camera and lens
It is important to use a tripod due to slow shutter speed. The shutter
speed is the time the camera spends to take a photo. If you use a hand
held camera without a tripod, the images will be blurry because of
movement while the shutter is open. It is recommended to use a light
sensitive wide-angle lens with a low aperture number (f2.8 or better).
Set it to manual focus and at infinity.
SLR cameras are the best, but some compact cameras can
actually take great pictures of the light.
Camera settings – Aperture, ISO and Shutter Speed
Mount the camera to the tripod and set it to manual settings. Turn off
automatic settings. The focus point should be at infinity. (This is
often showed by the icon: ∞)
Set the blender at full aperture, f/2.8 or lower.
It is often needed to set the ISO to a high value to be able to capture
enough light. Try starting with an ISO setting of 1600 and work your way
up to higher values if needed. You can try
an ISO of 2000 or higher, but this can introduce noise to the final
picture, or the picture may appear slightly grainy.
If the moon is up, you may need to set
the ISO to a lower value than if it was pitch dark outside.
Shutter speed is the time the shutter is open and the light is actually
exposed on to the final picture.
To be able to get a good shot of the northern lights it is recommended
to have it set to seconds.
ISO and Shutter Speed
Start out with a full aperture, ISO 1600 and shutter speed of 8 seconds,
play around with the values.
Try taking a photo with ISO 1600 and a shutter speed of 8 seconds. Take a
new photo with ISO 1600, but with a longer shutter time of 15 seconds. The
latter picture will be brighter, if it gets too bright you can try
reducing the shutter speed with a few seconds or you can reduce the ISO
value down to 1200 and keep the shutter at 15 seconds. The easiest is to
keep your aperture at a full opening (f2.8 or lower) and only adjust the
ISO and shutter. But you can of course adjust the aperture from 2.8 to
other values, for example 3.5 to get a darker picture.