I had a pretty exciting night tonight. Earlier this evening, a classmate messaged me that the Aurora forecast for Europe was at 5 tonight (which is very high). We both proceeded to monitor the northern sky from our respective homes (neither of us had seen it yet), and when it gradually began to appear in the sky, I wandered outside of my apartment building and fumbled a bit with my camera, while she dropped her DSLR four stories out of her kitchen window. Not a good start.
We then agreed to make the night worth it and hurried ourselves to Nydala Lake, a great place in Umeå to view the lights. Seeing as my key froze and broke in my bike lock a few weeks back, I scuttled myself by foot as quickly as I could, avoiding some potentially massive icy slips that could have won me a figure skating medal. Anyhow, we set up our (mini) tripods and cameras on the lake just north of the peninsula bridge. Her camera had survived the fall, the lens did not, though luckily she had another.
We spent two hours perched on the iced-over lake in the snow, with many other viewers scattered throughout the lake, taking photo after photo and admiring the magic of the lights. At one point, all along the lake erupted in applause (literally), as the entire sky from all directions was filled with brilliant green and subtle hints of purple.
Nikon D90 camera settings I used on majority of my pictures to capture the aurora: ISO 400, aperture f/4.5, and shutter speed 15.0
Luckily, my classmate was very knowledgable in helping me test settings as I’ve never photographed for this type of environment, but I also found this article on photographing the northern lights very helpful (which I had read before).
You can check the aurora forecast for Europe, the Poles, and North America on the Geophysical Institute at the University of Alaska Fairbanks website.
And of course I took a video (don’t get too excited, my camera doesn’t video night mode very well…):
Password hint: my middle name