How to Photograph the Northern Lights eBook

If you have long dreamed of photographing the northern lights, or have made attempts that you wish were more successful, then this eBook is a must for you. How to Photograph the Northern Lights is a very well illustrated, comprehensive 330-page tutorial that will give the necessary information to make your aurora photography venture a success. Two long-time Alaskans and specialists in their fields have teamed up to create this resource.

Two Alaska specialists, photographer Patrick J Endres and scientist Neal Brown, have teamed up to produce this thorough and resourceful book. If learning how to photograph the northern lights is on your bucket list, then this wonderfully illustrated eBook is a must. It is a comprehensive and thorough guide that will equip you with the information necessary to capture your own photos of the aurora borealis.

3rd Edition: V3.6 Updated 9/19/2016

330 pages | 150+ photos | 150+ illustrations | English

How to Photograph the Northern Lights (eBook)


3rd Edition: Updated 9/2016 v3.6

330 pages | 150+ photos | 150+ illustrations | English

 Downloadable PDF for computers and mobile devices.


Chapter Content

The chapters contain a blend of technical and creative information that both the beginner and professional photographer will find invaluable. The text is augmented with 150+ of Patrick’s luminous aurora photos, thoughtful quotes, and 150+ illustrations, graphs, and figures to instruct you in the do’s and don’ts of nighttime aurora borealis photography.

Topics discussed

  • where to go

  • what month and season is best

  • what time of night is best

  • how to dress appropriately for the cold

  • working with camera gear in the cold

  • what camera and lens to use

  • how to read aurora forecasts

  • composition and depth of field

  • how to properly expose

  • moon and moonlight considerations

  • tips for working in the dark

  • helpful apps

  • and much more.

What’s New in the 3rd Edition

v3.6-updated 9/19/2016

  • Hot link Table of Contents navigation for iPad version

  • 33 new pages of content

  • Major revisions to camera and lenses section

  • Updated graphics and new photos

  • Expanded “working in the dark” section

  • Added more aurora resource links

  • Updated aurora apps

  • Minor updates to other chapters

  • Added section on using filters to assist with live view focus.

  • Major charts and diagrams quick reference appendix.

“This book is more than outstanding. What an awesome job Patrick did. He covered everything thoroughly. His rhetoric and understanding are only surpassed by his incredible images. Thank you so much for willingly sharing your vast knowledge of this magical phenomenon. This is by far the best aurora book and one of the best photography books I have read.”


Jackie Orsulak, Duck, North Carolina


  • Teddy

    I already downloaded it and it’s okay. I will learn from this book for my trip to Yellowknife, Canada this March and I hope I will take great pictures like yours. Thank you.

  • Cecily O’Toole

    If you dream about chasing the Northern Lights then buy Patrick J. Endres’ book because it will strengthen your resolve and encourage that dream. If you have an actual plan to try to see them then this book is an essential read. As we would expect from Patrick, it is magnificently illustrated with thought provoking quotations, but it is much more than a pretty ebook. This is a substantial and authorative work, with contributions on the science of the aurora borealis from Neal Brown. Yet it is a compelling and enjoyable read and extremely well laid out. You will learn where, when and even what time to photograph the Northern Lights, how to prepare, what to wear, how to actually capture them on camera and much more. This is the book to read on the Northern Lights.

  • This is an absolutely ‘must read’ book for anyone hoping to photograph the Aurora. I’m off to Northern Norway (Tromso) on March 10 (New moon)and for the first time feel really well prepared. I picked all kinds of tips – and the checklists are brilliant as a last minute form of preparation. Nothing is left to chance in this wonderfully illustrated book. Highly recommended!

  • Marvin Falk

    This is a remarkably well designed book, well suited to viewing on a screen of your choice. You get not just the how, but enough where and why to build an understanding of the phenomena. I appreciate the practical details surrounding actually photographing — lenses, iso, care of both the photographic equipment and the photographer in the cold.

    I hope that this is the first of a series of ebooks on photography in Alaska

  • Just bought the book in pdf form so I can reference it on my upcoming trip to Alaska using my laptop, and also bought the itunes version for my wife’s iPad.

    Really fantastic so far, as I’m reading every word and loving it. The science part of it is very understandable, and I like how it is separated out on the page. Patrick’s tips and advice are critical, and it was Patrick’s website six months ago that inspired our planning of this imminent trip.

    I just love the quotes by famous photographers at the beginning of each chapter. These really resonate with me.

    And Patrick’s photographs are so inspiring, as teaching examples, and for their incredible beauty!

    I’ll post more after I finish the book and come home from the adventure of photographing The Northern Lights !
    Mike Shaw

    • Trip went great. Thanks, Patrick. Some nice photos of the aurora thanks to Partick’s book and the checklist! See them at and click on the Alaska link.

  • Matthew Carpenter

    Thank you Patrick for taking the time to put this very informative resource together. As a novice to aurora photography but having a degree of experience with night photography I can say that there is some sound advice in here which will go towards making all the difference. The very visual nature of the subject is superbly completed by the many images and descriptive and technical data. This was money well spent in my opinion.

