Northern Lights at Saariselka, Finnish Lapland

At Saariselka, a small village of 300 inhabitants 250km above the arctic circle in the Finnish tundra, Northern Lights can be seen over 200 days per year. They could also be seen during three spectacular nights spent this past March, right after the equinox, a good time to spot this amazing phenomenon. A 5D MarkII was rented for the occassion along with the 16-35mm f/2.8 L II wide angle lens. Most of the pictures, however, came out best with the 24 f/1.4 L II , which allowed shorter shutter times and greater texture in the sky.

Exposures varied anywhere from 6 to 30 sec with ISO maxed at 800. Apperture was always maxed at whatever the lens could deliver. Tripod, cable release and mirror lock-up were used at all times.

During the second and third night, UV filters were removed from the lenses. The impression is that this resulted in enhanced purple colors on the sensor but no systematic tests were conducted on this. All images were taken between 11.30 PM and 12.30 AM. At some of the sites, temperatures dropped down to -25C, which made operating camera and tripod controls a bit more difficult.

Click HERE for a larger selection of the best pictures taken during the three nights.