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Tip for Photographing Aurora Borealis, North Light, Polar light

Aurora – some tips and advises

First, Tromsø, were I live, is a great town to travel to for Aurora spotting.
In general Nordland, Troms and Finnmark County are great counties for this.
Tromsø is the largest city in the north of Norway, and there live ca. 65.000 people here. There’s lots of hotels here, and standard is very good.(But expensive!) In general, all is expensive in Norway, especially alcohol and tobacco, so bring enough.(just check out how much you can bring into Norway, 200 cigarettes, 3 l of wine)
With car you can travel around, and within one hour of driving, there are many great places to go for Aurora spotting. (Petrol: 15+ NOK/L, diesel: 14+ NOK/L)

As I live north of the arctic circle, the sun is shining all 24 hours of the day during summertime. So from mid april through august the auroras will not be visible because of the bright sky.
Besides this, the auroras occors all year round
I guess all know this. So as long as it is dark enough, you can see it. And from mid September the auroras will clearly visible. Even in September there can be great weather, with temperatures rising up to 10 ̊C. However, I think March probably is the best month for Aurora. I’m not sure of this, but i mean to have heard that the suns activity rises around March. (Something with the suns cycle?)

March is still winter in Norway, and temperature can drop to -15̊C. And the possibility of snowy weather, of curse. One thing is to predict Aurora activity, but to predict weather is quite another matter… However, March can provide great weather for many days in a row.
I guess it is possible to get statistics from weather institute.
Anyway, you should check out weather and forecast before you travel. No use to go here if there’s a snowstorm raging for a week.

Clothing / equipment:
Bring enough warm clothes! A field trip can last for several hours. Make sure you have tried the cloths while you still is at home. Just to make sure that all fits.
-Wide boots that’s roomy enough for two or three pair of wool socks
-Thick insulated jacket and trousers
-Head flash light (batteries)
-Sitting pad,(square neoprene pad to sit on)
-Thermos bottle for hot drinks

Camera and settings:
I guess you are experienced photographers, but anyway:
Proper camera equipment:
-Tripod, (because of long exposures)
-Remote wired control for the camera. IR controllers are poor when the temperature drops.
-Extra batteries for the camera
-You should have wide angle lenses with low aperture, f/2,8 or lower
-Make sure you know the camera well! All settings for night-photographing is important to know. If you come to Norway in -15̊C, and don’t know your camera settings, it’s to late to learn this.
- A way to learn to photograph the Auroras is to try to take pictures of stars / the milky way. If you master this, it will help you a long way with the Aurora photographing.


I’ll try to list some websites you might like:

“Guide for Tromsø:”

“Weather forecast:”

“Cheap Norwegian Airline Company:”

Aurora sites:


“Geomagnetic data:”http://flux.phys.uit.no/cgi-bin/config.cgi?site...+


On Kvaløya Island, just outside Tromsø, there are many spots for Aurora-watching:
Places to go:


“Tromvik (and area around)”:

“Sommarøya island”:

“Skittenelv (camping)”:

“Ersfjordbotn and Tromvik are on Kvaløya island, just outside Tromsø”:


Hope these tip will help you in your quest for Aurora.

This memo can be copied in one condition
“You have to link it back to this site:”http://www.redbubble.com/people/roamer/writing/...

© Frank Olsen July 2011. Edited febr 2012

Tip for Photographing Aurora Borealis, North Light, Polar light

Frank Olsen


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