    Now I just need to board my plane to Calgary that is leaving in 30 minutes. Wish me luck 🙂

  • This eBook was a fantastic read.
    It provided very clear information in a easy to read language complimented by many illustrations to aid the reader grasp the topics visually.

    Patrick’s photo’s in this eBook are the best collection of Aurora photos I have seen and provided me with inspiration.

    The detailed information about the Aurora itself was invaluable to understand when and where I needed to be to get the most out of my Aurora Photography Trip.

    Patrick’s comments about using a local guide and smaller workshop groups is spot on. I traveled with a local guide (who is friend’s with Patrick) and with his local knowledge and my research using this eBook, I was able to come away from my Aurora Photography trip with images I am really proud of.

    If you have always wanted to see the Aurora, make sure you take a camera with you and know how to use it. The camera will bring out much more detail than is often not visible with the human eye. Don’t go on an Aurora holiday without reading this eBook first.

    If you are already a experienced photographer, I guarantee that you will still pick up a few tips and tricks.


    P.S. Patrick, it was great to run into you at the Silver Gulch, wish you clear skies for your future workshops.

  • Just got back from Alaska, photographing… The Northern Lights. Thanks, again Patrick for a great resource for planning the trip and making sure I got the most out of it! Your book was a definite necessity on my wife’s iPad and on my laptop for reading on that long flight. Love the checklist in the back- absolutely critical. Rgds,
    Mike Shaw Click the Alaska link to see our aurora photos.

  • Hi Patrick.

    Thank you for a fantastic book. Lots of great tips in here. I am lucky to live in the polar regions and spent the last few years outdoors chasing the aurora whenever time and weather permits. Here is a tip from myself to ensure pinsharp “fokus”, and that is to utilize the MUP (mirror up) function which most DSLRs have. Kind regards

  • Vicki Haggard

    I just returned from my trip to Alaska to photograph the Northern Lights. Thanks a million times over for your book! Your advice on equipment (including lens rental), clothing and places to go were invaluable. Without your book, I don’t think my first night of shooting the Northern Lights would have been so successful. I was able to get set up and start shooting in a short amount of time because I had my camera set to your suggested settings (good starting point) before I got out of the car. With a few test shots and some minor adjustments, I started shooting. I’m very pleased with the photos that I took that night and during the rest of my trip. Thanks again for putting it all together in your book. I would highly recommend your book to anyone who wants information on how to get good photographs of the Northern Lights.

  • Just returned from AK three days ago. Your book was a major was a huge boost to my comfort level. Having wanted to go to the interior in winter for the purpose of shooting the “lights”, having this wealth of information to draw upon was a tremendous boost to my comfort level. Can’t say enough good things about it. Great work as always.

    • Patrick, sorry i didn’t proof-read before posting. Must still be short on sleep. Your book was a great help to me and your work a continual inspiration.

  • Stefan

    Thank you for taking the time to write your book on photographing the northern lights. I have just returned from a 1 week trip to Iceland where I was fortunate enough to have 2 nights where the lights were active and the skies were clear. Having purchased and read your book before hand was invaluable to understanding all the elements to making successful photos. It gave me the confidence and ability to capture some spectacular shots and life time memories. At first I was hesitant to purchase it given the price but I can truely attest is worth every penny. It is very well written and does a fantastic job of preparing one for the event! Well done. For anyone on fence on whether to get this book, if you are about to try Northern lights photography or have not had much success with it in the past, I highly recommend Patrick’s book.

  • mike kozlowski

    patrick,I plan on going to iceland in Feb.2014. I have a Canon Rebel EOS T3 DSLR. I plan on getting a Sigma 10mm f/2.8 EX DC HSM Canon-ef fisheye lens for the trip. Do you think that combination will give me a chance on some decent northern lights pics?

    • Hi Mike,
      Sorry if I forgot to respond to your inquiry. You f/2.8 and wide lens should be sufficient to capture the aurora.

  • Sara

    I just finished reading your book and loved it! I live in Bethel, AK and have been repeatedly disappointed in my pictures of the lights. I am traveling to Fairbanks this November and really hope to use the information in your book to get better shots.

  • FABULOUS! Thanks so much for sharing…

  • Just finished reading this book and loved it. I have been to Fairbanks once before to photograph the auroras and bought the first revision for that trip. Heading up again this winter and bought the new revision to get ready. This is a VERY thorough book covering every aspect of photographing the auroras. I picked up a lot of good tips and can’t wait to use them. Great book

  • Patrick, I just wanted to pass on my thanks for a wonderful and very informative book about shooting the northern lights. As a keen photographer I bought your first edition and learned heaps before heading up to Fairbanks to test some of my new found knowledge. I jumped at the chance to update with your recent second edition and I can’t endorse this newest version enough. Incredible knowledge is shared, and as far as I can tell nothing is left untouched! You have inspired us to come back to Fairbanks for round two in March next year, this time with a roadtrip north to Wiseman and the Brooks Mountains. Can’t wait to be made speechless again by the sheer beauty and enormity of the lights.
    EVERYONE with an interest in shooting the aurora needs to buy and read this book!

