Seeing the Northern Lights - Bucket List Checked!

*Disclaimer... so, I'm 'saying' this a little tongue in cheek, but a disclaimer, none the less!  I am not an astrologist, weatherman or professional photographer... just someone who's had seeing the Northern Lights on my bucket list for.ever, along with a little research on how to take photos of them on my iPhone.  Don't have an iPhone, no worries - do a quick Google search on how to take photos of the Northern Lights on (insert your phone) and you should find tons of resources!

✨ About last night. 40 minutes from our house. Let me say that again. 40 MINUTES FROM OUR HOUSE!

I’ve been sick all week. But last night at 10:15, in my pajamas mind you, when Nick said ‘get your shoes on, we’re going on an adventure’, I was hopeful 🤞

For my Utah friends, this is at Rockport State Park, which turns out is a certified International Dark Sky Park 🤦🏼‍♀️ Who knew?!!

I grew up near here, in Park City, went to the reservoir all of the time in the summer growing up & had no clue about the star gazing there on *normal* nights.

✨ But last night, last night was anything but normal.

Seeing the Northern Lights has been on my bucket list for years. It’s one of the few things on that list that I had zero control over. You can travel to the ends of the earth & have zero guarantee of seeing them.

So to see them so close to home?!!  Let’s just say I alternated between literally jumping up & down on the side of the road and watching unbelievably, with tears in my eyes.

Used my iPhone to take these pics, night mode with max shutter exposure. That’s it. No editing, straight from the camera.

Now, to how I did it in just a few simple steps.  It's so easy!!

First, it needs to be dark to see these options on your phone.  I'm doing this post the morning after, so I went into our closet and closed the door.  Open up the camera app on your iPhone.  Depending on the model you have, it may look different OR you may not see this option if you have a much older model...

Look for the yellow 'half moon' icon in the upper left corner; if it's white or crossed out, click on it.  To the right of that you'll see a ^, click on that and you'll see options along the bottom of the screen; click on the yellow half moon icon at the bottom of the screen.

You'll see the shutter time along the bottom, drag all the way to the left.  This will maximize the exposure/amount of time the shutter is open when taking the photo.

Then just click the button to take the photo!  It's important to hold the phone as still as possible.  I didn't use a tripod when taking the photos of the Northern Lights, so it's not necessary; but if you have one, you might try it with & without to see the difference!

Here are side by side photos in my closet with the door closed.  The one on the left is  just taken as a regular photo - yes, it's just black & you can't see anything because it's dark! - and the photo taken using the steps described above.

Just as in my closet, when I close the door, my eyes have a hard time seeing what's there.  But when I maximize the exposure on my camera and take a photo, the camera can see detail my eyes cannot in the dark.  When we were watching the Northern Lights - the photo on the left was taken at 11:00 .  It was very difficult to see what was happening with just our eyes, the camera could show us things our eyes were having trouble seeing.

The intensity of what we were seeing in the photo on the right; taken an hour later, was certainly magnified by the camera, but it was amazing what we could see with just our eyes - the bright pinks, the greens and the dancing lights!  An unbelievable experience I will never forget!