Any list that highlights the best places in the world to see northern lights – or the aurora borealis – will, without a doubt, include Churchill, Manitoba. Churchill’s northern location, the absence of light pollution, and many clear nights, create excellent opportunities to view this reaction between solar wind and the upper atmosphere. The various colours of northern lights are caused by different gas particles – green and red are caused by oxygen, while blue and purple are caused by nitrogen.

Here are a few tips to help you capture this amazing phenomenon on camera:

  • For best results, choose a digital SLR with low noise and ISO between 400 and 1600.
  • Place your camera on a sturdy tripod and use a remote shutter release.
  • Choose a wide angle lens with an aperture or f2.8 or lower and remove any lens filters.
  • Use manual focus set to infinity.
  • Shoot with a exposure time of 10 to 40 seconds.
  • The cold can zap camera batteries, so keep extras warm by placing them in an inside pocket of your jacket.
  • Dress warmly!

Find out more about where and how to view northern lights in Churchill at