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09 January 2021

Taking Pictures of the Northern Lights with your Smartphone During a Cruise

Taking Pictures in low light conditions is tough

When you are travelling to Antarctica or on an arctic cruise, it can be difficult to capture the beauty of your surroundings without any city lights around. This is where a smartphone comes in handy! It is especially useful when you want to take pictures of the northern lights, but it can be extremely tricky sometimes!

Where are Some Great Places to See the Northern Lights During an Antarctic or Arctic Cruise?

The best place to see the northern lights during an Antarctica cruise is usually near the North or South Pole. However, sightings can also occur in other parts of the world, such as Scandinavia and Canada.

This is highly dependent on a metric called the KP index. Essentially, this metric ascertains the likelihood of seeing the Northern lights from a particular location. Typically KP0 would indicate weak activity and barely visible lights within the North pole itself. A higher KP value would indicate that the Northern lights are observable in more southbound regions like Lapland and Russia.

How to Take Pictures with your Smartphone During your Northern Lights Tours

Here are some basic steps to follow when taking day or night photography during your northern lights tour.

First, make sure you are out in an area where you have a clear view of the sky without any obstructions and can see the northern lights. Northern lights can be quite faint, so you will need to find an area with little light pollution.

Next, use your phone’s native camera app to adjust settings such as shutter speed and ISO. Turn off all automatic features on your camera phone and adjust the camera settings to manual mode. For example, some basic camera settings include setting the focus to infinity and using a long exposure time. For best results, try to keep the shutter speed at around 15 seconds or longer.

In addition, hold your phone steady while taking northern lights pictures to avoid blurry photos. This can be difficult when it is cold outside, but using a tripod or some other type of stabilizer can help.

Lastly, experiment with different angles and compositions. Try photographing the northern lights from various parts of your cruise liner and always look for a unique perspective.

What are Some Other Tips for Northern Lights Photography During your Cruise?

The following are some tips for taking great pictures of northern lights with your phone.

1) Make sure your phone has a good battery charge before you set sail. If it starts getting low while you’re trying to capture the Northern lights, your phone might shut off and you will lose all of the photos that you have taken.

2) Get off the cruise liner for a better view of the sky – don’t just stay inside on deck. It can get frustrating when you’re trying to take pictures and all you see is steel and wood in front of you.

3) Use an app like NightCap Camera or Aurora Photo Booth to take pictures of the northern lights.

4) Take lots of images instead of just a few shots! You’ll have more chances at capturing one with clear skies. If not, no worries! There are still ways to capture this phenomenon on your smartphone by using certain apps or editing programs.

5) Be patient, it can take up to 30 minutes for the northern lights to show themselves in full force. While you might be tempted to take pictures during the day (or even at dusk), this can make the northern lights appear less vibrant and colorful. The optimal time is during nighttime photography when the sky has completely darkened, or during a new moon night if possible.

The Bottom Line

The Northern Lights are a natural phenomenon that is worth experiencing. You don’t have to be an astronaut or live in the Arctic Circle to see them, you just need your phone and some patience.

Taking pictures of the northern lights with your smartphone is easy enough for anyone who has ever used their phone camera before, but there are still a few tips you can follow if you want to make sure they turn out great! With these tips in mind, you should be able to capture some amazing photos of the aurora borealis with little effort.

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