    Cheers Patrick

    • Thank you Neil, I’m so glad you found the book helpful.

  • Thoroughly enjoyed you ebook, “How to Photograph the Northern Lights”. Since I will going to Iceland this February the information will come in handy.
    Question: On page 222, Figure 7.5 you show that you have on the “high speed continuous shooting”. Is there a reason for that?

    • Hi Angelo,
      As long as you are on a continuous drive setting and not single shot, you are fine. The high speed does not make much difference obviously, with long shutter speeds. I just had it on that from a daytime setting. You want a continuous mode in case you lock the release in the shoot mode and let in continually take successive pictures.

  • Simon Thomas LRPS

    Just returned from 4 days in Iceland. I was really glad I read your book. I was lucky enough to come back with some really nice aurora pics which would not have been half as successful if I had not read your book. And I bought a hand warmer. _5C and a strong wind out on a larva flow so I was glad i planned

  • Michel Lafleche

    Wow! Wow! Wow! Your book is very impressive! The cover, the pictures, the colors, the information, everything about the book is very professional, very informative on every level. In my opinion you covered everything on how to photograph the auroras, from what the auroras are, cameras, clothing, equipment and so on. Every camera shop, photography school and or clubs and anybody interested in photography should have a copy of this book, even if they are not in a position to photograph the auroras, just to have the knowledge on every level concerning the auroras and cold weather, I think would be very much appreciated. I have not found any book that is better that yours. Thank you very much for sharing your life’s experiences in book form, in photographing the auroras and everything that is needed in order to do so. This book saved me a lot of trial and error time and money in what is needed to photograph the auroras.

  • Successfully downloaded. Expect some more orders from Australia shortly!

  • Todd Simons

    I bought the book and read it twice. First night out I was getting amazing pictures. Throughout my trip I was watching people struggle with things that I was not because I had read this book. Going to Alaska for most people is not a small trip. IF you are going to spend a lot of money going to see/photograph the northern lights, why not invest a little money to make sure you get the best possible pictures. I can not thank Patrick enough. People are blown away when they see my pictures.

    • Todd, way to go! A little bit of study goes a long way on the subject of aurora photography. I’m happy to hear of your success!

  • Jean Hartman

    I was able to download the pdf and open it OK. I’m enjoying learning a lot. One question – do you have any thoughts about the Rokinon 16mm f2.0 for APS-C cameras? The f2.0 is attractive.

    • Jean,
      I have never used that lens, although I do use the 24mm f/1.4. Search for online reviews by night photographers using the lens wide open. The focal length of about 25mm is a good general one.

  • Scott

    This book is a must read for anyone serious about Northern Lights photography. I read this shortly before a trip to Iceland and Patrick’s tips were indispensable! I came back with some great photos of the lights as they put on a spectacular display. I could not have done this without reading this book. Thanks again, Patrick!

    • Scott, you are soooo welcome! I’m always happy to hear that people benefitted from the contents of the ebook and I’m glad you were able to get some great shots. I’ve made all the mistakes so I know what it means to capture some good images.

  • This book provided information and resources that made my first attempt at photographing the aurora successful. The quick check lists were invaluable in the field and saved me hours of trial and error. By following Patrick’s instructions, my very first photo was correctly composed, perfectly focused, and exposed just right. Even if you are very experienced in landscape and astrophotography, this book will save you precious time capturing the elusive auroral curtains.

  • Larry Hauser

    I had a dream of viewing, and photographing, the aurora. Recently, my wife and I booked a trip to Iceland to fulfill this dream. A photographer friend recommended Patrick’s book “How to Photograph the Northern Lights” to me, and I downloaded it to my iPad. I am so glad I did! I studied it in depth, and found it extraordinarily helpful. The photographs in it were inspiring and helpful. The presentation is excellent, the attention to detail is wonderful.
    And we were blessed by serendipity: we were blessed to have several nights of beautiful auroral activity in Iceland, and (thanks to Patrick!) my photographs far surpassed my expectations.
    Let me add that standing beneath those dancing lights is just amazing, and if photography is in your mind, be sure to get Patrick’s book. It is awesome.

    • Thanks Larry, I’m so glad to hear that you were happy with your photography results!!

  • Terrance J.Cisco

    Is this book available in hard copy? I want to give it as a gift to my wife. She would probably want the Ipad version if I could buy a gift card or something….any ideas?

    • Terrence, the book is not currently available in a hard copy. Sorry about that.

  • David N

    Just thought I’d drop you a note to say how much I appreciated having studied this before going to Tromso in February this year. Really worthwhile and meant that I could make the most of what might be a once in a lifetime opportunity. Definitely on my list to recommend to anyone doing anything similar.

    Many thanks.

    • David,
      I’m glad you found the eBook a helpful resource. I dumped everything I know about the subject in that book.

  • patricia ledet

    I’m 58 and live in Newport News VA. I have only dreamed about seeing the Northern Lights. Do you think I could join you for your next trip to Alaska? It’s time for a new change for me anyway. Thank you.

    • Patricia, please sign up for the tour on my website-see photo tours. We book based on a wait list and signing up is the first step. Thanks for your interest.