Fun-filled Summer

What a fantastic summer we’ve had. In twenty years, this summer has been the absolute best. I’d equate it to a summer in California (just not as hot). This coming on the heels of the best winter. I believe these anomalies in the weather are signs of a change coming. We had similar changes in the past which is why I believe this and if climate cycles repeat themselves, and the solar cycle appears to be leading these changes, we may be going into another Maunder Minimum. Because we are on geologic time, this won’t happen over night but rather cycle down and back up to today’s climate over a hundred year period. This of course would depend on the severity of the cycle and when the solar cycle resumes to a more active state.

I’ve been on a bit of a vacation from keeping up with the latest in understandings and discoveries in this field. I’m curious to learn more about what new points of views people like Judith Curry, Roy Spencer, John Christy and the likes have with recent events and if they see a change in science getting off the ideological tread machine where a scientific fact is stated and then followed up with a bunch of false conclusions supposedly based on those facts. Michael Mann is an expert at this deception. I find it very easy to detect when ideologies are taught as fact. If the party pushing the ideology refuses to debate their arguments face to face and in a civil manner with their challengers, or they belittle those who challenging them, or they censor those who challenge them, they are probably pushing something that can easily be undermined by science.

Again, I’ve stated before, I’m no scholar or official in the arena, I just have my own views based on my own experiences and finding those who are officials that I feel explain things in a logical, scientific way without adding to it ideological interpretations.

I have a boat load of pictures that I’ve taken and if you scroll down to the bottom, you’ll find a link to my instagram account where I post my pictures.

The last of the Northern Lights

This was a great winter. We had a lot of snow and we did a lot of things. We had some very cold days but overall, it was moderately cold. The only bad part was the lack of northern lights. As I’ve written before, we had a few events that were unavailable due to cloud cover but luckily, we got one last blast before the darkness ended. From now until the end of September, we won’t have “dark night”. It starts getting dark in August but we are unable to see the milky way until around October. It’s very gradual but the days just get longer and longer until you realize it’s midnight and the birds are still flying around.

I love winter but summer is the best season in my opinion. It comes with it’s negatives like mosquitos and other biting bugs but once you get used to getting bit, it becomes less of a nuisance but only “less of a nuisance”. The great part is fishing at 2 in the morning and it’s quiet and still but full daylight. It’s really weird to experience and even after 20 years when I think about the time, it’s still weird.

Another negative thing about the summers is the 4th of July. It used to be my favorite holiday because it’s summer, BBQ’d food, fireworks and the old feeling of patriotism and pride of my country and the people who fought and died to give us our freedom. Here though, it’s obviously not a holiday and lighting off fireworks during daylight just doesn’t have the same effect. But the BBQ is a steady tool throughout the whole of summer.

It’s during April and May that daylight takes over and everyone is psyching themselves up for the summer both biologically and planning. The only truth one can count on is that the weather cannot be expected. We could have a great, warm summer or it could rain the whole time. This is something Swedes take with a grain of salt, but they all hope for a warm, sunny one. I’ve become more Swedish in that sense. I no longer get too bothered if we get a cold, rainy summer but I always hope for a good one. My first few years, I NEEDED a vacation to somewhere HOT. But now, it’s not necessary.

Anyway, back to the subject of this story, the last northern lights. This was taken on the ninth of April. We had a coronal hole stream that was center disk on the sun and it was pretty powerful. Good thing too because the sun has been asleep nearly the whole winter. Here are some shots from that night.

 

The cabin is my brother in laws and I get it all warmed up with a fire and light some candles. It’s a great thing to have because sometimes it gets so cold it’s miserable. Having the cabin removes that. It’s also cool because theres no electricity or water so it kind of gives you that rugged, old time feeling. The sequence of pictures is from the beginning when we could see it until just before I left when the real action was long gone. A lot of purple which tends to be on the outskirts and above of the main aurora.

Spring Adventures

Busy, busy, busy. With all of the kid’s activities, work, family stuff and weather, I just never seem to get any time or inspiration to get on here for an update. Well, here it is.

