I went to Iceland in December and was given a Nikon D5500 as an unexpected Xmas gift (I've always been interested in photography, but never learnt anything formally). I tried to Google how to set up my camera before going to see the lights but my images are still black (there was no clouds but the lights were not very good anyway). I was hoping that some kind of editing might help? I am going back next year hopefully more prepared!

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    \$\begingroup\$ It's unlikely anything will be recoverable. However, can you post one of the images? It's very hard to give an answer without an example of what you took. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 8, 2017 at 16:06
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    \$\begingroup\$ Did you shoot RAW? Is any of what you want to see visible at all? If the answer to both of those is no, then the answer is no. If the answer to one or both is yes, then there's a slim chance, but we'll need to see the actual images (or raw file if you have it) to be able to tell. \$\endgroup\$
    – AJ Henderson
    Jul 8, 2017 at 16:07
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    \$\begingroup\$ I believe I had 'RAW 14-bit', 'Long exposure NR on' 'ISO high' - I still jave these settings on now as I haven't used the camera since due to work etc. I will upload tonight, thank you (its just a black screen though). And the lens cap was definitely off haha \$\endgroup\$ Jul 8, 2017 at 16:26
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    \$\begingroup\$ I've been astounded on occasion by how much detail was in "black" parts of a picture that were brought out with a gamma correction - but that was shadow detail, not the brightest part of the image. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 8, 2017 at 20:13

1 Answer 1


As you have the RAW file, try this :

  • Get an application that can process RAW. If you don't have one (e.g. LightRoom) try the free RawTherapee which is a very comprehensive RAW developer.

  • In the application open your RAW file

  • There will be a way to adjust exposure, typically a slider with a scale going from (e.g.) -3EV to +3EV. Slide it all the to the right (positive side).

  • There are other adjustments you can try (tone curve, gamma) if that fails.

  • That will brighten the image and if there's anything there you should see it.


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