Preparing to Shoot Long Exposures

The news announces that the northern lights will be visible tonight and luckily it is clear out. You have the perfect spot that has no light pollution to get the perfect shot similar to the one below.

Northern Lights

You grab your tripod, camera and remote and head out to the perfect spot. Right as you get there, the northern lights start dancing. You turn the camera on to see a photographer’s worst nightmare, no memory card. As you sit there in disbelief, the perfect shot only lasts about a minute and then it is gone. How could this happen? How can a photographer just forget a memory card and why does the camera not have an internal memory? It is not a good feeling and has happened to me before. Moral of the story: Don’t be like Katie.

Be Prepared

Before leaving to go shoot long exposure subjects, such as the northern lights, create a checklist to prevent forgetting something. You will need a dSLR camera, memory card, charged battery, remote for the shutter and a tripod. I use a Sunpak 8001 tripod and I absolutely love it! I recommend having two or three batteries for your camera. You can find extra batteries on Overstock or Amazon for a fairly reasonable price. It can get cold when you are shooting at night, so make sure you dress for the weather and be prepared to wait a while for the Northern Lights.

Preventing the Lack of a Memory Card

After forgetting to put my memory card back in my camera on several occasions, I decided to stash memory cards in several places. The Digital Photography School has the same suggestion along with another idea to prevent this problem. I always have a card in my car, purse, and wallet, because I am usually close to these three things when I have my camera with me. Having memory cards in these places has saved me a couple times when I forgot to put my card back in the camera.

Now that you are prepared to shoot long exposures, come back and read my next post on how to achieve a long exposure like this one.

Long Exposure

Have you ever gone to take photos and realized you didn’t have a memory card? Let’s hear your stories!


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