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.


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.


No one to swing with…

In this picture I caught a moment of sadness when I said, “Just think, soon it will be winter and everything will be covered in snow and ice.  Normally, without the reminder of the coldness coming, she’s a happy kid but in this moment she definitely felt a little anxiety. Winter is not so bad, but having summer go away always draws near a kind of melancholy. It’s not until winter drops a good snow that those feelings turn and then thoughts of skiing, ice fishing and just playing in the snow come to mind and all is right with the world again.


Autumn in the country

It’s been a pretty busy end of summer into the end of fall. School started up, and the routine of working and the everyday grind has left me to neglect posting on here even against my plan to post more on here.

The photo below was taken as the sun pierced through the clouds and shown on the house across the river. This fall has been, for the most part, pretty cloudy so my inspiration for landscapes has been null because I prefer to have more light in my shots. So instead of landscaping, I’ve taken up learning how to take portraits indoors. That’s a whole ‘nuther beast to fight with but I’ve found a lot of enjoyment doing it. There are so many “moods” that can be attained with the subject you’re shooting and the lighting used. Finding the right combinations to get that “just right” combination is a challenge but challenges are fun when there is time to experiment and low expectations and patience from the person you’re shooting. Both of which I’ve been lucky enough to have.

As for northern lights, we’ve had a few nights but cloudy skies have prevented me from capturing any. Seems like forever since I’ve taken any and it’s pretty frustrating to say the least especially when all my photography friends actually leave their houses and get out for adventures to locations with clear skies. Something I will be doing in a few years but for now, I’ll enjoy being with my family while we are all still under one roof.




Poppy bloom

Now as the month of July comes to an end, the poppies in the garden are beginning to bloom. It’s always a surprise to which color will appear but at present, we have this one, big, pink flower the size of my fist. Very cool flowers and always nice seeing them. _MG_0030.jpg

Solar Eruption

On July 23rd, 2017 the sun released a huge Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) from the same sunspot group that sent a mid-sized CME toward the earth about a week ago and put the earth into a KP-6 level geomagnetic storm. It also happened on the earth’s magnetic connection to the sun which put the earth into a pretty high proton surge which lasted a couple of days.

The CME that occurred yesterday could have had a detrimental effect to earth  had it been shot at us. Detrimental by means of electrical issues and possible satellite problems or destruction. Fortunately this CME is headed toward Mars and although we won’t be affected by this, our satellites and probes on and around Mars, could be and are probably being positioned to minimize any potential threats such as orbital positioning. CME’s tend to heat up satellites which could leave the out of commission until they cool off or worse, completely destroy their circuitry. As for Curiosity, it could experience short circuits as well since Mars has such a weak and patchy magnetosphere and atmosphere. I’m sure all will be ok since it appears Mars will not be getting a direct hit and there have been worse CME’s in the past but equipment ages and this could cause issues.

It will be interesting to see what comes out of this and if the MAVEN (Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN) satellite will detect anything cool.

Here’s what the CME looked like from the view of earth. The ejecta is blasting away from the earth but is so large it engulfs the sun in size. This stuff gets me so excited!