Northern Lights - Behind the scenes

January 17, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

Snowshoe hike on Uloybukt IslandSnowshoe hike on Uloybukt IslandPhoto by James C. McDaniel III. You are welcome to share the link to James C. McDaniel III images, but use of all or any part of James C. McDaniel III images is not authorized without express permission from James C. McDaniel III.

Over the last couple of months a few people asked how we captured the Northern Lights and things they need to be concerned about when operating in this environment. 

NOTICE:  If you are interested in traveling to this area, we are organizing a trip in the Fall of 2015.  Let me know if you are interested and I will add you to the notification list when we firm things up.

Environment:  We were in 20 - 30 degree weather for about 8 - 10 hours a day/night and the cameras were very cold, but never lacked in performance. I don't recall our cameras ever warming up during the 10 days we were there.

Cameras:  I have a Nikon D800 and my wife has a Nikon D610. They worked perfectly without any special considerations.

Battery:  The batteries also held up well.  We had an extra battery for each camera and a dual camera charger that we could use in the car or hotel room.

Camera Temperature Regulation:  Always keep your camera in the camera bag when you enter into heated areas. I would open the bag just long enough to remove the card and battery and then close the bag.  I also kept my camera bag off the floor in the hotel since most of the floors are heated.

Focus:  Sometimes focus is the biggest problem. I focused on the foreground on most shots, lights in the distance, reflections on the water, etc.  If there is no light source to focus on, you really need to know where to set your focus point before it gets dark.

Seeing the Auroras:  Another thing that I did't realize is that a 10, 20 or 30 second shutter speed will pick up auroras that you can't see with your eye.  So if you think you see something take a 20 second shot and you might have some auroras.  Sometimes I would just take a shot even when I couldn't see anything, just to be sure.  I captured a few this way.  The first night we were out, the lights lasted for 10 minutes, other nights, the lights would come and go for hours.

Camera Settings:  I was shooting 10 sec, F2, 400 ISO on some nights, 15 sec, 6.3, 1000 ISO; using a 24mm f1.4 lens.  Each of my photos have the metadata displayed http://travelquestphotography.com/sommaroy-auroras

Keeping Warm:  One of the items that really helped us stay warm, was the heating inserts for gloves and shoes.  We bought about 5 sets at the PX and put them in the luggage.

Lodging Recommendations:

  • Clarion Collection Hotel had a nice morning and evening buffet included in the rate, afternoon waffles, 24 hour complimentary coffee and the sauna and hot tub was awesome.  Highly recommended this hotel as an arrival point and to see the city.
  • The Arctic Panorama Lodge owned by Svein and Odt Jakobsen.  It was a little bit of a journey to get there, but it was totally worth it.  The lodge is superb, hospitality to top notch and the food is the best we had on the whole trip.  It was almost like we were invited into their home for 3 days.  A lot of places to hike and explore right from the lodge. We highly recommend this location, we enjoyed this location so much, we are organizing a photography tour (4 - 6 photographers) in 2015.
  • Summary Arctic Hotel was one of the best locations to view the Auroras.  Lots of places to hike, get away from the city lights and only 1 hour from Tromso.  Highly recommended.  If you don't have a car and want to stay close to Tromso, this is the place to go.
Norhtern Lights at the Arctic Panorama LodgeNorhtern Lights at the Arctic Panorama LodgeNorhtern Lights at the Arctic Panorama Lodge. Photo by James C. McDaniel III. You are welcome to share the link to James C. McDaniel III images, but use of all or any part of James C. McDaniel III images is not authorized without express permission from James C. McDaniel III. Northern Lights over Nord Hestnes GaardNorthern Lights over Nord Hestnes GaardNorthern Lights over Nord Hestnes Gaard, Laksvatn Norway. Photo by James C. McDaniel III. You are welcome to share the link to James C. McDaniel III images, but use of all or any part of James C. McDaniel III images is not authorized without express permission from James C. McDaniel III. Northern LIghts over Sommaroy NorwayNorthern LIghts over Sommaroy NorwayNorthern LIghts over Sommaroy Norway. The local people told us this was an awesome night - one of the very best. Photo by James C. McDaniel III. You are welcome to share the link to James C. McDaniel III images, but use of all or any part of James C. McDaniel III images is not authorized without express permission from James C. McDaniel III.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photos of the trip are at http://travelquestphotography.com/arctic-circle-norway

Please share the link to this blog with others, that might be interested.  If you have any questions, don't hesitate to send us an email at jocelyn.mcdaniel@outlook.com or  james.mcdaniel@outlook.com

 

Visit our Trip Advisor site "Asian Cajun Travel" for detailed lodging, restaurant and event reviews.


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