It doesn’t always have to be colour. Even for aurora photography, where we are used to see images with strong colours. I am no exception, as you can see in my gallery.
Due to big improvements in sensor technology in recent years images of northern lights increased a lot. Although a rather expensive full frame camera is still the best option for this kind of images, even smaller sensors can today deliver great image quality. So far I have used cameras with an APS-C sized sensor, but would I buy a new camera today specifically for night time photography, no doubt it would be full frame.
As more and more people are capable of taking images under these difficult situations, your images are also more difficult to get noticed by others. A while ago I thought it would be interesting to develop images of the aurora in black and white. This challenges you to think differently about composing these kind of shots, as you don’t have this “wow” effect through the bright colours. Before I could turn this project into reality, I read an article about a finnish photographer, Antti Viitala, who did just that.
Inspired by this I also had to try this. When I took the image above I didn’t plan on developing it in black and white. I went through my catalogue to find some suitable images to try this technique. I soon found out that a conversion to black and white works best with rather simple compositions. Some images which work in colour do just have too many distractions to make a good black and white image. I do think this is because lines, shapes and contrast are getting more noticed without colour.
Until next april there will be enough opportunities to experiment further with that. I will post the results here, so make sure to check my website again this winter!
Go to my gallery to see this image in higher resolution.