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Northern Lights In Lofoten, Norway 1

One of the things every photographer hopes for when visiting the northern latitudes is the opportunity to see the Northern Lights.  I was fortunate enough to have a few great opportunities on my recent Lofoten Norway trip.  These lights are tricky to shoot.  If you are a photographer you’ll find that first, you need to set your lens to infinity. This is not easy with most of today’s lenses.  I use a 14mm Rokinon lens that has an infinity stop.  I know just how far to back off the infinity mark to get a sharp image. If you are using a lens that doesn’t have an infinity stop you’ll need to manually focus it on infinity then tape the lens down so the focus ring doesn’t move.   You’ll set the camera’s ISO to 3200 and the widest f-stop.  No depth of field needed when shooting something at infinity.  I start my first exposure at 8 seconds and I turn on noise reduction.  This adds an additional 8 seconds after the exposure is made but assures a cleaner image.  You can’t use a histogram so you’ll have to make a judgment call from the screen on the back of the camera to determine if you need more or less exposure.  If is too dark raise your ISO.  Don’t shoot over 8 seconds if you can help it.  I find an exposure of 4-8 seconds to be great for most lights.  You’ll get the hang of it pretty quickly.  Then all you do do is shoot away as the sky puts on a show that will amaze you.

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