GPHOTO
Topic Author
Posts: 799
Joined: Sun Aug 01, 2004 11:44 pm

Aurora Help Wanted

Thu Nov 03, 2005 3:28 am

I am going on a trip to see the Northern Lights by plane in a few weeks. As my Panasonic FZ20 will not cut the mustard with low light shots, I took the plunge and purchased a Canon EOS 350D, it arrived today. I had planned to get one early 2006, but moved the timescale forward. This is my first experience of DSLR and I only have the kit lens so far. With little time left to learn, can anyone give me any pointers on how to use the above setup to capture the Aurora (if any is to be seen) from the aircraft window? Any help appreciated!


Best regards,

Jim
Erm, is this thing on?
 
flyfisher1976
Posts: 777
Joined: Tue Jan 04, 2005 1:08 pm

RE: Aurora Help Wanted

Thu Nov 03, 2005 3:53 am

I'd imagine this would be pretty tough to pull off...even for a seasoned photographer. You will be shooting in low light (at night) so you will have to shoot at a very high iso to get the best possible shutter speed. Even then, your image is going to be very noisy. Any little turbulence will probably cause a completely blurred shot. Can you get the camera on a tripod..or are you surrounded by seats? Is there any open space where you could set up a tripod next to a window?

While the images you might capture might be great for your personal collection, you might have trouble getting them accepted here. Especially with limited DSLR experience.

[Edited 2005-11-02 19:55:07]
 
mrk25
Posts: 223
Joined: Fri May 27, 2005 3:31 am

RE: Aurora Help Wanted

Thu Nov 03, 2005 4:08 am

Hi Jim,
Sounds like a wonderful photo opportunity. I'm not sure how noticeable it would be but the 350D has considerable noise @ ISO 400, I have had several attempts at aircraft in low light and binned all of the shots due to noise. However I took some firework shots at the weekend and they are o.k.
Hopefully some of the more experienced photogs will be able to give more specific camera setup, I don't fall into that category.
Regards
Mark
 
dendrobatid
Posts: 1639
Joined: Sat Nov 06, 2004 3:40 pm

RE: Aurora Help Wanted

Thu Nov 03, 2005 4:10 am

Quoting Flyfisher1976 (Reply 1):
Can you get the camera on a tripod..or are you surrounded by seats?

I think that in the unlikely event that you can use a tripod it would be a waste of time, and possibly even counter productive. The idea of a tripod is to stabilise the camera and subject position and when one is moving relative to the other that is not likely to help at all. I also think that the vibration of the aircraft is likely to be transferred through the tripod.
I saw the Aurora once and it was not stationary, it was constantly changing too.
Jim, enjoy the ride, it sounds great, but don't expect many good photos.
Of course, if you don't try, you will always wonder
Mick Bajcar
 
flyfisher1976
Posts: 777
Joined: Tue Jan 04, 2005 1:08 pm

RE: Aurora Help Wanted

Thu Nov 03, 2005 5:28 am

Quoting Dendrobatid (Reply 3):
The idea of a tripod is to stabilise the camera and subject position

Thank you for your moving description of how a tripod works...

If a tripod could be used, it would negate the user induced shaking of the camera. Given a stretch of nice smooth air, you might just be able to sneak in a good shot. Just a suggestion.

Quoting Dendrobatid (Reply 3):
I also think that the vibration of the aircraft is likely to be transferred through the tripod.

Unless you are on a small prop...I don't think this will be a factor...could be wrong.

Quoting Flyfisher1976 (Reply 1):
you will have to shoot at a very high iso
 
aviopic
Posts: 2423
Joined: Sat Mar 13, 2004 7:52 pm

RE: Aurora Help Wanted

Thu Nov 03, 2005 6:03 am

Quoting Flyfisher1976 (Reply 4):
If a tripod could be used

I don't think a tripod will do you any good as the aircraft has to move forward to stay up in the air which will result in very blurry images.
Not to mention the vibration and possible turbulence.
The best option of course is to put the damn thing down on the ground where a tripod would be great.
Given the conditions you will be facing the only thing you can do is a high ISO and wide aperture setting to get an exposure time you can work with.
A quality lens would be very welcome in this scenario, something stabilized even more.
Your camera has an EFs mount so the 17-85is although not the best thingy around will be a great help.

Good luck though,
Willem
The truth lives in one’s mind, it doesn’t really exist
 
Staffan
Posts: 3879
Joined: Tue Mar 18, 2008 9:21 am

RE: Aurora Help Wanted

Thu Nov 03, 2005 6:41 am

I shot the aurora borealis a few weeks back and I needed times between 30 secs and a minute at ISO 400 with the lens at f/2.8 to get good exposures, though the aurora wasn't very intense and unless it is, I don't think handholding is an option. A tripod is probably your best shot since the aurora moves and is quite far away anyway so the aircraft moving forward probably won't matter.

Hope everything goes well and that you'll get a nice display!

Staffan
 
fergulmcc
Posts: 1877
Joined: Thu Oct 14, 2004 8:36 pm

RE: Aurora Help Wanted

Thu Nov 03, 2005 7:12 am

Quoting Flyfisher1976 (Reply 4):
Unless you are on a small prop...I don't think this will be a factor...could be wrong.



