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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:
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- Lens connections and F-stop
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