MOVIE: Arctic Winter Lights

For people who have never seen the Auroras, pictures and movies can be very misleading. First of all, camera sensors are a lot more sensitive as our eyes are. Especially when we use shutter speeds of several seconds long.  This means that northern lights that are barely visible to the naked eye can already give excellent photos. However, as the lights move, it is more of a blur compared to what one actually sees. Subtle patterns and lines that can be seen with our naked eye are often not visible in photos.

Arctic Winter Lights from Arjen Drost on Vimeo.

The speed of the movement you see in most movies, just like the one I show here, however, is a lot faster as what one can see in real life. As most video cameras are not sensitive enough and cannot use a long shutter speed (as they have to records 25 frames per second), almost all cannot correctly record Northern Lights. So the movies one see are time-lapse movies. In the film above, I’ve taken three series of 300 to 500 photos with a 5-10 second shutter speed with my regular photo camera, edited them and show them at 25 frames per second. This means I can use the longer shutter speed so I can record the Auroras, but it also speeds up the movement a lot. In reality, the action is a lot slower. But no matter whether you look at it through photos, movies or in real life, it’s always very spectacular.

Arjen Drost

Arjen is a Polar ecologist, nature photographer and full time expedition guide on expedition cruise ships in both Polar regions. With his pictures and stories he likes to show the beauty of these very fragile and threatened places.

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