se002 - Southeast Montana - Landscape

Photo Attributes: Big Sky · Colorful · Lake · Night · Stars · Trees

Quick Stats:
  • ID#: se002
  • Photographer: Dave Shumway
  • Location: Beartooth Pass
Nearby Weather:
Red Lodge
Weather from OpenWeatherMap

Northern Lights over Montana

Dave Shumway was nice enough to provide some more insight on how to capture images like his beautiful Northern Lights over Montana:

In regard to the forecasting of storms, this site has most of what you need: I find that anytime we have a KP4.66 or better we have a great show to photograph in Eastern or Northern Montana.

A more tech blog post about how to photograph the Northern Lights:

The key to making strong photographs of the Northern Lights is to remember that the lights alone are cool, but not a compelling photograph, it is about the scene, and it is hard to find a good scene in the dark. That means you need to plan out before hand places you want to visit once it is dark and the lights are dancing. You will be looking North with a little leaning to the East, typically. the lights will look very white to the human eye, that is because when it is dark your eyes see using rods rather than cones (There are two types of photoreceptors in the human retina, rods and cones. Rods are responsible for vision at low light levels (scotopic vision). They do not mediate color vision, and have a low spatial acuity.) Fortunately your camera can see and capture the color, and making a long exposure really brings out the colors.

I like to find sharp mountains, tall towers and calm lakes and then line up a shot that lets me look North with a light pollution free view. (Eastern and Northern Montana are great for that).

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