How to Photograph the Northern Lights – Camera Settings

When we went to Kiruna, Sweden, deep in the Arctic Circle, to chase the northern lights, I knew I wanted to capture some (hopefully) stellar aurora photos.

I have had some experience in astrophotography when shooting photos of the stars deep in the desert, but combining that with often moving and fleeting aurora at much closer distances (than a nearby galaxy, at least) was a new challenge entirely.

After taking an aurora photography tour and practicing myself, I have some tips plus a few products you may want to buy that will help your aurora photography improve significantly!

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10 Ways to Increase Your Odds of Seeing the Northern Lights

When it comes to seeing the northern lights, you simply cannot go outside, look up, and expect a show (well, most of the time at least).

In fact, there are so many factors that go into seeing the aurora borealis, be it sun activity to local cloud cover, that makes giving guarantees of seeing the lights absolutely impossible. So if you are looking to travel on an aurora borealis vacation, you need to go into things knowing that, sadly, nothing is guaranteed.

That being said, there are many things you can do when planning for a northern lights trip that can help increase your odds of success. So in this one we thought we'd share our top tips and arrange them all from the broadest to the most focused things to keep in mind!

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Westvleteren 12 vs Rochefort 10 vs St. Bernardus 12 – Blind Tasting

After going on a pilgrimage to buy Westvleteren beer in Belgium, we knew one of the first things we had to do when we got home was to try it next to other popular Belgian quadrupels (quads) to see how it stacks up.

While we enjoyed many famous quads when in the country, we never were able to sample some of the most famous in a proper side-by-side. So we gathered a couple friends, found a few more famous Belgian quads, and devised a blind taste test to see which one liked the most.

Our lineup put Westvelteren 12 vs Rochefort 10 vs St. Bernardus 12, three of the most famous quads in all of Belgium, against each other. For a bit of a twist, we also threw in a quad from a local producer in Pittsburgh, Strange Roots, for good measure.

So, how did the blind taste test turn out? We have some thoughts!

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How Much Time Do You Need at the Van Gogh & Rijksmuseum

When we visited Amsterdam, we knew we had to allocate a lot of time to check out two of the city's most famous museums- the Van Gogh Museum and the Rijksmuseum.

These two museums are not only some of the most popular in the city, but also two of the largest. As such, we needed to think about how much time we wanted to spend at each of the museums, whether we wanted to visit on the same day or not (the museums are quite literally right next to each other outside of the city center), and, as we planned our trip somewhat last minute, if the timed ticketing system had availability at our ideal times outright!

This ended up being more complicated than it should have been as we simply did not know the best course of action. Ultimately, we booked both museums for the very first timeslot on two separate days and quite enjoyed our visit. But in this one, we wanted to look broadly at how much time you need at each museum and whether it is doable in a single day.

The short answer is yes, you could hit both on the same day if you were strategic about it. But should you? That is where things get tricky. 

So first let's talk about how much time you need at each museum and then touch base on whether you should visit them on the same day.

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