GETTING TO YELLOWKNIFE
Getting to Yellowknife is easy. The capital city of the Northwest Territories can be reached within a days travel from most major cities in North America.
Yellowknife has excellent air access, with four major airlines offering daily jet service to the capital of the Northwest Territories. Air Canada, WestJet, Canadian North and First Air provide daily jet service between Edmonton and Yellowknife, and Air Canada and WestJet offer daily jet service between Calgary and Yellowknife. Air North provides service between Ottawa, Yellowknife and Whitehorse two times per week and Air Canada provide daily jet service between Vancouver and Yellowknife during the winter months.
WHAT TO BRING
Remember, you are travelling to a northern destination and temperature and weather systems can change quickly. While we’ve outlined a few guidelines, we always recommend preparing for a change in weather during your stay.
Winter: Thermal gloves and hat, neck warmer, wool socks, down-filled winter parka, wind/ski pants, insulated boots, thermal underwear, sunglasses, extra batteries (cold weather makes your batteries die quickly!)
Summer: Fleece jacket, wind jacket, jeans, thin layers, hat, sun-screen, bug-spray, sunglasses.
For anyone looking for assistance with travel planning, please contact Top of the World Travel
TIPS FOR PHOTOGRAPHING THE AURORA
Capturing the Aurora on film is a great way to remember your Aurora viewing tour. Follow these basis tips and tricks and you will be able to capture the brilliance of the northern lights.
- Eat Prior to Going Out
Depending on the season, photographing the Aurora can be a cold experience. It is important to eat a full meal about an hour before you head out as this will help your body stay warm while you are out enjoying a late night of sky-watching.
- Gather Your Gear
After eating, gather all your equipment including your camera, and spare battery is you have one. It doesn’t have to be a fancy camera, either — it simply needs to be able to perform a long-enough exposure to capture the aurora. The exposure time can vary anywhere from 10 seconds to 60 seconds, depending on the brightness of the aurora (more on exposure times later.) Old, manual film cameras are best, as you don’t have to worry about battery life, but the newer cameras work just as well. Pack extra batteries, a wide-angle lens, a cable release, film (400 speed or faster) if necessary, and a flashlight so you can see in the dark. Lastly, depending on the season, dress warmly!! Most likely, if you’re cold, you’re not going to enjoy your aurora viewing experience.
- Camera Settings
If you are using a single-lens reflex camera, you will most likely want to use the bulb setting with a cable release so you can time your exposures. Set your ISO to 400 or higher. If you are using a newer camera, turn off autofocus and use manual focus mode. Set your focus to infinity, and set your aperture to it’s biggest opening, which is usually the smallest number.
You will want to determine your shutter speed based on a combination of ISO and Aperture. Photography is basically painting with light, so what you are determining is how much light you will be exposing the film or sensor to. The faster the shutter speed, the better, as that will be a more accurate representation of the aurora you are seeing in the sky. Typically, anything longer than a 30-second exposure will give you slight star trails, due to the Earth’s rotation.
And that’s about all you really need to know to capture the aurora on film. True North Safaris has the ideal facility for aurora viewing, as it sits directly under the Aurora Oval, and you’ll see some of the most spectacular Aurora displays on the planet. Preserving the experience on film is a great way to share the experience with others and remember the trip forever.
ADDITIONAL AURORA INFORMATION
The Astronomy North website offers a wealth of knowledge on the Aurora and provides and Aurora forecasts. They also have an excellent photo and video gallery. For more information visit www.astronomynorth.com