I went out around 19:30 together with my family and some friends to my kids. We had a really great time together watching the first arrival of the solar wind. It started out quite good but after an hour or so it went quiet so everyone but me went back home. I decided to wait and see if the promising forecast would deliver something more spectacular.
While waiting for the solar wind to strike again I scouted for an interesting location and ended up in the city ski slope in Östersund. I found that the lights was turned off so I took the opportunity to get a good view over the city. I also got the time to enjoy the view of a very colorful and beautiful lunar corona and for a short period of time I could also see a faint lunar halo so there were a lot of things going on this night.
In the end this turned out to be a night to remember with one of the most amazing Northern Lights I’ve seen. It’s night like these that keeps us astrophotographers going out at night waiting and waiting for that perfect moment.
The forecast for the coming two nights also looks very promising so keep an eye out on the sky to the North. This time of the year, around the spring equinox, is usually really good for Northern Lights so fingers crossed for more nights like this.
Here’s a few tips for Northern Light photography
- Follow the Northern Light forecast through phone apps (Search for Aurora forecast) or websites like spaceweatherlive.com, noaa.gov etc.
- Scout and decide your location during daylight. Look for interesting and exciting things to work with in your foreground.
- Bring fully charged batteries, tripod, headlamp, warm clothes, something warm to drink, and don’t forget your patience. It can sometimes be a long wait. Last time I waited for about three hours before the show started.
- As for exposure, start with something like 5-10 seconds at ISO 1600, it all depends on your surroundings and the intensity of the Northern Lights, it can vary a lot throughout the night.
- Regarding choice of lenses, since Northern Lights can be quite big in the sky a wide angle lens is your best choice. I usually work between 14 and 50-70 mm, mostly in the lower end.
- Remember to look around the sky, the activity can change location really quick.
- Don’t forget to experiment with different exposure times and ISO values. Go crazy and see what happens, you never know what you will get.
Gear used for filming in real-time and for taking stills
Nikon Z6 II with Nikon Z 20mm f/1.8 S
Nikon Z9 with Nikon Z 58mm f/0.95 Noct
Tripod – Leofoto LM-323C with NB-40 ballhead