This winter has produced more snow than I’ve ever been witness to in Sweden. Yes we have had winters that were worse than others as far as snow fall is concerned, but this year (for me) takes the cake. We have an average base of 1½ – 2 meters of snow. It began to fall in October which isn’t out of the ordinary but it just stacked and stacked over the following months making Christmas a real delight. New Year’s was also a lot of fun with the hill we have behind the house and tiki torches lighting up the run. Something I’m sure my kids will remember for the rest of their lives, as will I.

This of course meant, what seemed like, continuous snow removal with the snow thrower and the shovels. We had a good meter of snow built up on the roofs and the unfortunate few actually had cave-ins on barns and wood sheds. So far, I wasn’t affected by this catastrophe and I say “so far” because it’s snowing as I type this. However, I’m pretty sure I’m out of the woods as far as a cave-in is concerned but I may have to start up the snow thrower anyway for one last time.

In these pictures, my kids are busy digging themselves a snow fort/cave in about 6 feet deep snow on the side yard, This is an experience I never got to live but I always fantasized about it when I was little. I’m happy they got this experience.

 

 

As the days finally began to catch up with the night near the end of February, we became more active as does most everyone else. Night driving is always a risky business since there is a lot of wildlife that meanders onto the roads most especially when there is deep snow elsewhere. Who likes walking in deep snow? It’s a hassle. The animals most guilty of this are the herds of reindeer which come down from the mountains in order to feed during the winter. Unfortunately, every year many of these beautiful creatures lose their lives to traffic accidents as they lick the roads for salt. No one tries to hit them but accidents do happen and it’s a bummer. Regardless, it’s great seeing them and if you come to Sweden for a visit, and you see warning signs or plastic bags tied to sticks, slow down, be vigilant and get your camera ready. The signs and warnings are there for a reason and they’re a great notification that you may catch some good photos. Here are a few of my encounters. If you want to see more, check out my instagram collection. The link is at the bottom of the blog.

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We also spent a lot of time skiing this year. Even during the darkest times. The weekend these pictures were taken was one of the first weekends where the sun shone so strong that it put gallons of happiness and much needed vitamin D into the population. Here we are skiing at one of our favorite ski resorts called Vemdalen (directly translated and always fun to tell those who don’t speak Swedish as “Who Valley”. Like in Dr. Seuss.) This is a great resort for all and if you have small children, it’s ideal. They have an escalator band that small kids ski onto and it takes them up the bunny slope. Super easy and it’s encapsulated with fun, kid music playing on the trip up. The bunny slope is very mellow and perfect for youngsters to learn to turn, stop and just get the feel. From there you can ski over to the anchor lifts where you grab onto a pole attached to a pull cable and tuck it between your legs. It’s a simple design but it moves people up the hill at a continuous rate. Very effective at eliminating lines. There are also chair lifts which take you to the tops of the peaks and as most know, these are speedy and great for a rest between rides.

There are many peaks and a huge variety of slopes to ride each one offering a restaurant and different vistas to experience. This mountain range serves people of every experience level, has some boon-docking through forested hills and some fun slopes for kids to practice jumps, rail slides and slalom. The prices are pretty reasonable as well considering the creature comforts it affords. Much cheaper than Disneyland, I can assure you.

One of the biggest reasons I like Vemdalen is the ease of parking. I have found this to be the biggest frustration about skiing in Sweden. Vemdalen offers a huge parking lot and even if you have to walk a little extra, parking has never been an issue. There’s also a nice hotel to stay at which is also somewhat reasonably priced even during high season. Summer prices are much better though and even though you can’t ski, there are a ton of trails everywhere.

Here are some photos of the day we spent there. It was a fantastic day and we were so worn out by the time we skied back to the car. Slept like a king that night, though.

 

 

When I mentioned the amount of snow we received, I forgot to mention the cold that came with it. The coldest we had recorded was -38°C. It was so cold that my car and it’s crummy electronics couldn’t handle it, so I got an engine fault alarm and then it went into some emergency mode and prohibited me from driving faster than 35mph. I noticed some people tape cardboard to the grill of their car to inhibit cooling the radiator. I will be trying that next winter or I’ll just buy an old, analog car so I won’t have to deal with electronic monitoring. If you have an old Volvo station wagon in decent condition and you just wanna get rid of it, let me know. I like the late 70’s models up to early 80’s. ;-D

Here are some photos of the coldest days we received (while the sun was shining). No need to depress any of you with the cold, darkness.

