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Northern Lights with PowerShot S30

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Thread started 17 Sep 2002 (Tuesday) 23:38   
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bigdave
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Joined Sep 2002
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I just moved to the upper peninsula of Michigan and I was wondering if anyone has some pointers on photographing Aurora Borealis. Currently I use a tripod and shutter: 10secs, aperture: 2.8, ISO:200. They turn out ok for the most part, but the blues end up looking green for some reason. Any advice is appreciated.

Post #1, Sep 17, 2002 23:38:41




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bbrownak
Hatchling
Joined Sep 2002
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I'm in Alaska and I've yet to get the chance to take some Aurora shots, but I have taken a few courses at a local college where the teacher informed the class that Northern Lights are always a mystery to shoot. He had good results at normal shutter speed and slow shutter speeds. He advised that a slower shutter more regularly achieved good results. Just keep juggling around and I'm sure you'll find something that works. I used to live in Northern Lower MI and that was my first experience with the lights. Enjoy!

Post #2, Sep 22, 2002 17:09:22




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bigdave
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Thanks so much bbrownak, I guess I'll just have to open the aperture wide open and get a nice long exposure time with like iso 100-200. The only thing I have to worry about now is the blur. Much thanks for the tip.

Post #3, Sep 24, 2002 23:16:40




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UKinNY
Hatchling
Joined Sep 2002
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just make sure you use a tripod. You will probably find that at an ISO of around 100 even the 15seconds aperture time may be a little too short. but good luck, and let me know the results. I plan on going up north next year to picture the lights. Btw, not sure about his, but you might want to check the CF media you are going to use - i wonder if microdrives can operate at such low temperatures....

Post #4, Sep 25, 2002 11:00:54




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Leighow
Goldmember
Joined Jan 2002
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If G2 expertise can help, why don't you ask Mike Hendley

http://photography-on-the.net ...owthread.php?t=4421​#19314


HOWIE

Post #5, Sep 25, 2002 11:25:48




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Chazs
Senior Member
Joined Aug 2002
515 posts
NW Washington
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About 3 weeks ago I finally witnessed the Aurora Borealis in Edison (north of Seattle). I had to use an setting of 400 ASA and 15 seconds. The 100 ASA just couldn't gather enough light. I had to put up with some graininess as a consequence. Here is a link to some pictures that worked:

http://ww2.svc.ctc.edu ...huck/aurora/aurora_​01.jpgexternal link

Change the 01 to 02, 03, and 04 in the address for a few more pictures.

My real concern is the banding I get on extremely dark areas. Is this common with digital cameras and dark areas?

Post #6, Sep 26, 2002 22:06:42




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bigdave
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Those are nice photos! I don't know what camera you have, but my S30 doesn't have banding like that. If you're interested, there's something you can do in Photoshop to clean up the banding a little. Go to filter>blur>smart blur> I used radius 3, threshold 4, and high quality. Here's what it looks like

IMAGE NOT FOUND IMAGE IS A REDIRECT OR MISSING!
Byte size: ZERO | Content warning: NOT AN IMAGE

Post #7, Sep 27, 2002 11:38:34




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Chazs
Senior Member
Joined Aug 2002
515 posts
NW Washington
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Hi Dave, and thanks. I haven't mastered the blur masking in PS yet. Seems like I always get a blurry picture without removing the unwanted elements. I'll use your suggested values and experiment around a bit. Good luck in getting you rown Aurora pictures.

P.S. I tried getting the banding again on my S40, but it only seems to be this apparent on long exposures at higher ASA. All my other pictures are fine. I heard that even the higher-end camers had the same banding problems at very high ASA (over 1200). Something to do with how the CCD is trying to gather light and make up for what it thinks is missing light. Maybe a software fix will be available in the future.

Post #8, Sep 27, 2002 23:34:16




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Northern Lights with PowerShot S30
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