During our trip to Scandinavia in 2015/2016, we brought all necessary equipment to capture some timelapse movies of the Aurora Borealis. And I was able to create the 5 movies shown in this post.
Played in reverse it might feel more natural, but in reality the lights looked like moving into the mountain.
The big deal was my very old Nikkor 8mm f/2.8 AI-S. I bought it from a shop in London, when they asked me what I will do with the lens they were amazed that I planned to use it in such harsh conditions. But I am not a collector, I buy equipment to create photographs. The 8mm turned out to be perfect for this, it is a very fast lens with great quality and the angle of view covering a full 180 degrees allowed me to capture the complete night sky. The pictures might look strange in the beginning, you have to remember that the camera pointed straight up and pictures all above you. I plan to display them in a planetarium some time, to help people understand what drives me to go back again and again.
The first sequence was captured close to a street, so there are some cars driving by.
Two nights later and in a different spot, I captured those pictures. Right in the middle of an emerging flare my programmed sequence ran out and luckily I detected that the shutter noise stopped. It took me some seconds to get it up and running again – all by remote control using Camera Control Pro 2 on a laptop clearly suffering from the conditions. The camera itself is out of reach on top of a huge Gitzo GT5562GTS, otherwise you would capture people’s heads around it.
In the end, you can see ice slowly forming on the lens, depending on weather conditions, you will end up with everything covered by ice. Usually you can take your lens into the car and place it into the air current on your dashboard, but with this lens, I was afraid that the huge difference in temperature might crack the front lens element.