Taking photos at night – Aurora borealis

Today I was flying back up to Aberdeen and had been checking the status of the northern lights, I knew that if it was a clear night then there was a very good chance of seeing them as I flew back up to Aberdeen on the 2030 flight from Birmingham.  Annoyingly I forgot my camera, although it would have meant dragging my SLR out with me as well as my usual stuff. My SLR has a gyro lens which helps give good stability, but the problem with taking photos at night from a plane is that to capture what the human eye sees you need a long shutter time to get enough light into the lens, even with a camera aperture capable of f2. The problem that this intern causes is that you need a dead-still camera, I thought of mounting the camera to the cockpit to keep it perfectly still, but actually all this does is make the camera vibrate at the same rate as the aircraft and so it makes things worse.  The next problem is that the ground or the scenery is constantly moving and so this will make any long shutter time give a blurred picture. So this leaves cranking up the ISO to something like 1600 which will give a grainy picture.  So really at the moment, I’m not sure I can win, there is nothing in my dslr magazines that talks about such a situation, I may have to go hunting on the forums for some ideas, it will probably involve a mega expensive lens though. 

The northern lights weren’t exactly spectacular, but they were there.  I was hoping for something more akin to that which I had seen in Sweden, but I appreciate that where I was in Sweden was a much further north and hence the effect is much more dramatic.
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~ by globalste on November 27, 2012.

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