Quoting Flyfisher1976 (Reply 4):
If a tripod could be used, it would negate the user induced shaking of the camera. Given a stretch of nice smooth air, you might just be able to sneak in a good shot. Just a suggestion.

 laughing 
Sorry Fly, not taking the micky here but it is funny. A tripod is useless on an aircraft, the shutter speed would have to be high to avoid any blur but then there is no need to have a tripod if the shutter speed is high enough. You can get what is called, I think, building shake. This is when you have a tripod on a tall building and take a long exposure but the photo still ends up blured, that is because the building is moving/swaying.
My advice would be to open you apreture as wide as it will go, set a High ISO and see what happens.

Take care

Fergul  sun 
Zambian Airways, Where the Eagles fly free!!
 
eadster
Posts: 2125
Joined: Tue Jan 25, 2005 7:31 pm

RE: Aurora Help Wanted

Thu Nov 03, 2005 7:17 am

I recently took a pic of the Aurora Australis here recently and I used a time exposure of around 5 mins. The show we had here was a bit duller than usual.

Having said that, I doubt that you would have any luck on board an aircraft, unless the show was very very bright. I have seen one or two pics in the DB that people have pulled off and they look fantastic.

Seeing that you have only just purchased a DSLR, I personally think you may be "learning to walk before you can crawl" so to speak. But by all means give it a go and let us know how you go. I'd like to see the pics.  bigthumbsup 

Martin
 
Staffan
Posts: 3879
Joined: Tue Mar 18, 2008 9:21 am

RE: Aurora Help Wanted

Thu Nov 03, 2005 7:34 am

Quoting Fergulmcc (Reply 7):
A tripod is useless on an aircraft


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Apparently not..

Staffan
 
fergulmcc
Posts: 1877
Joined: Thu Oct 14, 2004 8:36 pm

RE: Aurora Help Wanted

Thu Nov 03, 2005 7:44 am

Quoting Staffan (Reply 9):
Apparently not..

Yes Staffan, But you are photographing what is inside the plane so therefore the tripod will move relative the the a/c, Jim is photographing out of the plane, therefore a tripod would be useless, Big difference!!! Big grin

Take care

Fergul [sun}
Zambian Airways, Where the Eagles fly free!!
 
Staffan
Posts: 3879
Joined: Tue Mar 18, 2008 9:21 am

RE: Aurora Help Wanted

Thu Nov 03, 2005 7:53 am

Quoting Fergulmcc (Reply 10):
Yes Staffan, But you are photographing what is inside the plane so therefore the tripod will move relative the the a/c, Jim is photographing out of the plane, therefore a tripod would be useless, Big difference!!!

The aurora moves anyway so even shooting it from the ground it will appear blurry during a long exposure. With a tripod, you can get a nice sharp shot of the wing with the aurora in the background (which will be blurry, just as it would be if it was shot from the ground).

Staffan
 
flyfisher1976
Posts: 777
Joined: Tue Jan 04, 2005 1:08 pm

RE: Aurora Help Wanted

Thu Nov 03, 2005 7:58 am

Quoting Staffan (Reply 9):
Quoting Fergulmcc (Reply 7):
A tripod is useless on an aircraft


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Photo © Markus Schmal



Apparently not..

Staffan

Thank You!!!
 
GPHOTO
Topic Author
Posts: 799
Joined: Sun Aug 01, 2004 11:44 pm

RE: Aurora Help Wanted

Thu Nov 03, 2005 4:08 pm

I'll be doing some experiments before I go. Don't think I'll be able to get anything suitable for Airliners.net, but that is ok. Thanks for your help!

Best regards,

Jim
Erm, is this thing on?
 
fergulmcc
Posts: 1877
Joined: Thu Oct 14, 2004 8:36 pm

RE: Aurora Help Wanted

Thu Nov 03, 2005 5:29 pm

Quoting Flyfisher1976 (Reply 12):
Thank You!!!

You're welcome Joseph  wink  Big grin
Just messing by the way!!

Quoting GPHOTO (Reply 13):
I'll be doing some experiments before I go. Don't think I'll be able to get anything suitable for Airliners.net, but that is ok. Thanks for your help!

Good luck, hope you get some good shots and a safe flight!

Take care

Fergul  sun 
Zambian Airways, Where the Eagles fly free!!
 
flyfisher1976
Posts: 777
Joined: Tue Jan 04, 2005 1:08 pm

RE: Aurora Help Wanted

Thu Nov 03, 2005 10:11 pm

Quoting Fergulmcc (Reply 14):
You're welcome Joseph
Just messing by the way!!

Yeah, in the interest of safety, maybe the tripod best be left at home!
 Big grin
 
fergulmcc
Posts: 1877
Joined: Thu Oct 14, 2004 8:36 pm

RE: Aurora Help Wanted

Thu Nov 03, 2005 11:56 pm

Quoting Flyfisher1976 (Reply 15):
Yeah, in the interest of safety, maybe the tripod best be left at home!

.... or in the suitcase Joseph. I remeber a thread once where a pilot was stopped from taking his tripod on board with him, but yet he could take a bottle of wine on,  banghead 

Take care

Fergul  sun 
Zambian Airways, Where the Eagles fly free!!
 
oly720man
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RE: Aurora Help Wanted

Wed Nov 09, 2005 1:59 am


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