripod quick release plate to your camera, if applicable
10. Attach your external shutter remote if using or set the camera mode to self-timer (two-
second delay is good)