Zenfolio | OuluPhoto | Northern lights Q&A

We get a lot of questions about northern lights spotting and photography.
Here you can find some Q&A ;)

1. Are there always northern lights at night?
- Unfortunately ... no. It requires a stream of charged particles i.e., the solar wind.

2. Where can I check the aurora forecast?
- At  http://spaceweather.com/ (small table on the bottom left)

3. How do I know if there are lights in the sky now?
- You never know for sure until you go outside. Auroras may appear locally. However, you can see the real-time data from Sodankylä and Abisko at http://www.sgo.fi/Data/RealTime/allinone.php There are images, but magnetogram is also useful when there are clouds in the North. To put things simple, strong peaks in magnetogram mean lights ;)

4. What do I need to see northern lights?
- Usually: northern lights, clear sky, dark place, clear view towards North, warm cloths, good luck and patience ;)

5. What do I need to take photos?
- A camera with a good +400 ISO performance and preferably a full manual mode, a tripod.

6. How to freeze auroras instead of getting a green "blob"?
- Try to use small aperture number and high ISO setting, this should allow you for short exposure time.

7. How to focus at night?
- For best results: manually, using "hyperfocal" distance ... or at least using the infinity mark on your objective. If you use a point-and-shoot with no manual options, it usually has predefined modes. You could try the night or landscape modes. Usually, word "landscape" in the name means focusing towards infinity i.e., just what you want ;)

8. Are there any good spots in Oulu?
- Here are five example places with a good view: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. In Google maps you'll see a place marked with arrow.

9. What if I know all of that and already have great photos?
- Send us a message and join our Guest Photographers gallery! ;)

... but first of all enjoy this special light show! ;)