Light at -34 Degrees!

Northern Lights captured by Z 6II / Z14-24

I’ve been fortunate enough to see Northern Lights but this is the first time I traveled north just to photograph Northern Lights. The timing was based on no moon and dark skies. When the sun went down at 14:47, it was dark until 10:18 and with the darkness, came the cold. The lowest we shot in was -37 the second night, it was warmer the first night at -34! With those cold temps, I went with the simple idea of keeping it as real simple as possible.

I started by setting all the Z 6II settings BEFORE I left the lodge. I shot in Aperture Priority, f/2.8, ISO 1600 with -1 Exposure comp. Lens was set to Manual focus and with the lighted readout on the Z14-24, it was easy to set and check the lens was set to Infinity before and in the field. The last thing, made sure the Z 6II was connected to Snapbridge. Hard warmers were activated just before I went out the door and inserted in pockets and gloves. Just seconds before heading out the door, dawned long underwear and fleece-lined Duluth pants (I overheat inside with those layers). With that, I we went.

I used the app Aurora and Aurora Forecast to determine when to head out. We scouted areas around Fairbanks that had minimal to no light pollution and good foregrounds during the limited daylight hours. At the appointed time we were in place and howling, literally at the Northern Lights. It was really really simple from there. Set up the tripod and camera with gloves on (never take them gloves off at those temps and touch metal!) and then frame up your shot. Even with no moon, lots of starlight, and Northern Lights to see by. The Platyball made setting up the shot a snap with gloves on. Then, I took the first shot and looked at the exposure. You want a fast shutter speed. The first night I shot at -2 and the second night at 0 comp and both nights the shutter speed was 1.6sec. That’s because of the brightness of the Lights.

One of the locations required us to ascend stairs to shoot so we were standing out in the balmy weather to shoot for a couple of hours. I set the camera to Self-Timer, 2sec, 9 exposures so the camera would fire off nine photographs for every one time I took my hands out of my pocket. The Northern Lights are NEVER the same frame to frame. How they pulsate through the heavens is a thing of beauty! On the second night, we were closer to the vehicle so, almost ashamed to admit this, we sat in the vehicle with the tuchus toaster on full blast and fired the camera (still in self-timer mode) with Snapbridge. The Z 6II was attached to the MB-N11 and one battery lasted about the three hours the Lights were dancing. The only challenge in the whole affair were the overcast skies. Otherwise, it was a slam dunk and real easy to shoot the light at -34 degrees!

You can see more from me trip here. Planning on going back, it was way too much fun not too! Real easy to shoot light at -34 degrees!

Moose Podcast #269 – “Staying Warm when it’s Cold”

Aero C-104

Northern Lights captured by Z 6II / Z14-24f2.8

This episode of the Moose Podcast #269 – “Staying Warm when it’s Cold “, It’s that time of year requiring us to get cold at times to capture the hottest photos. How do we stay warm, that’s what this podcast is all about.

Click to listen to Episode 269

and you can listen to it here:
iTunes
Amazon

Howdy and welcome to the Moose Podcast! Thanks for taking the time to drop in from your week to listen! Thank you folks for listening and continually rising the Moose Podcast in the ratings … thank you ever so much! Please be so kind and continue to Tweet and/or share on the Moose Podcast on Facebook! I’d be grateful for your continuation in doing that. Want to hear about a particular topic, send in the suggestion … send them to Moose Podcast. THANKS! (sorry, emails sent to this address will get no direct response).

People, Companies, Products Mentioned during Podcast:
Bedford Camera
Kelby One Winter Class
Gloves 2021

There are Times …

Hwy 2 Tree captured by Z 6II / Z24-70f2.8

I wasn’t looking for this shot, I had turned around for another totally, totally different shot. When I turned around I saw this scene and something in my head just said, gotta make a click. I made a quick click of what I stopped for and then made a beeline down to this lone tree. Something about the color, gesture of the cloud, the loneliness of the tree, just said to me, “take me.” That happens often but too often, I don’t stop. I’m glad this time I did. The serenity at -9 just reminds me now, there are times ….

Fire at The Ranch

Slash Pile #1 burning captured by Z 6II / Z70-200f2.8

The Ranch had its first control burn over the weekend conducted by the Three Mile Volunteer Fire Dept. The 100+ pines on The Ranch had never been limbed, something vastly needed to suppress wildfire and promote critter use. We limbed the pines ourselves a year ago and made seven limb piles about the property. There was that much standing fuel that needed to be removed (love that chainsaw on a stick!). With their engine there with 1500 gallons of water able to get around to all the locations on The Ranch, the burning began. Within a couple of hours, all the piles were burning or burning out. While I didn’t bring any hot dogs to the party, I brought the camera. The character in the fire can be seen in this photo as one wisp photobombs the Captain so we can’t see him. I didn’t want to be that guy (the dept had over 300 calls just this year from this kind of burning getting away). A HUGE thanks to Chad, Rick & Paul for a job well done!

Moose Podcast #268 – “Thanks & Giving!

Three Mile Volunteer FD burning one of our slash piles captured by DJI Maverick 2S

This episode of the Moose Podcast #268 – “Thanks & Giving “, Photographers, we as a blessed group being able to follow our passion with a camera in tow. We have the ability to share that talent and do so good for the world. These are my thoughts on Thanks & Giving!

Click to listen to Episode 268

and you can listen to it here:
iTunes
Amazon

Howdy and welcome to the Moose Podcast! Thanks for taking the time to drop in from your week to listen! Thank you folks for listening and continually rising the Moose Podcast in the ratings … thank you ever so much! Please be so kind and continue to Tweet and/or share on the Moose Podcast on Facebook! I’d be grateful for your continuation in doing that. Want to hear about a particular topic, send in the suggestion … send them to Moose Podcast. THANKS! (sorry, emails sent to this address will get no direct response).

People, Companies, Products Mentioned during Podcast:
Bedford Camera

What about the Z24-120?

Z24-120 on a Z 6II photo courtesy of Nikon

I loved the F Mount version and I know I’d love the Z Mount version Z24-120, especially with its constant f4. But as my friend asked yesterday, why isn’t this on my list to get? It kinda is, when I have the project that would pay for it being added to the kit, I’ll have it! With the amazing Z14-24f2.8 and Z24-70f2.8 in my kit now, I have the 24mm end covered in grand style. With the Z105mc and Z70-200f2.8 (both favorites) covering to some extent the other end, adding one more great lens at this time doesn’t fit my budget. I’m not about to say it won’t end up in my kit, I’m a weak man. I love new glass and that constant f4 and focal length range I know works well for me. Sharing the same anti-flare technology as the Z14-24 which I can’t force to flare and a 77mm filter size, it would fit nicely with my current kit. And if I don’t stop extolling the Z24-120‘s fine points, I might just talk myself into raiding the piggy bank and order it right now. A gorgeous lens that will be at the right time, a killer addition to my kit!

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