Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 18

Thread: has anyone captured the Northern Lights in B&W?

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada
    Posts
    462

    has anyone captured the Northern Lights in B&W?

    I will be working on the Northern Canadian iceroads for 2 months or so starting next week.
    While up there I am hoping on capturing the Northern Lights, preferably on B&W 4x5. (Delta 100 film Linhof Tech iii probably Schneider 135mm or 210mm) If it's even possible.

    So I am hoping that anyone who has tried can give me some pointers, even if it's just what not to do.

    Adding to the challenge, I am not allowed to stop on the ice, so long exposures are out of the question. It will most certainly be hand held, Plus I won't be able to climatize my camera so I may have to shoot through a snow covered window while driving a fully loaded Super -B fuel truck.

    So if you have any tips please help me out, and thanks in advance.

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Southland, New Zealand
    Posts
    2,038

    Re: has anyone captured the Northern Lights in B&W?

    In my experience in the south digital is the way to go, but see no reason not to try B&W film. Maybe Acros or TMY would be a better film choice. Have you seen Michael Massaia's night work from NY, I think most of it is on TMX in pyro. The main problem however is the strangely inactive sun.

  3. #3
    adelorenzo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Whitehorse, Yukon
    Posts
    408

    Re: has anyone captured the Northern Lights in B&W?

    I'll be honest I don't think you can get anything shooting through the window of a moving vehicle.

    Using 400 speed film I typically shoot 15-30 second exposures with the lens wide open at F3.5 and develop normally. I usually use Provia 400X although I have shot some B&W using Ilford Delta 400 when I needed to finish a roll that was in the camera. Sorry I didn't scan those frames but they look good.

    If you are shooting ISO 100 film and a lens that is probably F5.6 you'd be out of luck even on a tripod unless you push it like crazy. 30 seconds is really the upper limit for exposures, ideally 10-20 seconds is better to keep things from getting too smeary.

    With digital I used to shoot ISO 100 to keep noise down and it still gave shorter exposures than film. If you brought a digital camera and shot at crazy high ISO you might have a chance to get something recognizable.

  4. #4

    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    grand rapids
    Posts
    3,835

    Re: has anyone captured the Northern Lights in B&W?

    4x5 from a moving vehicle? Really?
    B+w northern lights? Sound like shooting the sunset in b+w, it just doesn't seem right.

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada
    Posts
    462

    Re: has anyone captured the Northern Lights in B&W?

    Thank you for the responses so far.
    I will be bringing my digital, however it's a Sigma SD14. So it's almost as limited as LF.
    I will be bringing along my minox, with a fair amount of different film's, which will most likely give me the best results this year
    However I still want to try my Linhof if at all possible. One issue I am having is I just got hired on the last day possible so everything is rushed. Plus it takes a minimum of 1 week to get any film ordered to Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. If I order it to Yellowknife, NWT it should be there in time for the season next year.

    I do have a bulk roll of 35mm Kodak Tri-X 320, plus a modified film holder for panoramics I will bring along.
    If I have the time I may modify a couple more film holders for the trip.

    We apparently have a couple of stops along the way. I am hoping that I'll have a decent chance to set up at one of these stops, if security will even let me.
    I am not counting on any permission this year, since no one there knows me, and the stops are usually mines.

    This is my first time working on the ice roads (on my bucket list for the last 30 years or so) so all that I know is it's nothing like the TV show IRT, and that I want to at least try capturing some photos out there.
    My girlfriend has never seen the lights, so I would really love to capture it on at least 1 photo for her.

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada
    Posts
    462

    Re: has anyone captured the Northern Lights in B&W?

    Quote Originally Posted by vinny View Post
    4x5 from a moving vehicle? Really?
    B+w northern lights? Sound like shooting the sunset in b+w, it just doesn't seem right.
    I agree with you Vinny, but I still want to try. I also want to try capturing a rainbow on B&W, even though I can't picture it working.
    If it doesn't work out I'm only out some time and a couple of sheets of film. If it does turn out I may have something special.

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    The "Live Free or Die" state
    Posts
    724

    Re: has anyone captured the Northern Lights in B&W?

    Try desaturating a color picture you have (or find on the web) to see if it's something you will want to bother doing.

  8. #8
    Kirk Gittings's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Albuquerque, Nuevo Mexico
    Posts
    9,712

    Re: has anyone captured the Northern Lights in B&W?

    rainbow...William Clift Click image for larger version. 

Name:	fa091_01.gif 
Views:	165 
Size:	18.0 KB 
ID:	109267
    Thanks,
    Kirk

    at age 67
    "The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
    But I have promises to keep,
    And miles to go before I sleep,
    And miles to go before I sleep"

  9. #9
    Les
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Seattle, WA
    Posts
    733

    Re: has anyone captured the Northern Lights in B&W?

    Whether you do b&w or color you'll be doing long exposure....well, unless you have ASA 250,000 film The last 'lights I did in AK, it required 15sec and F2.2 - 2.5 aperture on a digital and the ISO 640. Some 'lights are more intensive or you get too much light (that you don't need) from the nearby city/village, whatever. Perhaps you could get little creative and have a longer bathroom break enroute, eh ? Right now and for over a month, you should get more intensive colors than just the standard greenish....and color film would capture that better (hands down). If possible, you could use a beanbag on a bench and without the need for a tripod...tho trigger release (locking) is a must. It shouldn't take more than 3-4 min to squeeze out couple of exposures. From my experience, they usually occur from 10PM-1AM, but could last longer. By the way, your truck or any vehicle will vibrate, so you'll get blurry shots every time. Good luck.

    Les

  10. #10

    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada
    Posts
    462

    Re: has anyone captured the Northern Lights in B&W?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kirk Gittings View Post
    rainbow...William Clift Click image for larger version. 

Name:	fa091_01.gif 
Views:	165 
Size:	18.0 KB 
ID:	109267
    In my opinion that is a stunning photo. Thanks Kirk,

    Thanks Leszek,
    I did find a box of Ektachrome (dated 1982) which I plan on shooting. I don't know how it was stored, so I'm not expecting anything to really turn out.
    As long as I don't have any real problems up there I will be back next year and should be prepared (with 8x10 too)

    At this time color film is again impossible to get in time here.

Similar Threads

  1. Replies: 1
    Last Post: 8-Jan-2014, 10:55
  2. Captured light
    By Keith Pitman in forum Announcements
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 11-Jan-2013, 19:40
  3. Replies: 6
    Last Post: 23-Mar-2012, 05:54

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •