|Home >> Ask Olympus: What settings are best for taking pictures of the Northern Lights?|
What are the best settings for photographing the Northern Lights?
To photograph the Northern Lights you will need to make time exposures. This necessitates using a sturdy tripod to support the camera. You will want to get out into the country, away from lights, so you don't get lens flare. Since the efficiency of batteries declines with the cold, carry a spare set and keep it in a pocket close to your body to keep it warm. Set up the camera as follows:
- Use the M (Manual) exposure mode and set the time to 15" (15 seconds) with an f-stop of f2.8. Keep the camera at its widest zoom setting. Set the camera to manual focus and focus the camera at infinity. The autofocus will not work at such low light levels.
- Use either ISO 400 or 800. Test at both ISOs to see what gives you the best result.
- Set the White Balance (WB) to Daylight--do not use the AUTO White Balance setting.
- Set the NOISE REDUCTION to ON. There will definitely be digital noise at such long exposures. Fortunately, the cold air will reduce noise somewhat by keeping the sensor cold.
- Shoot in the RAW Image Quality setting with an additional SHQ jpeg image being made at the same time. The RAW image will give you some flexibility in post-processing in the OLYMPUS Master software.
You might want to use the TIME LAPSE function in the camera to shoot a picture every minute automatically. That way you won't have to press the shutter button for each exposure. The camera will let you shoot up to 99 time lapse images, and if you don't move the camera, you may be able to stitch the images together into a movie using software such as QuickTime Pro.
For more information on shooting the Northern Lights and to view example images, simply do a web search for "Northern Lights photographic exposure" to find articles on this topic.
Archive - E-System:
- Advantages of digital lenses
- Transferring your photos to a CD
- Printing the date on your photos
- Best image sizes for emailing
- Lens connections and F-stop
- Indoor sports photos
- AF illuminator and camera flashes
- Camera locks up while shooting closeups
- Taking photos of the Northern Lights
- Shooting in cold weather
- Pixel Mapping
- Waterfall and Stream Effects
- Camera unable to secure autofocus
- Night sports photos
- Can I use a teleconverter with my kit lens?
- What is MY MODE?
- Saving Your Camera Settings
- What does the Fn button do?
- Tips for shooting holiday lights outdoors
- Tips about memory card usage
- The purpose of IMAGE ASPECT when shooting?
- Tips for digitizing 35mm color slides
- Double exposures and xD card questions
- Taking better indoor photos
- Shooting in RAW
- Battery charging guidelines
- E-System Compatibility
- Cleaning your mirror box
- Studio Lighting
- Tricks for manually focusing
- Focusing E-System cameras in low light
- P, A, S and M modes
- Keeping a zoom lens steady
- What lenses can I use with my DSLR?
- High Dynamic Range (HDR) Photography
- Post-processing color controls in OLYMPUS Master
- How do I use bracketing modes?
- Save a zoomed playback image
- How can CONTRAST, SHARPNESS and
SATURATION be applied creatively?
- Shooting indoors in the winter
- What does the GRADATION feature in the menu do?
- Using OM-System lenses and accessories
Submit your question using the form below and we may feature it in our next edition!
Please note: Questions submitted to Olympus will not receive individual responses.
If you have a specific tech support issue for which you need immediate assistance, please contact our technical support group by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or by calling 1-888-55-DIGITAL.