Arctic Adventures - part 3 of 1 2 3

Published 01/04/2010


After the group shots, I spent about 10-15 minutes with the couple and we went around the hotel and took their shots. Then we went to the 'warm bar' and shortly afterwards the wedding breakfast and the day was over. I was pretty exhausted by the hectic activity and the cold conditions but it was worth every penny! I thoroughly enjoyed the wedding and now rank it amongst my favourites.

Our Northern Lights tour was arranged on a bitterly cold evening. But what, exactly, are the Northern Lights? The Northern Lights, Aurora Borealis, appear in a clear night sky as swirling rivers of greenish-blue light. They move and dance unpredictably; sometimes barely perceptible, then suddenly growing vivid. In simple terms, the auroras can be explained as an interaction of the solar wind and the Earth's magnetic field. The phenomenon occurs when the particles collide with atoms and molecules in the upper atmosphere, transforming kinetic energy into visible light. The most intensive auroras occur at a height of about 100km and each can be 10 to 30 km high.

The Northern Lights can be seen virtually every clear night at high latitudes. We had to travel about 45km on the snow-mobiles from the hotel to be able to see them. The experience of driving a snow-mobile through the wilderness was pretty incredible. I was wearing four layers of thermals and fleeces, a jacket and then a snow-suit, three layers of socks with snow boots and I was still freezing!

Setting up and photographing in complete darkness while wearing gloves was not ideal. There is no way the autofocus will work on any camera as it is so dark, the focus has to be set on Manual mode and then you set the exposure by experience. I was able to set the shutter at around only 6-8 seconds (10,000-12,800 ISO) and capture some amazing shots of the lights. I was pretty lucky that I managed to see them first time around.

Speaking about the Nikon D3S, the camera handled perfectly in such extreme conditions. I love the high ISO performance, the 12.1MP is ideal for the kind of work I photograph. The 'D-Movie' adds a new dimension of creativity with HD quality. An external microphone can be attached for stereo recording. Using shallow depth of field provides beautiful blur on the background. All in all, an incredible experience of a lifetime with the best DSLR around at the moment.

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1st Published 01/04/2010
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