I wanted to share with you some quick tips to capture the northern lights the day you will have the opportunity. I am not a professional photographer but I am tech savvy and learn pretty quickly. So gear up, make sure your batteries are fully charged, that you are shooting in RAW and not JPEG, it will be easier to edit the photos later.
Here are 5 tips I can give you if you are using an SLR camera:
1. The lens
You will need a wide angle lens (14-24mm range) with fast aperture f/2.8-f/4. Mine, unfortunately, could go as wide as f/3.5. You can still capture the northern lights but the clarity of the photos won't be the best.
2. Manual mode
You know this mode on your camera you always skip because it takes ages to find the right settings to capture the photo you would like! This time, you have no choice, the auto mode won't be helpful if you want great photos. So get familiar with the three main settings: ISO, Aperture and Exposure time.
3. NO FLASH
Please switch off the flash light of your camera. You won't need it. In order to get as much light as possible, you will put your camera on a long exposure mode, I set mine between 20-30 seconds exposure and increase the ISO 800-1200. Take a couple of shots for practice and see if you are happy with the results.
A tripod is a must have to avoid camera shake and your photos to be blurry.
5. Remote or timer
Finally, you need to avoid camera shake effect as much as possible, therefore pressing the shutter button manually is not recommended. Using a remote is the best solution, but if you don't own one, you can still set your camera on a timer and wait for the magic to happen!
And that's about it, once your camera is all set, do not touch the settings anymore and snap away! Also, dressing warm and bringing a thermos of hot beverage is a good idea as you would be in the cold for couple hours.