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We also did some local skiing in our home town. The slope isn’t as advanced and it’s run by parents and locals from the town. It’s a great place to ride. Close and cheap and offers a rail, forest runs and some speed runs. The only downside is the rides are short but there’s never a line to get back to the top so it’s a great slope in my opinion.

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Easter weekend was iconic, Easter weather for Sweden. Warm(er) temps, sunny skies and no wind. This is the kind of weather that offers a plethora of opportunity to have fun or be outside working on projects or just doing absolutely nothing other than sun bathing – with a parka and long underwear, of course. This isn’t Hawaii after all. The only complaint I had about the weather was I got a little sun burned but that’s unlikely to draw out any sympathy from anyone so I’ll just not complain at all.

A friend of mine and I took the opportunity to ride our snowmobiles for a photo-safari. He’s a fantastic photographer and he can be found on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/c68s . I recommend you take a look. Anyway, we spent the days riding all over the place. Riding under power lines, on frozen rivers, frozen lakes and awesome forest trails. The amount of deep snow we received really paid dividends on fun this season. Here is a shot taken during our escapades. Again, refer to my instagram collection to see more.

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And what would winter be in Sweden without some Northern Lights? Another iconic symbol of the arctic and Sweden. The bad part is the sun has been super inactive but the relatively few decent solar storms we received, we either had clouds or I was just too tired to stay awake or it was way too cold for me to stand out there and pray I didn’t die from exposure or destroy my camera. I did catch a few medium to low events but missed the more severe ones. Hopefully this weekend we will have one, last blast before the 24hrs of daylight sets in and we lose night for a few months.

I get very little traffic on my blog so if you like it, be sure to mention it to a friend and pass it around. The more traffic I get, the more guilty I feel for not updating and it will force me to make this a habit.

Until next time, take care!

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A cabin on a frozen lake

Throughout my life here, I have driven past this little cabin umpteen times. Every time I drive by I always imagine the things I might do if it were mine. It sits on the good side of the lake, which means, it faces south. The benefit of a south facing house is the sunshine.

When you live above the 48th parallel, winters are darker, longer and summers have much longer days. Where I live, most of the summer never gets dark or even dusk from about May-September. The opposite occurs during winter so having a south facing house allows for the few sunny days we get, to shine every little drop it gives. This cabin is perfect!

This photo was taken in January of 2018. I went on a photo excursion with my friend and we stopped and I had a chance of locking this cabin into my collection.

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Snow, snow and more snow!

2018 has been a great year so far! Talk about a winter wonderland. This year, we’ve received more snow than I can recall in 20 years. Not only have we got the snow, we have had plenty of days of subzero weather. The coldest so far was about -30˚C which isn’t for the weak of heart but it’s a lot warmer than those living in other arctic areas. I read that Russians in Siberia had severe cold with temperatures reaching near -70˚C! If you ask me, anything colder than -30˚ is unrecognizable because it’s so cold, the body can’t tell the difference. However, I’ll take -30 over -70 any day. Luckily, we don’t have any seriously cold days like this thanks to the jet stream.

I like to watch the weather, and see where the jet stream and the pressure systems are every day and watch them slowly move across the earth. It helps me plan or anticipate when some real cold is coming or to see when we will get an up-flow of warmer weather from the south. It all depends on these two features. What steers those is up for debate as science is ever evolving and very complicated as physics and celestial processes are involved and working with and/or against one another. That is also another interesting discussion which I tend to have with myself as no one I know is really interested. ;-D

I’ve taken a lot of pictures since my last post and I’ve not kept up with my promise to myself that I would blog more. As of TODAY, I’m back on track but we will see how that goes as life has its way of steering my time and will.

The picture here is a demonstration of the kind of weather we have received. Plenty of snow as I have stated and so far we have a good meter base. In the fjällen there is over 2 meters in some places. It’s a lot of work to move the snow and one really must stay on top of it or else its even harder to get rid of. I’m fortunate enough to have a snowblower but even that is becoming a problem because the snow is so high that there will soon be issues with getting it over the edge. That means, I may have to shovel away some snow further back which I’m hoping to avoid. It might be soon time to get a tractor.

