These are some notes that compliment my Sixth 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.