Good to know
For photographing in September in the Yellowknife area of Canada's Northwest Territories
The month of September is characterized by rapidly falling daily high temperatures, with daily highs decreasing from 14°C(57°F) to 6°C(43°) over the course of the month, exceeding 19°C (66°F) or dropping below 1°C(34°) only one day in ten. Daily low temperatures range from 1°C to 8°C(46°F), falling below -3°C(27°F) or exceeding 11°C(52°F) only one day in ten.
Over the course of September, the length of the day rapidly decreases. From the start to the end of the month, the length of the day decreases by 2:54 hours, implying an average day-over-day decrease of 5.8 minutes. While we are there we will have just over 12 hours of sunshine. The sun will rise around 7 a.m. and set around 8 p.m.
Throughout September, the most common forms of precipitation, when it does happen, are light rain, light snow, and moderate rain.
For clothing, the best bet is to dress in layers. Thermal underwear may be appropriate for our night time shooting. If you're a person who feels the cold easily, then I would suggest wearing thermal underwear. Otherwise, good rain pants can offer sufficient insulation for the lower body while layering shirts, jacket, and a wind/rain proof shell on the upper body will do. Under Armour sells a set of under garment that is optimal for medium activity, cold weather.
For your Jacket, bring a jacket that you can break down in layers. There are numerous winter coats that have removable liners that are also rain repellant.
You should also bring a light weight hiking boot that is rated for fall and warmer winter conditions. A thin pair of gloves is also suggested as we will be shooting at night when it is colder. Hand and toe warmers are also welcome additions. They don't take up much space but can make your nighttime photo sessions much more comfortable.
It is also important to bring a hat. A hat will keep you warm as you lose 90% of your body heat through the top of your head.
Aurora outings may begin as sunset shoots. Depending on what you've been doing during the day you may or may not go to dinner first. If not going to dinner first, be sure to bring bring boxed dinners, drinks, as well as snack.
Auroras can come in waves and are never the same night after night. They'll sometimes move slowly and linger. Other times lights will seem to explode overhead. Scout during the day for location. Good locations may be chosen based on criteria such as trees that might make good silhouettes and still water for reflections. It's often easy to keep your vehicle nearby so you can remain warm while waiting for the light show.
You'll never really know when you're done until you're done. Some nights the auroras might not start dancing until around 1 a.m.
Lens choice for photographing auroras is important. Click here for some suggestions. We'll be photographing other subjects besides auroras. Bring along your usual landscape and macro gear. We may also encounter wildlife, but don't count on it when choosing lenses. If you have a zoom that reaches to 300 or 400mm that should suffice.