The Perfect Shot: Northern Lights
Our in-house photographers are always searching for the perfect shot. Icelandic phenomena and weather conditions can be quite different from your normal photography session so we’ve created a series of super short tutorials for avid photographers traveling to Iceland.
Professional photographer and aurora borealis hunter Óli Haukur, aka OZZO, gives us a few essential tips to keep in mind when capturing the northern lights.
This is obviously going to be your most important issue. The northern lights are a natural phenomenon that occurs all year round but is only visible in the dark and clear skies. This means that Iceland’s near 24-hour daylight in summer won’t get you very far for that perfect aurora borealis shot. Time your trip somewhere between September and early April and get familiar with the Icelandic Met Office’s Aurora Forecast to stay up to speed on visibility and aurora predictions.
You’re essentially trying to capture a moving ray of light in the pitch-black night sky so keep your aperture large, somewhere in the range of F1,4 – F2,8, or as low as possible.
You are shooting long exposure and the lights are moving, so try to keep the shutter speed as fast as possible so the lights don’t get blurry. Somewhere in the range of 5-10” seconds is optimal.
We want to be as light sensitive as possible for the northern lights so we set our ISO very high, 1600-6400 is optimal.
Remember to dress well, because standing outside on a dark winter’s night in Iceland can be both a magical and a very cold experience. Mittens and a warm beverage are always a good idea and getting out of the light-polluted city is a must.
Have fun, stay warm and prepare to be amazed!
For more Perfect Shots check out our aerial photography tutorial.
Check out his website for more information about Ozzo’s awesome photography.