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Este artículo no está disponible en Español
November 2010

It was lucky that CPN managed to catch up with the landscape and wildlife photographer Fredrik Neregård. The intrepid Swedish shooter tends to spend most of his time trekking or canoeing through the wildernesses of Scandinavia, shooting magical scenes for outdoor magazines. Back in the warmth of his office, Mark Alexander caught up with the adventurous photographer to quiz him about shooting the beguiling 'Northern Lights'.

The strange, magical slithers of colour that zip through the night sky are certainly breathtaking, but capturing the Northern Lights requires a healthy appetite for adventure and a good deal of patience. "Seldom do you get really good Northern Lights," says Fredrik. "In this part of the world, almost every night you get some kind of Northern Lights, but often they're diffused. I was lucky to get this shot as it only lasted about five minutes - you have to be ready all the time."

Far off the beaten track, in the northerly extremes of Norway (Fredrik had to ski for 5km to reach an isolated mountain cabin), Fredrik spent three days in January building an impressive collection of Northern Lights images. Since the sun never really rises or sets at this time of the year, Fredrik's chances of capturing the incredible Aurora Borealis were certainly high, but he didn't leave anything to chance. "The key thing is to check the local weather forecast for clear conditions," he says. "You can also use specialist websites to see if there is enough activity from the sun, which helps you to be prepared."

© Lena Neregård

Swedish photographer Fredrik Neregård.

That night, Fredrik used to predict the solar activity for his shot. To cope with noise, he used an EOS 5D. "I had to use quite a high ISO with a long exposure," he recalls. "If you have a full-frame sensor you have less noise, which is an advantage. I used it with the Canon EF17-40 f/4L USM wideangle zoom at 25mm for 10 seconds at ISO 400."

To maximise sharpness, the shot was taken using a Gitzo carbon fibre tripod and remote release. "It's nice to use carbon fibre in the winter because it doesn't get that cold compared to aluminum, and it's lighter too," explains Fredrik.

Since the shoot in 2008, Fredrik has upgraded his kitbag to include the EOS 7D, for wildlife shots, and an EOS 5D Mark II for landscapes. The move has opened up even greater possibilities. "I've since changed to an EOS 5D Mark II which I intend to use this winter for more Northern Lights shots," he says. "This time I'II be able to use an even higher ISO with a shorter exposure because the Mark II has even less noise than the 'Mark I'. The Northern Lights move quite quickly across the sky, so if you have a long exposure everything can look green and you don't capture any patterns. Sometimes I want to expose for just a couple of seconds to get the shapes in the sky. With the Mark II, I'll be able to do this. I just hope I get some good Northern Lights."


The Northern Lights in Norway - Fredrik Neregård

Location: Northern Norway
Date: 2008
Camera: EOS 5D
Lens: EF17-40mm f/4L USM
Exposure: 10 secs at f/4
ISO speed: 400