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Hunting for the Northern Lights

How to catch the Northern Lights?

How to catch the Northern Lights?

A few general rules:

1. Move away from lighting

Find a location further from the city center so that the illumination does not illuminate the sky. Your chances are doubled if you go with a guide or stay in a house away from the city (Aurora Village is located 50 km from Murmansk).

2. Check forecasts

Not only the Northern Lights forecast, which can be found on our website https://auroravillage.info/forecast/, is important here, but also the weather forecast, because we need a clear sky. The Radiance forecast contains the kp-index – the larger it is, the brighter the Radiance will be. But even with kp-index values of 2 or 3, green and colored lights will still blaze in the sky (assuming a clear sky).

How to catch Aurora on the phone?

1. Don’t turn on the flash

2. Adjust focus manually

All phones of the latest models cope with this task without special settings (for example, iPhone 11 and above or Honor10xlite), while others will most likely require special applications:

They allow you to change camera settings such as exposure time. Popular apps include Long Exposure 2, NightCap Camera, and Northern Lights Photo Taker. Find the ones that are compatible with your smartphone and test them in advance to find the most suitable one.

3. Use a tripod and timer for stability. This will reduce the vibration of the camera. Remember that if you have vibration alert enabled on your smartphone, it is better to disable it so that a sudden call does not suddenly spoil the picture.

4. Take a spare power supply with you. In cold weather, batteries drain faster. To conserve energy, it is wise to close all other applications.

5. Make the northern lights part of your photo, not the only subject

How to catch the Northern Lights with your camera?

You will have to try and figure out the manual settings, if you haven’t figured it out yet) Yes, automatic settings greatly simplify life, but after dark it only spoils everything. In the worst case, you may not even see the northern lights in the photos!

The manual settings allow you to adjust focus, shutter speed, ISO and aperture, which are essential to catching the Northern Lights.

Excerpt

The time the shutter is open, which adds light to your shot. Longer shutter speeds mean more light, which is exactly what you want.

☝️Use a tripod, self-timer or cable release to stabilize the camera.

Diaphragm

Think of the aperture as the pupil of your camera. Adjust the iris to change the amount of light entering the lens. Use the smallest aperture setting — f / 1.4 – f / 4, for example.

Light sensitivity (ISO)

The higher the light sensitivity, the brighter the picture will be. Light sensitivity from 800 to 3200 is optimal, but it largely depends on other light sources, such as the moon.

Focusing

For best results, adjust focus manually. Find a bright star and focus on it so that the star remains small in the lens and does not blur.

❗️Good settings for aurora borealis are f / 2.8 aperture, 1600 ISO (increase if it’s very dark) and 15 second shutter speed. Remember that if the northern lights are very active (i.e. changing rapidly), the holding time should be shortened.

Get the help of a guide. Many northern lights guides are good with your camera and can help you set up your technique.

Settle into our cozy Igloo domes to watch the Northern Lights. Aurora Village is located between the capital of the Northern Lights - Murmansk and the Arctic Ocean. From Murmansk the distance is about 50 km. In this place, it is absolutely dark and the light of the city does not interfere at all with a comfortable observation of the natural miracle.

Join us on the hunt for the Northern Lights! An adventure in pursuit of an exceptional natural phenomenon that makes us happy all winter! The best time for hunting is from October to April, with a suitable forecast: cloudless sky, high level of solar activity.

Still have questions? Contact us