How to capture the Northern Lights

The Gear:

Camera with Manual Mode Functionality – I have a Fujifilm XT10, any SLR / DSLR should do the trick.

A tripod – We didn’t have one with us, but it would have made life a lot easier and the photos could have been better.

Before you go:

My advice is to make sure you know your camera inside out and read the manual. I thought I knew what all the buttons were on my camera, turns out I didn’t. We missed the first lot of northern lights trying to figure out how to change the settings.

Practise makes perfect, try out the settings in the night sky before attempting the northen lights so you have a feel of what settings are best and making adjustments.


  1. Wide lense – do not zoom
  2. Set the quality to RAW image
  3. ISO between 800 and 3200 – This is the light sensitivity, the higher the ISO the more light you let in. I went 3200.
  4. Aperture between f/2.8 and f/5.6 – This is the focus, the larger the number, the smaller the focus point.
  5. Shutter speed at between 15 seconds and 30 seconds – I adjusted the seconds whilst taking photos, the lights move quickly so we didn’t go above 20 seconds.
  6. Self timer at 2 seconds – Gives you enough time to stop touching the camera so it doesn’t move.

The Perfect Conditions:

Conditions need to be freezing, clear and away from artificial lights. We went to Lake Thingvallavatn at 9pm it was -15c! The lights reflected over the lake which brightened them more. I am not a photographer or an expert by any means, we were just lucky and patient. Good luck!NORTHERN LIGHTS1234578910NORTHERN LIGHTS12345789NORTHERN LIGHTS12345789102NORTHERN LIGHTS123457891023NORTHERN LIGHTS123457NORTHERN LIGHTS123NORTHERN LIGHTS1

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