Developed using darktable 2.0.6
I shot this on a fantastic holiday in Alaska in September 2016. We were spending the night in a tiny, tiny village just off the Dalton highway on the way north to the Arctic Sea. Our guide, Hugh Rose (hughrosephotography.com) lives in Fairbanks and he said the lights that night were in the top 5 he had ever experienced!
This image was shot just after midnight, RAW with a Canon 70D and an EF-S 17-55mm lens supposedly very good in low light.
Developing the image raises a number of challenges:
What White Balance setting is appropriate for the Northern Lights?
Various websites will tell you that it depends, but the answer may be between 3000 and 5000 Kelvin, or just follow your eyes, or even try fluorescent lighting settings as that is the mechanism powering the aurora.
How black should the sky be?
It was a moonless night but the aurora covered most of the sky at times.
Can the contrast be enhanced given the lengthy exposure times?
The aurora was in motion with a kind of rippling effect so there is likely some motion blur
And what about the colours?
There are a definite set of hues that are produced in an aurora, and the human eye is less sensitive to them than the camera lens. The base aurora colour is green, but not that green - some choices to be made.
One thing is for sure, there is ample opportunity to make a pretty dramatic image.
IMG_4091.CR2 (30.6 MB)
This image is release under the copyright licence CC-0 which means you can do pretty much what you like with it.