December 4, 2021: Northern Lights Photography Workshop Recap

Our second photography workshop in our series focusing on photographing the northern lights was a success. We had 4 people participate in the session (limit is 5 persons), along with myself and the instructor, Nathan Bett. Unfortunately, the weather didn’t cooperate with us for being able to get some practical experience following the instructional portion of the evening – the skies were cloudy and were intermittently dropping a bit of snow. Nonetheless, Nathan’s instruction and discussion was informative, interesting, and fun. Afterwards, even without having the chance to see or photograph the night sky, every participant expressed great satisfaction to me about what they learned.

For the first portion of the class, Nathan Bett shared his extensive knowledge of auroras, night-time photography techniques, camera technology, and helpful additional resources in a classroom presentation. Nathan then spent time helping each participant to become more familiar with their own personal equipment (which ranged from pro-sumer DSLR cameras to smartphone cameras). Typically, the remainder of the class is used for some hands-on learning, either by viewing the dark sky from one of the golf course fairways at the lodge or venturing out to an agreed upon nearby destination which can also provide expansive views of the sky.

All-in-all, this workshop lasted around two hours, during which time several of Nathan’s tips for taking night sky photos were discussed and he was able to spend some time with each participant – getting to know them each a little better and teaching them about their specific cameras and their settings.

Auroras occur throughout the year. However, darkness is needed to be able to see them. The long periods of daylight during the northern hemisphere’s summer months tend to render most of them, during that time period, invisible to our eyes; so, we most often focus on seeing northern lights during the remainder of the year. The months of January, February, and March, because of their long nights, tend to be the most popular times to go Aurora hunting. Additionally, The dates surrounding a new moon tend to have darker nights, which could increase the likelihood of photographing the northern lights (if the weather cooperates). I can’t think of a better way to spend a weekend – long, dark nights to learn about and possibly see/photograph the northern lights and then (here at the Keweenaw Mountain Lodge) plenty of snow to play in during the day.

The Keweenaw Mountain Lodge has scheduled multiple Northern Lights Photography Workshops for this winter season – each one scheduled for a weekend around the time of a new moon. Our next Northern Lights Photo Workshop will be held Saturday, January 29th, 2022 at 7:30pm.

Please see our Calendar of Events for the complete listing of upcoming workshops, then contact the Keweenaw Mountain Lodge – Outdoor Activity Center or Events Department for more details and to reserve your space.



About the Instructor: Nate Bett

Nathan Bett is a photographer and educator in Hancock Michigan. Although originally from Marquette, Michigan, Nathan recently relocated to Hancock from New York City, where he taught at the City University Of New York, and represented a major camera manufacturer as a technical specialist in photography. He now spends his time indulging in the over abundance of natural beauty in his native UP and spending excesses of time outdoors with his family. Nathan maintains a passion for photography and the outdoors that he delights in sharing with students. His work can be viewed at and @natebett and @artmonstermedia on Instagram.


Last modified on December 12th, 2021 at 7:05 pm