And now a break from the war...northern lights. - RC Groups
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Mar 29, 2003, 03:55 AM
Travelling into the future
Xoltri's Avatar

And now a break from the war...northern lights.

Every channel, every show, every forum, every day 24 hours. Too much war talk.

For a change of pace here is a photo I took of some pretty nice northern lights that happened earlier tonite. Not the nicest I've seen, but they did get low enough to start turning purple/pink.

The photo is blurry because I don't have a tripod yet and it is hard to hold the camera still during the 15 seconds the shutter was open . The camera is a Canon Powershot A60.
Mar 29, 2003, 04:08 AM
Useful Idiot

Re: And now a break from the war...northern lights.

Originally posted by Xoltri
Every channel, every show, every forum, every day 24 hours. Too much war talk.

Looks like Baghdad (sorry )
If you like night-time photography invest in the sturdiest you can afford. The difference is amazing. Also, paradoxically, with a tripod slower shutter speed can help, as the clunk of the mirror is less. Using your "B" setting and the lens cap as a shutter can work quite well.
I don't know whether that's possible on these new-fangled boxes of tricks
Mar 29, 2003, 12:16 PM
Registered User
Phil G's Avatar
I second the "good tripod" recommendation.

I've been into photography for something like 35 years and I've seen WAY to many people buy a decent camera and then get the cheapest tripod they can find.

My favorites are Bogens (now Manifrotto IIRC).

Something else you might try is a sandbag or something similar. Just prop the camera pointing in the desired direction. I recommend a locking cable-release, and as above use the "B" setting.

For astrophotography through a telescope (exposures measured in minutes or hours) amateur astronomers do what is called a "hat trick".

Basically this involves using a piece of cardboard (or a hat) held in front of (but not touching) the lens. You open the shutter and wait a couple seconds for the vibrations to damp down, then smoothly remove the "hat" to the side.

As your exposure ends, you smoothly replace the "hat" from the opposite side and then close the shutter. This way your exposure across the film is more uniform than if you, for example, remove the "hat" to the right and then replace it from the right (not sure if this is clear)...

Other than the motion trails (not too bad for 15s handheld BTW) it seems to me that your shot is a bit overexposed. I'd try 5 and 10 seconds (bracket, bracket, bracket) next time...

Good subject for digital video too...

I have a great fireworks shot that I took a few years ago that I'll try to find and post later. I used a digital camera (also handheld) and caught a skyburst with Orion behind and the Moon off to one side. Really striking.

Mar 29, 2003, 12:26 PM
29 rods from you in western WI
Karl Bē's Avatar
I saw the northern lights last night as well. The clouds cleared enough to catch a bit of them off towards the horizon. They were pretty dim, and I saw them while driving, but the street lights at home made them impossible to see.
Mar 29, 2003, 04:13 PM
Senior Member
aurora showed up here in '90 or so... scared the heck out of me and others here on the gulf coast... my first viewing

the old rule was that if you could lift the tripod with one hand then it wasn't heavy enough... but now we advise that you buy the heaviest one that you will actually carry along with you (not leave home or in the car), and then hang your gadget bag around the centerpost to add mass

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