Chasing the Northern Lights: Essential Tips for Capturing the Perfect Shot
Written by  Daisie Team
Published on 3 min read

Are you dreaming of capturing the elusive Northern Lights? This natural phenomenon is a breathtaking sight that is on many photographers' bucket lists. However, capturing the perfect shot of the Aurora Borealis can be challenging, especially if you are not familiar with the techniques and precautions needed for photography in cold destinations. In this blog post, we will provide you with essential tips for capturing the perfect shot of the Northern Lights.

Precautions and Tips for Photography in Cold Destinations

The Northern Lights are visible in countries such as Norway, Sweden, Finland, Iceland, and Canada, where temperatures can drop to -30°C. Therefore, it is essential to take precautions to protect your equipment and yourself from the cold. Here are some tips:

  1. Dress in layers: Wear warm clothing, including a thermal base layer, fleece or wool sweater, and a waterproof jacket and pants. Don't forget to wear warm socks, gloves, and a hat.
  2. Protect your camera: Cold temperatures can drain your camera's battery quickly. Therefore, it is essential to carry extra batteries and keep them in a warm place, such as an inside pocket. Also, consider using a camera cover to protect your camera from the cold and snow.
  3. Use a tripod: To capture the Northern Lights, you need a long exposure, which means your camera needs to be stable. Therefore, it is essential to use a sturdy tripod to keep your camera steady.
  4. Know your camera settings: To capture the Northern Lights, you need to use a slow shutter speed, a high ISO, and a wide aperture. Experiment with different settings to find the right combination for your camera.
  5. Bring a flashlight: It can be dark in cold destinations, and you need a flashlight to see your camera settings and move around safely.

Planning and Preparation for Taking Great Photographs

Planning and preparation are essential for capturing the perfect shot of the Northern Lights. Here are some tips:

  1. Check the weather forecast: The Northern Lights are visible on clear nights, so check the weather forecast before you go out to shoot.
  2. Choose the right location: Look for a location with a clear view of the sky, away from city lights, and with interesting foreground elements such as mountains, trees, or water.
  3. Scout the location: Visit the location during the day to scout the area and find the best spot to shoot from. Consider the direction of the Northern Lights, the position of the stars, and the foreground elements.
  4. Use a star map: Use a star map to find the position of the North Star, which is helpful for finding the direction of the Northern Lights.
  5. Be patient: The Northern Lights are a natural phenomenon, and they can be unpredictable. Therefore, be patient and wait for them to appear.

Tips for Successful Travel Photography

Capturing the perfect shot of the Northern Lights is just one aspect of travel photography. Here are some tips for successful travel photography:

  1. Research your destination: Before you travel, research your destination to find out about its culture, customs, and landmarks. This will help you plan your shots and capture the essence of the place.
  2. Capture the details: Don't just focus on the big picture. Look for the details that make a place unique, such as street signs, food, and people.
  3. Use different angles: Experiment with different angles, such as high and low, to add interest to your shots.
  4. Tell a story: Use your photos to tell a story about your travels. Include shots of the people you meet, the food you eat, and the places you visit.
  5. Be respectful: Respect the people and culture of the place you are visiting. Ask for permission before taking photos of people, and be mindful of local customs and traditions.

Final Thoughts

Capturing the perfect shot of the Northern Lights requires patience, preparation, and the right equipment. Remember to dress warmly, protect your camera, and use a tripod. Plan your shots, scout your location, and be patient. Don't forget to experiment with different camera settings and angles to capture the essence of the place you are visiting.

If you want to learn more about travel photography, check out a workshop called 'Travel Photography: Chasing the Northern Lights' by David Rocaberti. David is a passionate photographer who has worked with several companies and has experience in a variety of photography techniques. He is a master of capturing the decisive moment, and his knowledge of long exposures and street photography make him an expert in the field. In his workshop, he shares his tricks and dos, and shows examples of his work. He encourages viewers to ask questions and interact with him, and he offers advice on how to become a successful travel photographer.