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Embrace the Aurora moment

What does it take to capture a perfect aurora moment such as this one?

Well, I have to be honest with you. It took 25% of skill and 75% of pure luck! Let me tell you why.

But first you need to understand that this photo is 100% real. Nothing is added or removed or replaced in post processing. It's one single shot. The only editing I have done is adjusting the contrast, reducing noise and cropping the photo to straighten it up. Please check my authenticity video here.

I am almost 50 and staying out two nights in a row is nothing I do voluntarily anymore. And I had been out the night before this so I should really have been sleeping. But I had a client assignment that had to be done this night.

Aurora borealis over the sea
Minor activity during the night. This is from one of the more active phases of the aurora in the early hours of the night.

I recorded time-lapse movies for my client so still photos were not the first priority when this aurora suddenly appeared and started dancing around the moon. But fortunately we were just done with a lengthy time-lapse sequence when this happened! Talk about perfect timing!

I was not shooting in the direction of the moon but pointed my camera in another direction. I could have missed the action if I hadn't been vigilant. And the composition in the direction of the moon was totally accidental. I just turned the camera and fired off!

The Northern Lights and the moon
When the aurora became active it looked like this. I reacted instantly, turning the camera towards it.

My camera was set for time-lapse and not for still photography. For you camera nerds: I had turned up the ISO to keep the shutter speed down during time-lapse recording. I did not adjust anything when the Northern Lights entered a more active phase. But it somehow worked anyway.

To put it simple: I happened to be on the right place at the right time with the right equipment and the knowledge to use it.

A little skill and a lot of luck!

Morning light and the moon reflected in a calm sea.
We stayed out until 4:15 AM when it started to dawn. The moon would set and the sun would rise.

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