Northern Lights photo

The aurora borealis (northern lights) light up the night sky and a reflection glows in Dead Dog Hill Lake in the Mentasta Mountains, boreal forest, Wrangell - St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska.

The aurora borealis (northern lights) light up the night sky and a reflection glows in the lake in the Mentasta Mountains, boreal forest, Wrangell – St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska. Please click on the image above to view a larger version of the photo.

Hey Folks,

Here’s another northern lights photo. This one I tried my darndest to catch the reflection in the foreground, but the slight breeze thwarted my every effort.

I’m seriously considering buying the Nikon 24mm 1.4 lens, specifically for northern lights photos. The difference in shutter speed with that lens, versus using a 2.4mm lens, is enormous.

For example, this northern lights photo was taken at f.28 and a shutter speed of 25 seconds. That means after the exposure, is then need to let the camera effectively take another 25 second exposure for noise reduction .. meaning the total time elapsed is 50 seconds. That’s a lot of time to be not shooting. it also means, with that long exposure, the lights tend to wash out a little, and lose definition that comes with a faster shutter speed.

Conversely, if you happen to be suffering from Strep throat induced diarrhea, the longer exposure can work to your benefit; you’ll certainly not be in any rush for the camera to finish doing it’s business while you tend your own. Just say’n, cause trust me, it CAN happen! 🙂

On the other hand, a lens with max aperture of 1.4 is 2 whole stops faster .. a 25 second exposure becomes about 6 seconds. Quite a difference, eh? It would also be a little bit wider than my 28-70 f2.8 lens. For northern lights photos, wider is better. I have the 12-24mm, but it’s an F4 lens, meaning I’d be stopped down more, and lose another stop of light. To compensate for that, I had to crank the ISO up to 1600. On my D300s, that’s not really a great option.

So I’m thinking hard about the 24mm f1.4 lens. Really hard, because it’s an astronomical amount of cash outlay for a tiny little lens. But, i’ve always been partial to prime lenses over zooms, and I do miss my little old 24mm f2.8 I used to have when I shot film cameras. Then, if I can get a D700, or other FX camera body, I’d have a full frame 24mm lens, at f1.4, and can crank up the ISO even higher. That’s gotta be a pretty sweet northern lights rig.

It’s also be a pretty nice setup for aerial photography – not that I’ll be able to afford to even look inside a plane if I spend all that money on a 24mm lens.

On top of all that, I’m thinking about a new pair of Madshus Annum skis …. hhhmmm … Decisions, decisions, decisions.

Maybe I need to get a job?

Cheers

Carl

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