Wild Photography Holidays - Photography & Adventure Travel: What's New

Sunrise on the Diamond Beach Photographer at Djúpalónssandur Beach Children praying, Tiruvannamalai, South India Roundstone Peat Bog, Connemara

Iceland Volcanic Eruption Live

Martin Sammtleben, 14. June 2024

New Volcanic Eruption in Iceland

Martin Sammtleben, 11. July 2023

After continuous earthquakes a fissure eruption started on the Reykjanes Peninsula, 10 July. Here is a fantastic drone video taken by Isak Finnbogason after sunset.

Aurora Photography – Photograph the Northern Lights

Martin Sammtleben, 2. January 2023

The Northern Lights or Aurora Borealis with their changing shapes and colours have fascinated people through the ages. They’re an electromagnetic phenomenon caused by the sun storm entering the earth’s upper atmosphere and magnetic field.

Luckily capturing the aurora has become a lot easier with todays cameras, that have increasingly better low-light performance. Here are few tips in brief…

  • You will need a tripod and cable-/remote release, although instead of the latter you can employ your camera’s self-timer.
  • Watch the weather – you will want a clear night.
  • Follow the aurora forecast on sites such as spaceweather.com
    The Aurora can show up any time during the dark hours.
  • If possible find a nice location in advance during daytime and take note of interesting spots that provide some foreground interest. Especially reflective surfaces such as water or ice are perfectly suited as foregrounds since they can provide amazing reflections of the aurora.
  • Keep yourself and your spare batteries warm, because you might spend a lot of time standing around waiting. Bring a flask with a hot drink.
  • As the lights can stretch across the entire sky, you will in general find wide-angle lenses, fixed or zooms, more useful than longer lenses. Fast, fixed-focal length lenses are a very good choice, but also a zoom with a modest f/4.0 can be used with good results.
  • Very important: you must remove any filters from your lenses, even clear protective ones. If left on the lens they will cause circular interference patterns that can’t be removed in post-processing.
  • You need to make sure that the stars turn out sharp in your images. This requires precise focus on infinity. The auto-focus usually won’t work in the dark, so you need to set your lens manually to infinity and tape down the focus ring to prevent knocking it inadvertently. This is best worked out during daytime by using your camera’s live view (EVF or rear screen) at maximum magnification and focusing manually on something contrasty in the far distance like mountains, trees etc. With a bit of practise this can be done successfully, even in the dark: point your camera at the brightest star and, at maximum magnification, adjust focus until the star appears as a small point of light.
  • Unless the aurora is very bright use the following camera settings as a starting point: aperture f/2.8 – 4.0, 15 seconds exposure, an ISO of 800–1600. Adjust these values if the images turn out too dark or bright.
  • The lights can move quickly. In that case aim for shorter shutter speeds around 5–10 seconds or less. Turn your camera’s ISO up to the highest value, that will still produce images without excessive noise and open up your lens’s aperture to let in as much light as possible.
  • Shooting RAW is highly recommended. However if you prefer to shoot JPEG make sure to enable long-exposure noise reduction in your camera. Note that this function should be turned off when shooting RAW as it has no effect on RAWs. Instead use the noise reduction features of your software.
  • Experiment with the white balance of your images. Northern Lights often look rather greenish straight from the camera and they can change appearance dramatically as you adjust the colour temperature and tint controls. This way you can often bring out other colour hues if any are present. I found the following values to be a good starting point…
temperature: 3500 to 4300K, tint: +30 to +50. However if the moon is illuminating the scene, you need to stick to a white balance closer to daylight like 5000K, no tint.
In the end this is very much a question of personal taste and best is always what looks best to you.

Free iBook: A Guide to Photographing the Northern Lights

Much more information on aurora photography can be found in our free iBook A Guide to Photographing the Northern Lights. If you own an Apple iPad or a Mac, check it out!

If this has sparked your interest, why not join us on one of our northern lights tours in either Iceland , Norway or Greenland

A Guide to Photographing the Northern Lights

Martin Sammtleben, 1. January 2023

“A Guide to Photographing the Northern Lights” is a free iBook for iPad and Mac owners.

Viewing Requirements

  • Apple iPad with iOS 5 or newer or Macs with macOS 10.9 and newer – it won’t work on other devices.
  • Apple’s free Books app – Books comes with macOS 10.9 Mavericks and later versions.

Important: you need to use Safari to download the book directly onto your iPad. Other browsers won’t know how to handle the book. Depending on the speed of your internet connection this can take a couple of minutes or longer. Once the download is complete you will be prompted to open the book in the Books application.

Download now, 25 MB

A Guide to Photographing the Northern Lights cover

Ladakh Expedition – A Video by Paul Harris

Martin Sammtleben, 10. October 2019

Drawing on 20 years of visiting this north western region of India, this short film highlights some of the landscapes, culture and people of Ladakh as part of a Wild Photography Holidays expedition. This one of 5 different trips currently running.

Paul works with Wild Photography Holidays as a photographic tutor in Iceland, India and Greenland.

Sea and Landscapes of Northern Spain

Martin Sammtleben, 1. August 2019

4-Day Intensive Workshop

We have just run our first home based workshop in Northern Spain. Over the four days we managed to cover some lovely seascapes, wander around quaint villages with a great deal of input for our guests individual requirements both at base and in the field. The food, both home cooked or in local restaurants, was yummy and washed down with some excellent local wine and cider!

Both Martin and myself really enjoyed the flexibility of working intensively with just four guests so we have decided that we’ll do it again next year, take a look online for the dates:
Sea & Landscapes of Northern Spain Photographic Intensive

Iceland Workshops – Video by Paul Harris

Geraldine Westrupp, 21. February 2017

Iceland from phpProductions on Vimeo.

Take a peek at Paul’s latest video showing what we get up to on our Iceland Winter Workshops, a veritable fest of ice caves, glaciers, waterfalls, black sands and sparkling sea washed ice!

Paul works with Wild Photography Holidays as a photographic tutor in Iceland. He also leads our fabulous Ladakh Expedition