I hope you’ll enjoy the following posts coming up. They are records of the past few weeks. I hope your all well. _MG_0079

The Steam Train

Earlier this month I went to a local Christmas market in Sweden with my daughters. The market is special in that it’s a market held by a cultural museum. Here, they have been able to capture certain time periods by hiring people to act the part and speak the dialects from the past and wear the old traditional garb from the specific activity they’re participating in. From metal smiths to other traditional handcrafts as well as older means of winter transportation such as sleds, and in this photo, a steam engined train.

When we arrived, my daughters noticed a sound that provoked us to investigate. It was the toot and hissing from the train. We are Harry Potter fans so when we saw the train, the first thing we all said was, “It’s the Hogwartz Express!!”. The engineer was dress in the old 19th century uniform and in the picture, you can just barely see his face almost giving him a ghostly appearance. In the distance, the conductor stands awaiting the engineers check to yell “ALL ABOARD!” and signal that it’s time to roll! It was something that brought back early childhood memories of black & white movies of the old railroad in America.

This experience was a lot of fun for all of us. I had so many people who enjoyed this picture so I had to post it for the rest of the world. Of course, the original without the advertisement is much better and I’ve been contemplating on making my pictures purchasable but have yet to commit because I haven’t had any offers. So if there is any interest, feel free to let me know. I’m on the fence for now.

I hope you all had a great Christmas and I hope you’ll all have an amazingly positive 2018. Take care!_MG_8540

Christmas Eve aurora 2017

Last night after spending time with the family and eating and gift exchanging, I went out on the ice in anticipation for the coronal hole stream that was impacting the planet. I was joined by a family member on his snowmobile so I use the opportunity to have a subject included in my picture since the aurora wasn’t what I would describe as spectacular (albeit, I have a higher scale than those who have never seen the aurora before.)

The night did offer what I would consider perfection for capturing Christmas Eve. For one, we have plenty of snow which in and of itself pushes the Christmas spirit. Also the aurora most identified to winter although its present during the summer but not seen because we who live above the 48˚ latitude line don’t get much, if any, darkness during summer. The snowmobile is the modern day sled or sleigh which signifies Santa Claus (just play along). Also a falling star was a surprise that was caught in the shot and in Sweden, Disney cartoons are a staple of Christmas TV programming which has long been a family tradition. The end of the cartoon series is the song Jiminy Cricket sings, “When you wish upon a star”. This conjures up Christmas feelings among most Swedes although I’ve never really posed the question, I would find it odd if there was no Christmas connection when they hear it. Of course last and my least favorite in most pictures are the town lights. I like pitch black when I’m out shooting the aurora but with Christmas, one must have Christmas lights and in this particular scene, the town lights add to the Christmas spirit.

I hope all who have read this, and most of that have not, have had a great Christmas and I hope you got to spend it with meaningful people in your life. Christmas for me is a reminder and a societal and religious push to make time for family and the people you care about. Remove the corporate side of it and focus on the actual meaning of Christmas. This is a time of generosity, love and togetherness. I wish you all a Merry Christmas!blog fred_MG_9138

Aurora in the woods

This photo was taken on November 10th. One of many pictures from a nice evening with my daughter watching how the sun affects the earth in an electrical sense. Tuesday night we should be getting some pretty good northern lights and I’m sure I will have a lot to share both on here and instagram. Luckily the ice is pretty good on the lakes now so I won’t be locked on shore and can get some better aspects. Stay tuned. _MG_7943

November 7-10 Aurora, 2017

Last week was an eventful week for aurora.

Below are a couple pictures from my shoot over a four day period. This aurora was caused by a coronal hole on the sun. I was very lucky to have clear skies because last winter was a near total loss due to cloud cover. Hopefully this luck will continue.

As I write this, another coronal hole stream has arrived and I’m getting ants in my pants to finish this post. So I will cut it short since I really don’t have much to add other than, we had a full moon the first night which pretty much dulled out the light from the aurora but I got a few good shots anyway (not included). Aside from the first night, the other four nights were pretty good except on the 8th because clouds moved in and cleared out on on the ninth. The first picture directly below is from the night of the 9th and the picture below that, with the boat, is from the 10th.

