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How to Capture the Northern Lights

How to Capture the Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis)

The Aurora Borealis, better known as the Northern Lights, is really awe-inspiring. To see this beauty in person, many people go to the Arctic regions of the world. When it comes to seeing the Northern Lights, it may seem like a big investment, but a journey to view them will have you sighing with relief that it even occurred to you.

So, even if you decide to travel to the far north, are you certain that you will be well-prepared to capture stunning images of the northern lights? I thought so, too, but I’ve got you covered! In the following section, I’ll go into further detail on how to photograph the northern lights!

How to Capture Northern Lights 

It is only possible to see the Northern Lights in areas near or above the Arctic Circle, making it one of nature’s most amazing spectacles to witness. For many individuals, taking a picture of the lights is a way to remember and savor the experience forever.

Now, the big question remains – how to catch the ideal photo of the northern lights? Not many people consider this while planning a trip to view the aurora borealis, but mastering the art of taking sharp photos is crucial if you don’t want your memories of the trip to be ruined by fuzzy photos. The first step in getting the perfect shot is eliminating any sources of unwanted light, and the following suggestions can help you do just that:

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Essential Requirements 

Here are the things you’ll need.

Manual Mode

A camera with a manual mode is the most convenient to have with you at all times. First and foremost, this is the most crucial stage. For nighttime photography, a camera’s manual mode is essential since the user can manage all of the camera’s settings. When photographing the northern lights, turn off your flash and use manual focus. A fresh update from Techwhippet on the best camera for photographing the Aurora Borealis has also been provided. That’s something to keep an eye on.


It’s unlikely that you’ll be able to take nighttime photos without them being fuzzy unless you have rock-solid grip strength. To get the best shots of the northern lights, you need a tripod, and this is the most important stage in the process. Using a tripod will help you avoid blurry or skewed photos.


If you’re angling the camera, keep in mind that your fingers may be too close to the shutter, which might result in fuzzy images. Instead, use the self-timer and watch the magic happen.

Wide-angle Frame 

To get the best shot, make sure your camera is set correctly to take advantage of the wide-angle lens. It allows you to take in as much of the surrounding scenery as possible, resulting in a more gorgeous final product.

Essential Camera Settings 

Here are a few basic camera settings that you should be familiar with.


Since the ISO setting on recent releases of DSLRs is relatively high, those who own a newer release will have the advantage in this situation. To capture images with a lot of detail, you’ll want to choose a high ISO level. By adjusting ISO, you may fine-tune your camera’s sensitivity to light and get better results while taking photos in low light. When photographing the northern lights, it is best to use a high ISO setting.

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For the best results, use a wide-angle lens with an aperture setting of f/4 or f/2.8, which will let just enough light in to catch the aurora borealis. If you choose an aperture less than 2.8, you’ll get a grainy, pixel-peeling effect.


You also need to know how fast your camera’s shutter is set. The shutter speed can’t be determined until you know how fast and how brilliant the lights are. In order to ensure that you don’t lose time tinkering with the speed settings, professionals have come up with a list of recommended settings. It is recommended that you set your shutter speed between 5 and 10 seconds while photographing brilliant auroras. You may set it up between 12 and 18 seconds for slow-moving auroras, and between 20 and 25 seconds for unclear auroras.

Balance of Colors

White balance settings on your camera will help you capture the surroundings in their truest form. The white balance option eliminates any camera-generated light sources and balances out all other factors, allowing the camera to capture the true essence of an event. Set your camera’s white balance to ‘daylight,’ so that your photos don’t appear too bright or yellow.

The Best Time to See Northern Lights 

To snap these incredible photos of the northern lights, of course, you must be able to see them for yourself. There is no way to anticipate when the Northern Lights will appear. For a variety of reasons, it’s extremely difficult to make accurate forecasts about the timing of this natural occurrence. In addition, the projections tend to be wrong by a significant margin because it’s unpredictable.

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Numerous studies have been undertaken to try to figure out the mystery of the northern lights, but one issue remains: “When is the optimum time to observe northern lights?” Unpredictability just adds to the difficulty of making reasoned decisions based on a hunch and anticipating its appearance.

Experts who have studied northern lights for years have found that the greatest months for seeing aurora borealis are January to March, and there’s a good explanation for this. Observers are more likely to see the northern lights throughout the months of January through March since the evenings are longer at this time of year.

People are less likely to observe the aurora borealis during the months of April to August since the nights are shorter and the aurora colors are only visible with scientific equipment.

As a result, traveling to see it in its full splendor in the dead of winter is the wisest choice. In addition, the photos will be stunning!


Now that you’ve read this guide, you’re ready to capture the most breathtaking images of nature’s greatest show. In addition to shooting photos, make sure to take at the moment and savor it with your own eyes, since nothing is more strange than experiencing it firsthand.

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