The aurora australis phenomenon (also known as the southern lights) may be an awe-inspiring sight, but you don't need to be a pro photographer to capture it. In fact, with a little pre-planning, an amateur photographer like you can snap some share-worthy shots while you're holidaying in Tasmania. Aside from a high-quality camera, here are 3 things you'll need to pack in your suitcase if you want to save your southern lights memories in photo form.
One of the worst things that can happen to any amateur photographer is running out of battery power just before that perfect shot comes along. You'll want to invest in some hardy and long-lasting camera batteries for your southern lights photography session. Make sure you have more spares than you need to be on the safe side. You'll also need to keep in mind that your battery life may drain faster in the cool Tasmanian night time air. Batteries drain quicker when it's cold, so keep them insulated until you put them in your camera. You can keep them in one of your inside coat pockets to keep them warm with your body heat or wrap them in an insulating material.
Depending on where you live in Australia, you may be a complete stranger to layered clothing. However, if you're planning on photographing the southern lights in Tasmania, layers will be your best friend. Tasmania has a cool climate, and temperatures will be quite low at night -- especially in the winter, when you'll have a better chance at getting a great snap. Getting the perfect photo could take many hours, and you won't want to get cold while waiting. Be sure to pack thermal underwear, multiple jumpers and jackets, thick trousers, insulated boots and multiple pairs of thick socks, as well as a thermal hat and gloves set. This may sound like overkill at first, but you'll be grateful when you're photographing in comfort.
Don't think you'll be able to walk up to the aurora, photograph it, and get back in your rental car in 5 minutes flat. If you want really beautiful photos that capture your amazement, you'll likely be waiting a while. If you don't want to get sore arms (and, thus, a blurry image from tired and shaky hands), you'll need to bring a good outdoor tripod with you. If you don't already have one, pick up a small and light carbon fibre tripod that won't weigh your suitcase down. Try to get a model with highly adjustable positioning, as you never know how uneven the ground will be where you are.
It's so easy to take casual snaps of the family these days with lightweight digital cameras and camera phones. However, if you don't have good electronic storage systems worked out, it's all too easy to lose those precious photos if you lose your devices. That's why you need to have backup disks and data storage to make sure that no matter what those memories will be preserved. I use a combination of burning photos to disk and using a data drive to keep all of my important electronic files saved in a few spots. This blog is all about saving electronic files, using electronics equipment and keeping your things in order.