Photographer Vincent Ledvina created a mesmerizing timelapse video of Northern lights footage compiled from his adventures in Manitoba, Canada.
Ledvina, who presented at this past weekend’s Aurora Summit, and is also known for co-developing the North Dakota Dual Aurora Camera with Aurorasaurus, spoke to DPReview about what went into creating this masterpiece while giving some tips on catching this oftentimes elusive night sky phenomenon.
How did you get into Aurora photography?
I got into Aurora photography from a natural love for the outdoors and astronomy. Growing up in Minnesota, I would often see the Aurora while on family camping trips, and when I purchased my first camera at the age of 15 I began taking photos of the Aurora! Before long, what began as a passion turned into an obsession.
What advice do you have for aspiring Aurora chasers?
The biggest piece of advice I have is even if you think you can’t see the Aurora from where you live, you have a better chance than you think. Of course, if you’re in Hawaii, your chances are pretty low, but for people in midlatitudes, especially in the Midwestern and Northern U.S. and Southern Canada, with a bit of monitoring and knowledge of how space weather behaves, you can see the aurora pretty frequently.
If you’re getting into it without any previous knowledge, I urge you to do as much research as you can about what to expect given your location. Try to join online communities of Aurora chasers specific to your location so that you can be alerted when the lights are being seen.
The biggest piece of advice I have is even if you think you can’t see the Aurora from where you live, you have a better chance than you think.
What’s your most essential piece of gear?
After purchasing the [Sony] a7s iii this summer, it’s my favorite piece of gear. Moving from Minnesota to Alaska now to pursue my Ph.D., the auroras here are BRIGHT – so bright that it’s possible to record real-time video without it looking too grainy. The a7s iii is a fantastic camera for those extreme low-light situations, and video of the aurora gives the most accurate depiction of how it truly looks to the human eye.
Do you have any other behind-the-scenes info you’d like to share?
I always say that if you want a unique Aurora-chasing experience, go to Churchill [Manitoba, Canada], because not only do you have amazing Northern lights, but you have to be constantly aware of polar bears. I thought it was a bit dramatic when I heard about the polar bear situation, but we ended up seeing 4 bears over the two weeks I was there.
Whenever we went out, we constantly scanned our surroundings with flashlights and we carried a high-powered rifle with us. When we were shooting timelapse, we would use a spare Sony a7s with the ISO cranked all the way to scan the treeline for animals on the live view monitor.
To learn more about Vincent, make sure to visit his site, which he says will be fully-functional this December.