Midnight in Iceland

by thesquirrelhorde

My first attempt at photographing the aurora borealis while on holiday in Iceland. I really enjoyed taking this but I feel like I have a lot to learn so any criticism or tips gratefully received.
Uploaded08/10/2012 - 16:09
CategoryLandscape / Travel
Shutter Speed14 sec
Focal Length28mm

Posted 08/10/2012 - 16:42 Link
Wonderful image! I like the colour of the aurora in your image, it looks very "natural", based on my own attempts with Northern Lights. Some people over process their aurora images. The Icelandic scenery makes a great background/contrast to the atmospheric phenomenon. The exif data shows that you have used a 28mm (manual prime?). With this motive above a 28mm is very suitable, but in many cases you would probably need a wider lens. I have been struggling with a FA* 24mm f2.0 lens on my K20D, and found that almost all my Northern Lights photos are unsatisfactory because much of the aurora is missing. My best aurora images so far have been with the 24mm on a film camera. Two weeks ago I purchased a DA 12-24, and I believe this will be wide enough on APS-C.

Another thing you could experiment with in future aurora photos is the exposure. Many Northern Lights photographers here in Norway use "fast" exposures, somewhere between 1-10 seconds, all depending on the intensity and speed of the aurora. You then need to use higher ISO, but that will not be a problem on a K-5.

Hope this is helpful!

Best regards

Posted 08/10/2012 - 16:55 Link
It looks great to me!

Unfortunately, I can't offer any help. It's not a subject I've had much practice at!
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Posted 08/10/2012 - 17:02 Link
Not a bad effort for the fist time,

the only thing i can say to do is experiment.. try different exposure times and sensativity values....
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Posted 08/10/2012 - 19:46 Link
Thanks all for the feedback, much appreciated .

Bjørn, After saving up for my K-5 I was on a budget when it came to getting a lens that could handle aurora photography . I wanted a lens that was as fast and as wide as possible and found an old Petri 28 mm f2 on ebay http://www.pentaxforums.com/userreviews/petri-28mm-f-2-mc.html. One of the reasons I went Pentax in the first place was the ability to use any K-mount lens! I'm looking forward to seeing the shots you get with the DA 12-24.

As you can imagine, I took a few shots. The following night was even more spectacular so I could drop my exposure to 5 seconds. Unfortunately I think I might nudged the manual focus off infinity during the night as they appear out of focus.

I use Lightroom for processing and find that when I export to jpg or to print the photos are noticeably darker. I've calibrated my screen using a spyder. Is there anything else I could do to preserve the image I achieve in LR?

Thanks again!
Posted 08/10/2012 - 20:12 Link
Very beautiful!!!!

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