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Zuidschermer, NH, 1846

Dramatic Fine-Art Landscape Photography, Processing Instructions and Photography Tours by Daniel Laan.

Forecasting and Shooting the Northern Lights


Behind the Scenes - The making of a Landscape Photograph. Every now and then, Laanscapes discusses how the scenes came into being. This blog is a chronicle of some of the best making-ofs.

Forecasting and Shooting the Northern Lights

Daniel Laan

Ah, the crown of the (Ant)arctic. Known in the northern hemisphere as the Aurora Borealis (northern lights), and as the Aurora Australis in the southern hemisphere, these brightly colored bands of moving and waving light are a majestic display in the night sky. Who doesn't want to take a picture of this otherworldly phenomenon? Here's exactly how to do it.

The Visibility

The sun shoots out a constant stream of charged particles which we call the solar wind. When that stream interacts with the Earth’s magnetic field, these particles are led to the poles through the toroidal (donut-like) shape of the field. It’s at our poles where stream gets concentrated and crashes into particles in the Earth’s upper atmosphere. This high energy reaction emits light in varying visible colors, which we perceive as the northern- or southern lights.

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