After my disappointing aurora shoot last week, I decided to try again. The goal was to modify the shots and try and make them interesting and have a little impact. I tried three techniques. Let me know if they worked.
Although there are limited foreground elements where I currently am (arctic tundra -think barren, frozen plain) I tried to align the aurora with a ground element. I found this to add a little interest as it appears at first glance the aurora could be coming from the ground station.
Second, I tried to fill the frame with the subject. Negative space in the earlier images did not work.
Finally, I am presenting the images as a series to show action/progression. These four shots are taken in succession showing the initial contact through dissipation. Much like a wave the shots progress from break to backwash.
I have been fortunate to see some amazing things in my life. Last night was near the top (only outdone by the birth of my daughters.) The lights were incredibly strong for about three hours and visible from dusk to dawn. OBTW, it was about -45 during the shoot.
As I have previously discussed, the camera (5D Mk II) did great in the cold weather. Ambient temperature was about -16. The battery was fine even though it had been cold soaked for about 36 hours previously. The only issue I ran into last night was my tripod. For the Benro travel angel temps below about -15 give it some issues, either freezing the joint "locks" or thermal contraction problems.
For temps below about -25 the limiting factor on most SLRs is the LCD. In my experience, the back LCD goes first, then the top, and finally the viewfinder.