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

  1. #11

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    Jan 2009
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    Re: has anyone captured the Northern Lights in B&W?

    As someone who can see the Aurora Borealis a few nights a year, I would like to mention that 90% of the optical experience is related to colour and fine movement of the curtain effect. What you will get on long exposures and black and white is a light misty effect which has nothing to do with AB.

  2. #12

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    Apr 2013
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    Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada
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    Re: has anyone captured the Northern Lights in B&W?

    Thanks Steve,
    Although I've seen it several times this will be the first time I will be this far North.

    It looks like I'll be leaving Edmonton on Thursday, and if everything goes right it will take me 2 days of driving to reach Yellowknife.
    Unless something goes terribly wrong I should have wifi every 2nd night or so, and will try posting any interesting digital photos I happen to get (on the image sharing section ... possibly the odd one here to discuss technique) if I have the energy.
    We will be driving 16 hours or so a day, just over 400km so I know I'll be exhausted most days.

    If it's anyone's dream to work on the ice roads it's something you should really try before getting married, and having children. Since I'm engaged it's my last real chance as a single man. If I like it I'll try talking my companion into letting me go next year, but it's ultimately her decision and if she says no I will respect it. I think there's a saying Happy Wife, Happy Life. Which most truck drivers seem to forget about.

  3. #13

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

    While i haven't tried, i would think it would be like taking a picture of a rainbow in black and white.
    Although wouldn't mind seeing some high quality results. The luminosity could produce some interesting effects.

  4. #14

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    Apr 2013
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    Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada
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    Re: has anyone captured the Northern Lights in B&W?

    I talked to one of my coworkers last night, and he told me there's 1 camp I may have some time at. So with a little luck they're out when I am there.

    I just realized that several big diesel tractor units idling on the ice close by may shake the ground pretty good. Plus the tripod legs may sink and possibly freeze into the ice.
    So I am going to bring along some sort of rubber mat, hoping it absorbs some of the vibration. Plus leave both it and my tripod in the box under the bunk. Right besides my linhof. I am greatful LF doesn't require batteries, it's nice having only less thing to worry about.

  5. #15
    ROL's Avatar
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    Oct 2008
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    California
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    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.
    Which makes it a worthy challenge. Frankly, I don't know how the OP could accomplish this in very low light using LF without long exposures, and moving to boot, but the process of figuring it out, or catching them in better light seems a worthwhile goal. Sunsets, rainbows, and moonbows have all been captured in B/W, but just as any interpretation of color into monochrome hue, it takes some artistry to do it well.

  6. #16

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    Apr 2013
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    Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada
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    Re: has anyone captured the Northern Lights in B&W?

    Today is the start of the trip. They figure the ice road should be open tomorrow, and my first trip is booked in for Feb1st.

    While I do have an idea or 2 I am still open to suggestions.
    I don't know how much internet access I'll have but I'll try posting anything that seems to work uf at all possible.
    -20 degrees C in Edmonton (home) now, which is almost as cold as Yellowknife. However we're going 400km further north than that and will see some really cold temperatures. I am suddenly wondering why I always wanted to do this, but really looking forward to getting started at the same time.

  7. #17
    adelorenzo's Avatar
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    Dec 2012
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    Whitehorse, Yukon
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    413

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

    I'm scanning a few things so I pulled that strip to scan for you guys. These frames were shot pulled over on the road so I could finish the roll of Delta 400 and load my camera with Provia 400X so they are nothing special but it answers the question of what they look like on B&W film. Rough scans and no processing done at all, including no dust spotting or noise reduction.

    They were taken on a Pentax 645N with 35mm F3.5 lens, shot wide open, with exposures between 10 and 26 seconds. Ilford Delta 400 processed normally, I think I was still using ID-11 at the time.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails img465.jpg   img466.jpg   img467.jpg   img468.jpg  

  8. #18

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    Aug 2009
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    Edmonton Area, Alberta, Canada
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    Re: has anyone captured the Northern Lights in B&W?

    I don't know where you're going to be trucking, but you'll probably have chain up areas and wrapper checks and wide roads that aren't ice to stop on. And trucking in the dark will make seeing any oncoming traffic easier. Not to mention you'll all be using your VHF radios? I don't think you'll have a problem. But I've trucked northern Alberta in the oil patch for 10 years and found my biggest problem was not getting the opportunities to stop and take photos, but actually taking those opportunities to stop and take photos.

    And don't worry about your equipment. I've taken 30 - 40 year old camera out into -35C weather without problems. Just take your time, and keep warm.

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