Shooting the Northern Lights


The Northern Lights will be in full blast Saturday March 22, 2019 (if weather allows)! To Shoot Northern Lights a good place to start with settings is ISO 800, wide open on aperture (2.8 or 3.5), shutter speed to bulb and then use a cable or remote release and shoot for 120 seconds. Set focus manually on infinity. Most people underexpose their Northern Lights shots. Don't make this mistake. Don't trust the back of your camera. They need more exposure time than it may seem!!! Good Luck! 

North Star
F8, ISO 200, 32 minutes
After a quick drive in the dark to Little Sable Point Lighthouse, my dad and I were as excited (and loud) as middle-schoolers riding a school bus. We had both just made some fantastic shots of the Northern Lights over Ludington. Our goal now was to get a photograph of the Northern Lights over Little Sable Point Lighthouse. Neither of us have ever had any luck in making that shot before. We have both tried several times, but the Northern Lights either never showed up, or they disappeared before we could make the 35-minute drive. Our luck was about to change. The Northern Lights were much dimmer now and almost invisible to the naked eye. However, like Galen Rowell taught all nature photographers, you have to learn to see like your camera sees. I tried to line up the North Star right above Little Sable Point Lighthouse. I made a few test exposures and then set my camera to F8 at ISO 200. I used my cable release and my iPhone as a timer and took a 32-minute exposure. The stars in the night sky made a perfect circle around the North Star and my camera could easily pick up the color from the Northern Lights. What a magic morning along the shores of Lake Michigan. I made this image at 4:54 a.m. on our 17th Tuesday of 2012.

Todd_Reed_3943_Wednesday_August_27_2014_Royale_Experience_1000px_No_watermark__1_.jpgRoyale Experience
F3.2, ISO 400, 7.18 minutes 
Being on Isle Royale is an incredible Michigan outdoors experience.  Just getting to Michigan’s only National Park can be an adventure involving a seaplane ride or a potentially rocky boat ride on Lake Superior. But look at what can await you. Brad and I are among only a handful of people witnessing these northern lights from the seaplane dock just before midnight.


Ludington Light Show 
F2.8, ISO 800, 2.2 minutes