Photographing the aurora

I attended a seminar presented to physics PGDE students on the Aurora, its cause, how and when to find it and photograph it, by Franz Natschläger. Franz is an Austrian physicist, astronomer and photographer who shared with us some useful settings for taking good photographs of the aurora, which are also a starting point for general astrophotography.

  • Mode: Manual
  • Aperture: 2.8 or 3.5 (4.0 is OK)
  • Focus: Manual – large distance/infinity for aurora, 1m for star trails to bring out the colour
  • Lens: 18-55 on APS sensor cameras, 24-70 on full format
  • ISO: about 1600
  • Exposure time about 15 seconds
  • White balance 3000K to 5000K

Useful sites for information about the weather in space (and therefore the chance of seeing the aurora) include:

Franz recommended Tromsø in Norway as the best place to see the aurora and suggested for further information for a visit. He uses StarTrails software for stacking astro photographs.

Why not go and take a look at Franz’ aurora photos? I hope to post some of my own here before too long.

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