Aurora from 2024 on iphone handheld ©

While the photo examples on this site are meant to show the kind of things to try, this post is a good example of what not to do.

This image of the Northern Lights in Saanich could have been so, so much better… I happened to wake up just before 2 a.m. and walked into the back yard with my phone and looked up at the northern sky. So, zero planning was involved. I saw some faint shapes moving in the sky so I took a few (hand-held photos and went back to bed).

I could tell the exposures were too long to hand hold (one second or more) and would not be sharp (not just because the aurora is moving, but because I was trying to hold the phone steady at arms length over my head, wearing my pj’s and bare feet on the patio…behind the house in order to avoid the very, very bright LED streetlights…

The images could have been so much better if shot with a fast, high quality lens on a modern camera, mounted on a my carbon fibre pro-level tripod…and from a hilltop or mountain with a northern vista away from city lights.

Technical: iPhone, ISO 4000 (lots of image noise) for 1 second+, at f/1.8

Note: A quick edit was done on the iPhone, punching up the colour, closer to what people expect to see…