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Northern Lights
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Apr 6, 2021 12:00:39   #
jbest Loc: Rocky Mountains
 
Looking for some suggestions. I'll be in Fairbanks and doing a tour of the Arctic Circle hoping to see the Northern Lights Aurora Borealis in a few days. I have a Canon SX50 HS, and can't find any modes where I can take a long exposure. Does anyone have any suggestions on how to get a good photo of the Northern Lights with an SX50? My cell phone is an iPhone 6 SE which doesn't seem to be able to adjust ISO and time exposure either. Open to any suggestions. Thanks

Apr 6, 2021 12:12:27   #
Longshadow Loc: Audubon, PA
 
Check your Iphone. A friend had one in Iceland and it had some kind of low light setting that worked great for the Aurora.

What's the longest shutter speed the SX50 has? TRIPOD IS A MUST!

Don't be surprised if the lights in reality don't look like the magazine shots.

Apr 6, 2021 14:19:28   #
DirtFarmer Loc: Way too close to New York City
 
If you are in Fairbanks there will be times when the northern lights are south of you.

They are quite variable, but at their brightest you can read a newspaper by them. At least I could 50 years ago (my eyes have not improved since then).

 
 
Apr 6, 2021 14:57:45   #
jbest Loc: Rocky Mountains
 
I do have a tripod I can't find a way to extend the shutter speed. There is no "B" setting like the old film cameras.

Apr 6, 2021 15:12:30   #
Longshadow Loc: Audubon, PA
 
jbest wrote:
I do have a tripod I can't find a way to extend the shutter speed. There is no "B" setting like the old film cameras.

I don't know the SX50.
Can you select a certain shutter speed? If so,how long?
Will AUTO exposure do multiple seconds? What is its limit?
Oops...old film camera??? The SX50 is a film camera?

Apr 6, 2021 17:07:11   #
Orphoto Loc: Oregon
 
Apparently the usual longest exposure is 1 sec. However, some of the scenes extend that to 15 secs. In general you want to keep the shutter speed down below 6 secs to prevent movement from really washing things out. Experiment with the night scene mode to see how well that works.

Shoot in raw, with daylight light balance. Try to turn off autofocus, if you can. Yes, that tripod is required.

Apr 6, 2021 17:59:56   #
Hal81 Loc: Bucks County, Pa.
 
A guy once asked me if he could see the northern lights from south Philly.

 
 
Apr 6, 2021 18:05:38   #
DirtFarmer Loc: Way too close to New York City
 
Hal81 wrote:
A guy once asked me if he could see the northern lights from south Philly.


They are occasionally visible from philly but probably only 2-3 times in the 11 year solar cycle.

Apr 6, 2021 18:31:24   #
hpucker99 Loc: Anchorage, Alaska
 
Hal81 wrote:
A guy once asked me if he could see the northern lights from south Philly.


It is possible to see the aurora from south Philly but it has to be a severe storm. The strength of the storm is given by the Kp index (Kennziffer Planetarische) and the index has to be greater than 8 (rare.) Go to the Geophysical Institute website (https://www.gi.alaska.edu/monitors/aurora-forecast) for more info.

I looked online to find out the longest shutter speed for the SX50 and it is listed at 15 seconds (DPReview) which is sufficient for shooting the aurora.

Apr 6, 2021 19:05:49   #
jbest Loc: Rocky Mountains
 
The SX50 is a digital camera not a film camera. There is no shutter control that I can find.

Apr 6, 2021 19:07:41   #
jbest Loc: Rocky Mountains
 
Thanks for that information. Where did you find 15 second exposure? I have searched and cannot find how to get that? Thanks for the forecast information.

 
 
Apr 6, 2021 19:25:36   #
Longshadow Loc: Audubon, PA
 
DirtFarmer wrote:
They are occasionally visible from philly but probably only 2-3 times in the 11 year solar cycle.

During a power outage.....
(Too much afterglow)

Apr 6, 2021 21:29:25   #
hpucker99 Loc: Anchorage, Alaska
 
I went to DPReview that listed the camera specifications in their review.

I downloaded the SX50 manual and shutter priority (Tv) shooting is explained on page 150. Set your camera to manual setting. I was at Chena Hot Springs last March (just before Covid) and took the tour up into the hills for photographing the aurora. I shot with a Nikon D7500 with a Tokina 11-26 lens at 2.5s, f/2.8 and ISO 1250. I wish I had used a long shutter speed and lower ISO. The SX50 should be fine for the aurora. You might want to practice shooting dark subjects and vary the shutter speed and ISO and see what looks best.

Hope this helps.


(Download)

Apr 7, 2021 05:52:06   #
Gene51 Loc: Yonkers, NY, now in LSD (LowerSlowerDelaware)
 
jbest wrote:
Looking for some suggestions. I'll be in Fairbanks and doing a tour of the Arctic Circle hoping to see the Northern Lights Aurora Borealis in a few days. I have a Canon SX50 HS, and can't find any modes where I can take a long exposure. Does anyone have any suggestions on how to get a good photo of the Northern Lights with an SX50? My cell phone is an iPhone 6 SE which doesn't seem to be able to adjust ISO and time exposure either. Open to any suggestions. Thanks


You can set the exposure to 15 secs. Several bracketed exposures merged together in post processing, will help deal with the wide dynamic range and provide a simulated longer exposure (when using Photoshop you can merge multiple images into a smart object then use stackmode mean to add the exposures together).

https://www.capturelandscapes.com/4-untold-tips-for-photographing-northern-lights/

https://digital-photography-school.com/how-to-improve-your-long-exposure-with-photo-stacking/

Or . . .

You can rent/buy a camera that will let you take long exposures. But if you are looking for results that include nicely illuminated foreground and spectacular skies - you'll need to get comfortable with post processing - regardless of which method you choose for image capture. There will be at least 2 images and possibly many more to get you to that goal.

Apr 7, 2021 05:59:32   #
Jrhoffman75 Loc: Conway, New Hampshire
 
15 second exposure will be fine. Select Manual mode, wide open aperture and ISO of 1600 as a start.



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