Tommy Eliassen is based in Mo i Rana, Norway, where he is lucky enough to enjoy frequent sightings of the Northern Lights. He talks to us about the techniques he uses to photograph the aurora.
“I’ve always been interested in night and long exposure photography. I started with a film-based SLR in the late 1990s and got my first digital camera in 2006. Now I use a Nikon D700 with a Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8 for most of my photos.
In recent years I’ve become more and more interested in astrophotography. Using the aurora, the Milky Way and meteors as backgrounds to my landscape photos really gives them a new dimension.
Many of my photos feature the aurora borealis. I guess it’s because I’m lucky enough to live just under the Arctic Circle and you can’t avoid this beautiful and fascinating natural phenomenon. I try to make the most out of the aurora season by going out every night when I have the time and the conditions are right.
There is a bit of planning involved before I go out. First of all I always keep myself updated on the weather forecast and the sun activity. I use different websites such as noaa.gov and spaceweather.com to keep track of sun activity, growing sunspots and aurora forecast. I also use The Photographer’s Ephemeris and Google Earth when I plan locations.” – Tommy Eliassen
If you’re interested in trying out photographing the aurora for yourself if you’re lucky enough to see it, Tommy has shared his tips below.
Tips for aurora photography:
- First of all you need a camera with manual settings, wide angle lens and a tripod.
- Keep yourself updated on the conditions
- Use high ISO to freeze the movement in the aurora. I normally shoot in the ISO-range of 1000-4000.
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