First attempt at Northern Lights

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Jak
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#3
Wow, No3 is the pick of the bunch (y)
 
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D
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#8
Were you there for the big solar storm a couple of weekends ago? my friend was there and I was very jealous, even more so when she said she had found it under whelming when all Icelandic media outlets and accounts I follow had said they'd never seen a display like it! Clear skies and 5kps according to the forecast. I've seen it 3 times, at different levels but never a 5. The first was a level 3 had has been the most exciting one of the 3 i think. Won't be there in NL times next time I go though.

What length exposures were you using Rick?
 
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Rick
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#9
Thanks for your comments everyone. The first night we went out was a bust, too overcast. These were from the second night. We had the lights north, east, west, and directly overhead. The first picture we started getting purple lights under the green. The second picture was shot directly overhead. The third was what we saw the majority of time. Took a lot of picts but felt these represented the different views best, didn't want to overload with pictures lol. To answer your questions, we weren't there for the big solar storm, we came after that. They are not that deep of a green to the naked eye but they move and dance across the sky, something pictures can't really capture. The first overcast night we couldn't see any lights but when I took a picture they showed up under the clouds. I used a Nikon D800 with 20mm 1.8 manually focused to infinity beforehand. Settings started at WB 4000k, F2.0, 12sec, ISO 1200. Had some hotspots so I was tweeking the ISO and shutterspeed as i went. This is from the first night. iceland_20190926_2422.JPG
 
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Rick
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#10
Those ratings are as reliable as a weather forecast according to our guide. The first night was a 2 and the second was a 3. He said the 2nd night was a top 20 night that he's seen.
 
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#11
I think you’ve captured the lights well technically but needed something of interest on the ground, the compositions don’t hold my eyes even with the wonderful light display. A more distinctive mountain range may have helped and more foreground detail. Alyn Wallace gets that balance pretty well I think
 
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#12
I agree on needing better foreground but this was a tour bus so I was limited to where the tour guide took us. If I go back I'll like to take one of the jeep tours since they take you to more remote areas. It was hard balancing the lights and foreground since opening up for the foreground was blowing out parts of the lights. There might be some techniques that might work better. For now it's incentive to go back and try for better.
 
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#13
Getting a fab foreground is as much a challenge as it is shooting the lights - imo - with large tour buses, it's unlikely due to their limits on where they can stop. The mini buses are better as they have a bit more flexibility, a private tour with a photo guide and an all terrain vechile is good but also pricey - best of course is having your own car and doing some research in good places for foreground, in a range of places that you may be able to get to with the lights. I liked chasing the lights myself and trying to find a good spot, it was exciting, but i lacked the research and only after the fact did i think of some places i could have gone (this was near Vik). Driving in the middle of winter isn't always a thing people want to do (i know i don't) so I always say to people that September is a good time of year to go as the lights are out, but usually the snow has not arrived so you are less likely to have to worry about that (obv wind and rain can still happen but if snow/ice isn't your thing, september is good). On that occasion I ended up at Skogafoss, but in hindsight, Seljalandsfoss may have been better. i couldnt take full advantage of having the waterfall in shot as the lights were too low, thee was more spray as you got to close due to wind and also the foreground was full of tents and cars which kind of jarred too. i was too scared of driving another 30mins or so down the round in case the lights went.

im no expert but just my experience...
 
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