Northern Lights 2. October


Link Posted 03/10/2013 - 16:41
The Northern Lights were active above Trondheim last night. Unfortunately I was unable to go down to the fjord, where I usually do my NL photography. Instead I installed my camera in an open window in our house, and programmed many hours of interval shooting. Even though there is quite a lot of light pollution in the area where we live, the images turned out quite okay. I have tried to reduce the lights of all the houses and the street lamps in PP. Otherwise all the images have the same adjustments with regards to WB, contrast, ect.

C & C is welcome!












Link Posted 03/10/2013 - 16:55
Stunning photos Bjørn. Iam very jealous as up in Finnmark we had heavy cloud and saw nothing. What with that and todays storm it hasn't been so good for photos.
What a great view from your home too.


Link Posted 03/10/2013 - 17:03
Thanks Gwyn! Are you in Finnmark now? If so, I hope the weather improves and that you have a pleasant stay there. Our house is situated overlooking parts of the Trondheimsfjord, very convenient if you are a lazy photographer (just open the window and shoot away)




Link Posted 03/10/2013 - 17:47
So you managed to capture it, how nice.

I was going to try since the weather forecast was promising, well the sunstorms anyway...

The 1. oct I was in Tromsø, but crappy weather, so couldn't see anything, sadly.

I heard it was better in Trondheim then, so I came on here yesterday hoping to see something from you Bjørn, but I guess you missed it.

The 2. oct I was in Trondheim, but when the forecast alerted me about it (sadly I have no direct view of the northern hemisphere from the house) I rushed outside, only to be met with a thick fog... I couldn't see further than 50 meters ahead of me

It does look like you really took advantage of the pre-programmed intervals.

Happy to see that you did catch some of it


Link Posted 03/10/2013 - 19:37
Very jealous - seen them once in N Finland, something I'll never forget. Last time I went north, it was either overcast or no show.

K-5iiS; K-r; ME Super; ME; DA* 16-50 f2.8; DA 18-135 WR; DA 55-300 WR; HD DA 15mm F4 ED AL Limited; FA 50mm f1.4; A50mm f1.7; DAL 18-55mm; M40mm f2.8; + assorted non-Pentax lenses

My Flikr Page link


Link Posted 03/10/2013 - 21:13
Thank you S.M. and Phil!




Link Posted 03/10/2013 - 21:55
Stunning captures Bjorn, like Phil I'm jealous that you are so close to the events, wish we could see them more often down here in Scotland.

Not wishing to hijack your thread but here's one of the few I managed to capture from Fife Ness in January 2012, sadly I wasn't using a Pentax that evening

LBA is good for you, a Lens a day helps you work, rest and play.


Link Posted 04/10/2013 - 06:25
Glorious captures of a truly amazing event, well done
C&C welcome.


Link Posted 04/10/2013 - 10:59
A nice set of images there, well done

We're off to Iceland in November for a week and hope to see the Northern Lights at some point. I haven't taken photos of them before, what settings do you use?
My Flickr Page


Link Posted 04/10/2013 - 11:16
Thank you Brian, Don and Rob!

RobE17 wrote:
We're off to Iceland in November for a week and hope to see the Northern Lights at some point. I haven't taken photos of them before, what settings do you use?

I will try to share some of my experience. Last winter I purchased a K-5, and with this camera I now have much more freedom regarding exposure time and high ISO. My previous camera, the K20D, was just not good enough at ISO above 400. The K-5 gives perfect (more or less noiseless) images up to at least ISO 1600.

You need a really wide lens for Northern Lights photography, because you want to capture both something on the ground (water, house, lake, tree, etc.) and as much of the Northern Lights as possible. Sometimes the lights appear as high as 300km up into the atmosphere, and you need a really wide lens to capture this. Here in Norway the Tokina 11-16 f2.8 is very popular amongst NL photographers, unfortunately it is not made in Pentax mount. I use a DA12-24mm f4 lens together with my K-5. 12mm is wide enough, and together with the K-5´s brilliant high ISO capability, f4 is fast enough.

The problematic area with Northern Lights photography is the compromise between short enough exposures and high ISO performance, and wanting to end up with good image quality. With ISO 1600 and lens wide open (f4) I experiment with exposures between 5-30 seconds. Sometimes, if the Northern Lights are really intense/strong, one needs to use even shorter exposures to capture as much detail and shapes as possible.

Camera settings:

"M" setting on camera (manual)
RAW+ (jpeg and RAW) or just RAW
White balance: fluorescent light "L" (warm white)
ISO: 1600
Exposure: 15 seconds (as a point of departure)
Aperture: Wide open
Manual focus: You need to check exactly where infinity is on your lens, so that you can adjust this manually (at night).

Equipment: Tripod, extra battery, flashlight, warm clothes, gloves and boots

When processing RAW I most often set Temp to around 3250 and Tint between 20-40.

Hope this is of some help!




Link Posted 04/10/2013 - 18:27
Excellent images Bjorn, my faves are 3 and 5, but all great. Totally support your comments about the suitability of the K5 for NL photography, I'd add that I was only down 1 bar on battery after 4 hours at -30C. Camera never missed a beat, but lens front element was misting up on occasions. I used a sigms 15mm f2.8 prime, which works very well for NL photography. I also found that upping the clarity in ACR worked well in post, as did dropping the black point.
I assembled some of my images into a timelapse, in retrospect I'd have pushed the ISO even higher (3200/6400) to shorten the shutter speed and put up with the noise if I was doing that again.

K3ii, DA16-85, DA35mm Limited, FA77mm Limited, 55mm f1.8 K, 135mm f3.5 M, DA300, DA 1.4 HD TC,
DA16-45, Sigma 15mm f2.8. Cosina 100mm f3.5 macro
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