World of GoPro

How to Capture Aurora Borealis + Greater Alaska on HERO11 Black

May 12, 2023


Last month, we joined forces with Travel Alaska to create the ultimate Alaskan bucket list adventure, bringing travel aficionados and creators from across North America to The Last Frontier. We experienced the people, heritage, wildlife, nature and, most importantly, Aurora Borealis—all through the lens of the HERO11 Black Creator Edition camera. 

Over the course of five days, we put our cameras and creators to the test, journeying above the lower 48, kicking it all off in Anchorage, Alaska’s largest populated city. From there, we went 600 miles north to Coldfoot Camp, seated at the top of the Arctic Circle and home to the United States’ furthest north truck stop. 

We’d be remiss not to share with you HOW we captured the MOST epic content on this trip. The following is a guide to capturing an Alaskan—or any cold weather—adventure on a GoPro.

Ever seen a glacier – that glowing ice blue color that sparkles when it’s absorbed by white light? Our crew bundled up to head east, just outside of Anchorage, to The Grand Knik Glacier, an ice field that averages 25 miles long, making it one of the largest glaciers in southcentral Alaska. With the help of the Anchorage Heli Tour Company, we flew directly over AND landed across multiple points of the glacier, allowing for land and air capture opportunities.

Hours of high altitude, hidden ice caves and many warm layers, guests made excellent use of HERO11 Black’s Enduro Battery, using Volta as an extra grip and battery source complete with remote Bluetooth capture. For capture, we either opted for Video Mode set to capture higher frames per second to allow the application of slow-mo later. We also used Photo Mode set to SuperPhoto, ensuring the camera would intelligently select the most high-res, color rich setting between HDR, local tone mapping, multi-frame noise reduction or no additional settings at all.

PRO TIP: Glaciers photograph better when they aren’t directly in sunlight, giving you a more accurate depiction of their blue color, even if it’s not easily seen by the naked eye.

Point-of-view (POV) capture was the star our first day up north in Fairbanks, the second largest city in the state. We headed to Chena Outdoor Collective to spend time with Pilot and Sailor, two very friendly reindeer who took us on a tour of their backyard and shared just how important reindeer are to the Alaskan native communities.

To capture POV shots, we paired the trusty GoPro Bite Mount with HERO11 Black. This allowed hands-free filming so we could focus on maximizing our reindeer interactions.

Before heading even further north, snow machines were on the docket – yes, they are the same as snow mobiles, but that isn’t a term commonly used by Alaskans, so take note when you visit!

HyperSmooth 5.0 was the star of this day, as we mounted cameras to the snow machines using Suction and Handlebar Mounts for the ultimate POV shots.

If you’ve ever wanted to visit the Arctic Circle, it’s a great place to end your trip, and you’ll start in Coldfoot. Just a quick hopper plane ride from Fairbanks, you’ll land at the furthest north truck stop in the U.S. and travel south toward the Yukon River. Here is where you’ll have the best shot at capturing the Aurora Borealis, otherwise known as the Northern Lights.

HERO11 Black wis perfect for capturing the electro-magnetic magic using the latest Night Effect Modes: Star Trails, Night Lapse and Light Painting. The Aurora is not always visible to the naked eye, so through a variation of white balance, shutter speed and color shifting, HERO11 + Night Effects provided the perfect, easy combo to capture the vivid and vibrant green moving lights that quite literally danced across the sky that night.

PRO TIP: We recommend trying Star Trails with a trail length set to MAX and Light Painting to get “set it and forget it” GoPro settings for capturing Aurora Borealis.

Want to learn more abought Night Effects? Check out this article all about HERO11 Black, HERO11 Black Mini and Night Effects.


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