I'm considering doing a wedding photo shoot with northern lights. Advices?
Replies: 13 - Last Post: Jun 27, 2012 6:37 AM Last Post By: startrekker
Jun 10, 2012 6:56 AM
I'm considering doing a wedding photo shoot with northern lights. Advices?I'm a wedding photographer, and since 2012-2013 is the best time for viewing northern lights, I'm considering to do a northern light shoot with wedding couples. I've just returned from a holiday in Scandinavia so I know the main areas and cities very well, except the wilderness areas further north (which are the ideal areas to catch the northern lights!).
I'm still at the very initial stage of planning for this once in a decade photography shoot, so I would really appreciate help in the following aspects :
Locations - Able to offer a better chance to observe the northern lights. Must be very accessible, for example direct domestic flight from the capital.
Guide - Engage our own guide (more flexibility but more costly this way) or to join northern light tours with other travelers? Or should we rent a car and DIY everything?
Thanks in advance and I really hope this can be a success. :)
Jun 10, 2012 8:03 AM
1Can you really think ppl you have as customers would go to remote places up north and wait for weeks for an opportunity in the middle of winter with little daylight and very, very little to do rest of the time? What if it is cloudy for 2 weeks - and the NL isn't on for the next week?
Note that although the frequncy and intensity of the NL varies in the cycle it is not so that there are no or very rare in between the peaks.
Wouldn't is be better to spend a month up north next winter and make some shots (and buy some selection of polar clothes) that your customen could wear while you make a photo to photoshop on the background pictures?
Jun 10, 2012 5:47 PM
Jun 10, 2012 7:25 PM
3Hey guys thanks very much for the replies! Just a little info about why I want to embark on such an unique photography shoot. I'm based in Singapore, and we already have at least 2 photography studios in this small island who have had similar shoot done in Jan/Feb 2012. And they will be going again in early 2013. Of course there is high risk involved, my wedding clients have to be fully aware of that. Believe it or not, there are wedding couples who are willing to give it a try. After all, if we really cannot catch any northern light within the few days of chasing it, we still have the option of getting amazing images from other parts of Scandinavia.
Jun 11, 2012 4:30 AM
Jun 11, 2012 5:46 AM
5Strikes me as quite a difficult photo trick to do a portrait with northern lights in the background. Since it would be night, you'd have to flash the subjects in the foreground. Except in unusually strong displays, normally human eyes can't see the N Lights against any nearground light source, and in my experience cameras have less contrast sensitivity than humans. If you had a long exposure for the background with a brief flash for the foreground, you'd smear the lights, which move. It probably all ends up as some trick for amalgamating what are really two photos, even if you somehow take them both at the same time.
N Lights tours in N Norway in the present active phase of the solar cycle have been reporting success rates of catching the N Lights on their tours of over 80%. Though it can involve quite a long drive hunting for clear skies and waiting for the aurora to appear. You wouldn't have to be fussy about the exact photo location for this kind of approach, (though you wouldn't see much of the locatoin anyway - just some cold snowy roadside out in the country somewhere, probably) or the tedious driving around in the dark looking for sufficient patches of clear sky.
Nevertheless, #4's comment is very sensible.
Jun 12, 2012 5:03 PM
6No success guaranteed, that's for sure.
That said, good places to base yourself would be Tromsø, Norway; or Kiruna, Sweden. Direct flights operate to Oslo/Stockholm, and there's tourist infrastructure in place that will make things easier than if you go to, say, some mountain station or tiny town in the semi-arctic.
Good luck (you're gonna need it)!
Jun 13, 2012 4:12 AM
Jun 13, 2012 6:21 AM
8After all, if we really cannot catch any northern light within the few days of chasing it, we still have the option of getting amazing images from other parts of Scandinavia.
Well you have the light problem: Souther Scandinavia has 7 hours of daylight at mid-winter - from Polar circle and up: 0. And even the 7 hours often (when it is coundy) does not offer blilliant light dur to the low Sun.
Of cours you get the 12hours and more from late March, but thne the hours when you may see the NL are comparingly getting short. And of couse every (non-conifers) tree is naked until late April-May.
Jun 18, 2012 4:38 PM
9Those who know, what about Canada? I was thinking to spend my birthday chasing the norther lights for at least two weeks. Any suggestions?
Jun 18, 2012 8:31 PM
10You'd be surprised, but most of Canada is a vast and roadless mass of land, where almost all the population centers are huddled up close against the US border. Thus, roads, towns and infrastructure is pretty scarce once you get up by the arctic circle. I guess you could go for something like Yellowknife or Dawson City though. A good starting point would be to check out the wikitravel articles on the Yukon, the Northwest territories and Nunavut. Or why not Alaska?
Jun 19, 2012 12:57 AM
11The thing about the auroral oval is that, unlike the Arctic Circle, it is an oval, not a circle. And as it happens the place where the oval ventures furthest to the south is around 80 to 90 degrees west, ie, Ontario. This is why places in northern Michigan, Wisconsin, etc, get a view of the northern lights surprisingly frequently for somewhere so far south.
Unfortunately Ontario is precisely a part of Canada with very little in the way of decent road north of the strip close to the US border. You probably do a bit better further west, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, where it looks like you can find roads to head north of Winnipeg, Saskatoon and Edmonton, which are each just a little south of the best latitudes, though plainly this is unfortunately trending northwards as you go further west. Somewhere like Fort McMurray, Alberta, is at the best latitude, and because of the petroleum industry in that region it appears it is connected with a good road to further south, though I don't know what kind of adventure driving up there in winter would be. Thompson Manitoba is also at a good latitude, though it appears to be connected to the south with only on a gravel road.
Although the oval is then bending much further north west of Edmonton, Dawson City is at the best latitudes and is a relatively accessible location. TheTrans-Labrador Highway also takes you into the southern edges of the appropriate area, though that's gravel too, and exceedingly remote.
Jun 27, 2012 6:37 AM
13Can't compare the size of Canada with Norway, and I am sure it is not as accesible as Scandinavia where I've been before but It was summer time so no aurora borealis. I know where to go in Scandinavia, the thing is it is much more expensive to go there than to travel to the north of Canada from Mexico. Thanks for the tips, I'll keep searching.
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