The Northern Lights … As They Appeared


My 10-minute video captures the Northern Lights in real-time video – no time-lapses here!

I hadn’t tried this before but the display of February 12, 2016 from Churchill, Manitoba was so active it was worth trying to shoot it with actual video, not time-lapse still frames.

I used very high ISO speeds resulting in very noisy frames. But I think the motion and colours of the curtains as they ripple and swirl more than overpower the technical limitations. And there’s live commentary!

 

Select HD and Enter Full Screen for the best quality.

Scenes have been edited for length, and I did not use all the scenes I shot in the final edit. So the scenes you see in the 10-minute video actually took place over about 20 minutes. But each scene is real-time. They show the incredibly rapid motion and fine structure in the auroral curtains, detail blurred in long multi-second exposures.

I used a Nikon D750 camera at ISO speeds from 12,800 to 51,200. While it is certainly very capable of shooting low-light video, the D750 is not optimized for it. A Sony a7s, with its larger pixels and lower noise, would have been a better camera. Next time!

The lens, however, was key. I used the new Sigma 20mm Art lens which, at f/1.4, is the fastest lens in its focal length class. And optical quality, even wide open, is superb.

The temperature was about -30 degrees C, with a windchill factor of about -45 C. It was cold! But no one in the aurora tour group of 22 people I was instructing was complaining. Everyone was outside, bundled up, and enjoying the show.

It was what they had traveled north to see, to fulfill a life-long desire to stand under the Northern Lights. Everyone could well and truly check seeing the aurora off their personal bucket lists this night.

For more information about aurora and other northern eco-tourism tours offered by the Churchill Northern Studies Centre, see churchillscience.ca 

— Alan, February 17, 2016 / www.amazingsky.com 

6 comments on “The Northern Lights … As They Appeared”

  1. […] noise, they do record the fast movement and subtle colour of the aurora much as the eye saw it. See my earlier music video with real-time clips shot February 12 for more examples of […]

  2. WOW!!!! What an incredible cosmic dance. I love how Ms Aurora twirls, sweeps, undulates, ripples, her sensual crinoline of light across the night sky. The Zenith images are amazing, it is like the angel pouring out her love to all who view her. It’s great to see a realtime video of the northern lights, a beautiful memory for the tour group. Well done Alan.

  3. Thanks, really awesome… it’s on my bucket list!!!

  4. Alan: Must be a thrill of a lifetime to see such an exciting display. Thanks for sharing.

    Lawrence Chrismas

  5. […] this and I am sure you will love it. It is via The Amazing […]

  6. wonderful

    On Thu, Feb 18, 2016 at 9:23 AM, The Amazing Sky wrote:

    > Alan Dyer posted: ” My 10-minute video captures the Northern Lights in > real-time video – no time-lapses here! I hadn’t tried this before but the > display of February 12, 2016 from Churchill, Manitoba was so active it was > worth trying to shoot it with actual video, not time” >


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