September 15th, 2010 by Carl
From my last summer/fall camping trip in Wrangell – St. Elias National Park, for this year – well, so far, anyway. If you think sleeping in the big city is hard, with all those big city lights, try sleeping in a tent under this kind of light. 🙂
What a treat it is to see the aurora borealis (or ‘northern lights’). Nothing quite touches that experience for a little slice of magic. It’s mystical, each and every time.
Fall is a great time to see the aurora – the skies are dark, often clear, and it’s not yet 40 below zero, like it can be in the dead of winter.
For shooting the northern lights, I crank up the ISO of the camera, open the lens to its widest aperture, and shoot with as high a shutter speed as I can. Fast lenses, like a 1.8 or even a 2.8 make a big difference. They’re also heavier than smaller aperture lenses, which makes it a trade-off for a backpacking trip. Sometimes though, such as when the aurora borealis is out, that trade-off becomes moot. The extra weight is well worth the effort. A small headlamp to light up the tent, set up the tripod, and click the shutter. Good night folks.