How to take pictures of northern lights with smartphone? For many photographers and nature enthusiasts seeing the Northern Lights and photographing northern lights can be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Witnessing the mesmerizing pulsating aurora borealis is a stunningly beautiful and truly unforgettable sight to behold. People travel north from all over the world in hopes of experiencing this incredible phenomenon.
In this article, I’m going to talk about how to take pictures of northern lights with smartphone, iPhone or camera? Don’t listen to anyone who says you can’t photographing northern lights. Let’s put that story to rest. You absolutely can and your smartphone would possibly just be your best bet! Here’s what you need to understand for your next northern lights Tour:
Above all else, know thy phone – spend some quality time along with your built-in camera and the adjustments you can make.
Don’t skip the tripod unless you are a robot, you are not gonna hold your camera still enough throughout long exposures
Hello darkness, my past love – light pollution can ruin otherwise great shots of the Aurora
Smartphones have come back a long way. Take the iPhone. Larger sensor. Double lenses. Good performance in low light (like if you’re, say, shooting the night sky). Good tech all around. And now Apple has added the “live photos” feature, which may bring a fully new dimension to a difficult subject just like how to take pictures of northern lights with smartphone.
How to take Pictures of Northern Lights with Smartphone, iPhone or Camera
What Causes the Northern Lights?
The northern lights or the Elora Borealis occur when charged particles from the Sun strike the atoms in the Earth’s atmosphere. Causing electrons in the atoms to move to a higher energy state when the electrons drop back down to a lower energy state they release photons that is light.
What are the best places to see the Northern Lights?
Some of the best and most popular locations for seeing fantastic Northern Light activity are places such as Alaska Canada and Scandinavia.
What are the best times to see the Northern Lights?
The activity of the Northern Lights actually occur throughout the entire year but the long dark nights of winter are the best time for seeing and photographing them. While the Northern Lights may be active long before the Sun actually goes down the most optimal time for viewing them is generally in between 10:30 p.m. and 2:00 o’clock a.m.
The Northern Lights can be extremely elusive even on seemingly perfect nights for seeing them they don’t always cooperate and put on the spectacular show that one may have expected. They can appear and disappear and fluctuate in intensity when least expected thus one needs to do everything possible to maximize their opportunity or successful northern light viewing our photographing northern lights.
Once you’ve decided on an actual geographical location that is a northern country that has regular opportunities for seeing the aurora borealis. The next key issue is monitoring the atmosphere and the weather in general. This is the most important aspect of success. So if you’re planning a vacation our once-in-a-lifetime trip around seeing the Northern Lights try to give yourself plenty of time so you can work with whatever the weather may have in store. It can take days weeks and even months for all the elements of nature to work together to produce the best conditions for seeing and photographing northern lights.
Organic factors of Northern Lights
There are many organic factors that one must keep in mind too much light pollution from a nearby city, too much moonlight incoming waves of cloud cover. Rising fog are bursts of precipitation for all things that can totally ruin a Northern Light viewing our photographing northern lights. Before you even bother heading out on a cold dark winter night make sure that Mother Nature is going to cooperate at least someone. A vital source of information and a 24-hour day resource is the aurora borealis forecast found at the website of the geophysical institute of the University of Fairbanks.
Here you’ll find daily and even hourly forecasts of aurora borealis activity you’ll find maps and a wealth of very important information. I highly recommend getting very familiar with this website and having quick access to it on your mobile device. How to take pictures of northern lights with smartphone along with making sure the aurora is going to actually be active on a particular night it’s also imperative to be aware of. What the other atmospheric conditions are going to be doing what time the Sun will rise and set what phase the moon is in and what time the moon will rise and set as well as excessive moonlight can greatly diminish.
The visible activity of the aurora now there are lots of online resources for these but here are some of my favorites.
Pre-field Scouting for Viewing/Photography the Northern Lights
Before you head out on a cold dark night in hopes of photographing northern lights when I first recommend doing is some pre-field scouting. Now by that what I mean is having a good look at a detailed map of the particular area that you’re interested in photographing northern lights. I think it’s good to pick out maybe four or five potential hot spots for really making the most of your time when you actually get in the field to do your photo shoot. There’s a number of qualities you want those potential spots to have first of all obviously you want an area that’s going to be facing north and also a spot that’s fairly wide open you don’t want a lot of obstacles in your way.
You want to have kind of a nice clean palate for the Northern Lights to really do their magic also of course. It has to be a spot that’s fairly easily accessible that you’re not going to put yourself and others in danger getting into and getting out of in the middle of the night of course. You want to have a location that’s going to be as far away from any kind of light pollution as possible.
It’s amazing how much light even a small town can generate so get as far away as you can from any kind of urban town cities, of course, are really any sort of our urban light pollution. How to take pictures of northern lights with smartphone so further you get away the better your photographs you’re going to turn out.
Essentially what you’re looking for are the same compositional elements that are going to make a great daytime landscape or our seascape photograph. If a particular shot is going to look great during the day it’s going to look all that more magical at night with the aurora borealis dancing in the sky behind you.
Now, something that I highly recommend is to get set up for your Northern Light photo shoot while it’s still daylight getting out in a place that you’re not too familiar with when it’s pitch dark can be a very dangerous thing for one. So if at all possible I highly recommend getting out at least a couple hours before it gets dark we’ll talk a little bit about what to bring to stay warm and keep your gear protected. But you know to spend some time really walking around again kind of looking for all those elements that would make a fantastic sort of classic landscape composition.
How to take pictures of northern lights with smartphone? Really plan your shot out while you can still see what you’re doing and then if possible even get your tripod set up do a couple test shots with your Smartphone get everything set is exactly and as close as you can. So when night comes all you got to do is put your Smartphone on the tripod and start firing away.
Iceland Photographing Northern lights Tips
If you’re planning how to take pictures of Northern lights with a smartphone, iPhone or camera. You would like to have at least some basic pieces of equipment at hand during your solo travels or multi-day tour. Remember, the poor atmospheric condition will influence the quality of your photos, so you need to make sure that once again, you are taking all the necessary safety measures.
You will witness the northern lights during nighttime, so long exposure shots are a must. The camera must keep still for quite some time. this is the instant when a tripod can come in handy. Add the freezing temperatures into this equation and there’s no space left for doubt that tripod may be a must! quick tip: stay away from the carbon fiber tripods as they break simply when temperatures are low.
2 Digital Camera, DLSR or Smartphone
Whether it’s a DSLR camera or an iPhone, with the proper settings adjusted accordingly you may be able to take astounding shots of the northern lights.
The wider the lens means that the more of the sky you can capture. Don’t forget to also bring a wipe to take off the wet and frost from time to time. it’d sound like something extra to pack or worry about, but trust us, it’s worth it.
You will want spare batteries or a portable power bank. Store these in a heated place, for they tend to discharge much quicker at cold temperatures. Ideally, you want your camera or phone to be fully charged once you reach your destination, but those few spares batteries or power bank could save your evening. After all, we’d hate for you to go to all this effort simply to then lose power on your batteries.