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These are the charts I used in anticipation before the sun’s activities affect earth. Mostly I watch the magnetosphere which gives a decent multi-hour warning before we see the effects. Also monitoring the solar wind which is dependent on the type of event the sun sends our way. Coronal holes are fast and tend to change the angle of the magnetosphere. A very powerful shift tends to produce powerful aurora. The less the angle change, the weaker the aurora.

The next chart I will look at will be the KP Index. This is just a good chart for seeing what NOAA is recording for geomagnetic power, although this doesn’t tell me the truth locally. So I use the Swedish Institute of Space Physics’ charts which tell me precisely what’s going on above me. They provide a great service. Then to record the strength and what the aurora may best be translated, I will use the Auroral Oval charts. I have friends in the southern hemisphere so I try to include that with my photos.

The sun is a very interesting subject for me and I have my own theories on how it works and how its powered. It’s not necessarily what NASA and textbooks may say, but a theory is a theory until proven to be as close to the truth as we can ever know with the information we’ve attained. At the moment, the sun is built upon theories that to me, are outdated and I find more understanding with an electric theory which for me isn’t a huge stretch since science shows the sun emits electrons, along with ionized gases in which case, plasma physics explain a whole lot and this tends to be pushed aside to keep room for old, nuclear and gravitational theory. These are good theories but they tend to not explain a lot with the characteristics of the sun and earth’s connection to it. There’s probably answers in the mix of theories but paradigms aren’t easily given room to expand unless they hold tight to the current paradigm.

Lucky for me, I’m not a physicist nor an astronomer so I have the freedom to find the answers that I find help me answer those tough questions and most of all, to question the science itself and allow other theories to ferment in my head and dismiss or include them for myself. I am of the belief that the earth is round and gravity holds us to it. I just don’t believe gravity is the greatest force in the universe that holds everything together and creates new entities. I am a skeptic about blackhole theory and all the fantasy that has been drawn up to expand the definition which completely defies their original definition. Laws are laws and breaking laws to create new entities before observing these entities and then pointing at what we consider an anomaly as proof of observing the theoretical entity is for me, a big stretch. It’s too bad science isn’t conclusive to challenges within it’s walls because there are many prominent and very intelligent people who have proven the current paradigm (Big Bang) wrong. Halton Arp is one of these great people and I hope anyone who reads this will research him for themselves and see what he was researching and finding. A true inspiration for using observation to push a theory instead of the other way around.

Now I gotta get out and take some more photos. Thanks for reading.

 

 

Aurora October 19-22

Finally some clear skies!! Last weekend we finally had some clear skies in conjunction with a geomagnetic storm. Not an enormously strong geomagnetic storm but significant enough for me to finally try out my new camera. This event was caused by a coronal hole which pushed a solar wind exceeding 600km/second. The aurora lasted a couple days and was followed up this past week with an increased geomagnetic storm but alas, I had cloudy skies.

The weekend of this event was a good one. My friend and I were out shooting this and the day afterward we went out on a photography excursion just driving around the nearby villages and driving down unfamiliar dirt roads. It’s something  a father with two young kids seldom seems to have time for but is gold when it happens.

One of the pictures is of the Andromeda Galaxy. I’m only an amateur photographer and I make no money from my photos (yet ;-D) so my equipment quiver is meager at best. My friend lets me borrow his 40mm macro lens which I used to shoot Andromeda. I really love my camera which is a Canon 6D. It’s a HUGE step up for me from what I had been using previously. So I want to give a shout out to Canon for providing such great equipment that allows me to experiment and explore the infinite realm of expression through photography and capturing those things people (myself included) tend to not acknowledge or have never seen or experienced for themselves.

 

 

Below are screenshots of the charts which show when and how powerful the aurora was. Not all of the charts I use compliment each other by the degree of power. I think this has a lot to do with the global position these measurements are detected. Kiruna is the information I lean on the most since those measurements are made not far from where I live. NASA and NOAA are a great source for predictive auroral events but they are less sensitive, I find, to geomagnetic activity.