This week from Casey — tips on shooting an aurora and how our working from home differs to yours

How to shoot an Aurora

So you want to shoot an Aurora?

Your first step is to be somewhere there is going to be an Aurora… see Icy News last week for advice on that from our colleagues at BOM! (Hint: it's pretty helpful if you're in Antarctica!)

Now, there are a few things that you need to make shooting an Aurora a whole lot easier:

  • A wide-angle lens with a wide-ish aperture.

  • A remote for your camera, because pressing the button shakes the camera, or just set a timer.

  • A camera which allows you to set your ISO, shutter speed and aperture within a single shot.

  • A steady tripod.

  • Knowing roughly what your maximum exposure time and ISO should be for your aperture and lens length so the stars don’t streak and you get a reasonable exposure (look up Milky Way Calculator).

  • It also helps if your camera has, and you know how to use, High-Dynamic Range (HDR) imaging.

So, in the nice confines of somewhere bright and warm, set your lens to focus on infinity (that’s about where the stars are) with your aperture wide open. Set your camera’s ISO and shutter speed to the numbers you got earlier from the Milky Way calculator. Then wander out into the cold, dark night to set your tripod down somewhere that would have a nice view, if you could see it.

If you're like me, it'll take you about 10 shots to realise you left your lens on auto-focus so all your photos up to that point are blurry messes as it tries to focus in the dark.

After setting it to manual focus and refocusing to infinity, you shoot 50 more photos in the freezing cold until you get one good one by cheating and using HDR.

Ta-da! You're a maestro!

Natasha Behrendorff, Casey Doctor

Working from home

With the current COVID-19 pandemic we keep hearing about, we at Casey station are doing our part. We resorted to working from home and self-distancing back in October 2019. Was not the original intention to be honest.

The bold plan to move 3400km from the mainland has seemed to do the trick, and with no reported cases and no more visitors for 7 months (maybe).  For us, working from home has its perks. Short commute, scenery that is forever changing, and tonnes of toilet paper! No shortage of supplies or water.  For us, working from home has its perks. Short commute, scenery that is forever changing, and tonnes of toilet paper! No shortage of supplies or water.

This is my second winter south, and it was always the mainland wondering about what was going on down here, but now it has changed, you all live in a fish bowl!

The landscape looks different at home now as we all wonder how long we will stay isolated, and how we may be the only ones that never get to experience the whole pandemic effects on society first hand.

Well, it’s 5 o’clock somewhere in the world, so I will wash my hands and keep one bar stool distance away whilst I think about our families and friends, that are in isolation now as well.     

Glen Pretious

Building Services Supervisor