What are northern lights?

Northern lights occur when electrical charged particles, because of a solar storm, are cast into space. When these particles hit the magnetic field of the earth, they are attracted by the magnetic north pole, where they make a ring. Here they release their inner energy, which can be seen as a dancing often green light, in 100 kilometres height. This is northern light. This phenomenon does actually occur all year round, but is only visible in Northern Greenland when the winter darkness have replaced the midnight sun, and taken a hold on the country.

 

When is it possible to see northern lights?

Northern lights are best seen on a dark, cold and clear night sky.  The beautiful carpet of waving lights appears brightest when you are not surrounded by background lights, but surrounded by darkness. Here the dancing green lights cut through the night sky, sometimes with pink nuances along the edges, and a bright purple core. The northern lights can in principle occur in all of Greenland, but the best place for viewing this extraordinary natural phenomenon are north of the polar circle.

 

How do you take pictures of northern lights?

When trying to take pictures of northern lights, there are a few things the photographer should keep in mind, in order to get the best possible picture. All types of cameras can in principle be used, but the best motives are caught on a camera, where the photographer manually is able to adjust the focus of the objective. It is also a good idea to bring a tripod, to minimise shakings of the camera.

  • Start by turning the flash off, and set your camera to the manual setting mode. If your camera has an autofocus function, be sure that it is turned off.
  • Always take pictures of northern lights in as high a resolution as possible.
  • Open the blinder widest possible, in order to get as much light into the lines as you can.
  • Set the cameras ISO to 400. By doing so you get a very clear picture, with bright colours. Most cameras are upon purchase set to ISO 100.
  • Set the camera shutter time to 8 seconds. It is very individual for each camera objective how long the shutter time should be, to get the best picture, so here you have to try what is best with your camera. If the shutter time is too long; the picture will appear out of focus. It might also be necessary to adjust the cameras blinder.
  • Use the tripod, or place the camera on a firm, plane surface. If you do not have a remote control to your camera, use the self-release function, in order to minimize shakings.

Good luck with your photographing.