These are some notes that compliment my Fifth Aurora Picture Gallery. Here--as in my other "Notes on Auroral Photography"--you will find (a little!) on the science and techniques of auroral photography. The aurora RULES!! :) :)
In the way of equipment, I use a Nikon D50 camera, a Tamron AF Aspherical XR DiII LD (IF) 18-200mm lens, and a tripod (a must---due to the long exposures). (I also use a new lens---I can't remember what it is, exactly, at the moment. . . . I call it "The Judge." "Unpack the Judge!" That's from, like, Armageddon, 'n stuff. :) ;) It at least was simply the best aurora lens in the world. -Before you ask, it wasn't cheap. (. . .) :p ;) ) So---how did I know what equipment to buy? Well, I just asked our local photographic genius/specialist on the 7th floor of the GI (Geophysical institute), Poul Jensen. Poul *RuLz*!! :) :) :) :)
Pretty much all my exposures are for 30 seconds; however, if the aurora is REALLY BRIGHT (and sometimes this bright aurora can be fast moving), I use shorter exposures. I don't have any real "rules" for this---one just pretty much has to learn this from experience, I think. (I have learned--by hard (and sometimes painful :P ) experience--that one pretty much always wants to over-estimate the required exposure. (What one sees on the camera "screen," isn't always what one sees on a computer screen. . . .)) Don't look to this page for oodles of technical information---as I don't have it. :) I do all this (and pretty much everything else I do in my life :P :) ), pretty much holistically---intuitively. (Um, like, my exposures are a LOT shorter now, 'n stuff. -I have this new lens, and Poul set my aperture settings correctly. . . . :) ;) )
Oh, yeah. I forgot to mention. . . . The naming scheme [for these pics, 'n stuff] is pretty much straightforward. The word "aurora" is followed by a Roman numeral, denoting which "gallery" it belongs to, followed by a three digit number, which specifies the order in which the "final pics" (MANY more were taken; only the best were chosen. :) ) were taken. The next bit is the date, in "American format" (sorry :P :( )---month.day.final two digits of year. (I leave it up to the intelligence of the reader to know that I have not been taking pictures since 1905---I'm not THAT old!! :) :) ) I used to have a convention of "AM" or "PM" added--to denote whether I went out in the evening or morning; I dropped this. It was cumbersome, and almost . . . well, silly. :) (Please note that I seem to have adopted some form of this convention, again. :) ;) )
-Well, enjoy. I can't even begin to express the passion I have for the aurora!!
There are two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle.
The other is as though everything is a miracle.