Tuesday, 5 March 2013

My Trip to Lapland

Hello again my Photographic enthusiasts

I have just got back from the stunning location of Karesuando in Lapland Finland. I ventured there for a very active family holiday with photography taking a back seat. But on our final night we had heard there was likely chance to see the Aurora Borealis better known as the Northern Lights so I made it my goal to at least capture one picture of them before I went home.

It was lovely and warm at -24C and me being my stupid self thought that I would stand on the top point in Karesuando all night if I had to. Just so that I could get a glimpse of the lights. At around 10 o'clock the lights lit up the sky for miles around and produced a wonderful spectacle that I can only describe as Natures night club. They were dancing all around me and I was so overwhelmed I completely forget to set my camera up. In a mad panic I got my camera set up on its tripod and fired off a few test shots.

Once I had the correct settings god did the images come out well. This was my first ever experience of photographing in such extreme conditions. But something about the moment made me completely forget about the cold and the gloves were off and I was shooting picture after picture after picture.

Soon I found out that I was not the only photographer on the hill that night. This lead to a free for all to get to the best spot. In a split second all hell broke loose as the lights disappeared and appeared over the other side of the sky. A mad dash erupted with tripods being used as battering rams and lens caps being thrown in all directions. Bags were just abandoned mothers and children left to fend for them selves as the pictures were more important as we had no idea how long the lights were going to last. Eventually when all calm resumed the lights shone better than before and lit up the night like it was the middle of the day.

I aimed my focus at capturing the full scene in front of me rather than focusing purely on the sky, And my results were better than I could have dreamed. I was so relieved that I had evidential proof that I had witnessed Natures night club in full. It was simply wow.........

These are a selection of my favourite images from the night. Because the settings that I started with showed the scene to its best potential I thought I would just keep the camera set on that single setting. Far easier than changing them for each shot. For people that dont know me I am a Canon man. Im sorry if that isnt what you use and your a Nikon or Olympus user. I apologise because all my reviews and my likes and dislikes on my camera and its lenses will be all about Canon as I haven't got access to other brands. Currently. But I use a variety of accessories of different brands which I will review on another post. 

The settings and equipment that I used for this shoot were: 
Canon 5D MKIII
17mm-40mm Canon l Lens
Manfrotto Tripod.
30sec f.8.0 ISO1600

These combined made for these shots some of my favourite images I have taken. But even with all these settings. Noise is not easy to avoid, especially when the sky is dark. So my tip for this week is dont worry if your images have slight noise coming through as I feel it adds definition to sky and really highlights colours in the image. Experiment and you never know noise might make your images better. Especially in black and white.

I hope you have enjoyed my post today and if you liked it or found it helpful please leave a comment and follow me. 

Thanks. Matt Dixon

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