Do you have a dream to see and photograph one of the most interesting natural phenomena? If you have a plan to visit the Northern hemisphere then you should find some time and create opportunity to see the Aurora Borealis or the Northern Lights.
What I mean by the Northern hemisphere is the area above the 60 degrees north of the Earth’s equator. It crosses North Europe, North Asia, Pacific Ocean, North America, and the Atlantic Ocean. From 60 degrees starts your chances to observe the phenomena but if you want to experience the real show then you need to continue 10 more degrees up to the North. Around the 70 degrees your chances to see and photograph Aurora are the best. Here you can find the Polar Circle as well.
This article was intended for the people interesting in photography, but if you are only interesting in observing the lights you can still find some useful inflammations.
Many photographer usually book their trips which are the mix between different activities. For example hiking and landscape photography during the day and night sky photography during the evening… It’s a very few who just book the trip for Aurora photography and nothing else. Some people prefer to travel alone some in the group of friends or colleagues.
Preparations and careful planing are the most important part of your tip. It’s good for you to understand how to avoid any kind of unwanted surprises during your stay. You can’t compromise with your safety by taking the risks of visiting unexplored areas for getting better photos for example…
To plane the whole event and consider all situations is the core of your successful trip. Here you will find some explanations and suggestions combined with useful information’s.
Some facts and basic information about Aurora Borealis:
Phenomena occur mostly in the far North and South parts of our planet. The best areas to experience it is around the Polar circle areas. It is possible to see it even more south/north depending on the intensity. Intensity depends on the solar activity which is always observed and monitored by satellites, stations and scientists. It’s many useful web sites and phone applications which frequently predict intensity based on collected data.
Aurora Borealis is the all year around phenomena but you can see it only during the season. You probably wonder why? Well, one of the most important reasons is the long daylight. At the far north or south during the summer are nighttime very short or non existing. Around the summer solstice (around 21 June in the Northern Hemisphere), the sun is visible for the full 24 hours. The number of days per year with potential midnight sun increases the closer towards either pole one goes. And during the Midwinter and Winter Solstice 21-22 December the opposite occurs when one of the Earth’s poles has its maximum tilt away from the Sun.
So which season or the date is the best for you? It is not exactly right date when the season starts and end it. But the best time starts from the beginning of autumn and during the whole winter, ending it in the late spring. If intensity is really high it’s possible to observe and photograph aurora even if it’s not totally dark outside.
Now when you know which part of the year is best to travel then you need to find the place to experience it. All my recommendations are going to be based on my personal experiences from visiting the far north parts of Scandinavia. Beside the place or part of the world you choose to visit all other information which you will find here like preparation for your trip and photo technique would be the same wherever you choose to travel.