HOW TO GUIDE - Shooting the Northern Lights

HOW TO PHOTOGRAPH THE NORTHERN LIGHTS

Imagine yourself standing outside in the cold, for hours upon hours, and being completely content and happy. That is what it is like to witness and photograph an aurora borealis display. You’ll want to capture the awe-inspiring scene but photographing the northern lights can be challenging. The lights can be fairly unpredictable, and you have moving subjects at night. In this article I will cover many of the things you need to-know and some things you didn’t know you needed to know-to successfully capture the Northern lights.

(Self Portrait - Banff National Park - April 2016)



Pre-Planning

Step 1: Weather & Finding Clear Skies

One of the main details to photographing the northern lights is understanding weather apps and websites that give you clear sky or visibility information. Within North America a very handy graph website is: The Clear Sky Chart (http://cleardarksky.com/csk/). Globally, I’d suggest Accuweather (https://www.accuweather.com) There is a sky section under each location that gives you percentage of cloud cover at an hourly rate. By referring to these types of charts and data you will be able to plan out locations with the best weather potential to photograph the lights.