Sunday, September 25, 2016

My new book Light-year - a year of light

Last week I sent my new book to print, a moment I've been looking forward to. The book is called "Light-year - a year of light" and will be released in late October 2016. You can now pre-order one or more signed copies by sending an email to Write your name, shipping address and number of copies in your email. Price is 295 SEK and 40 SEK in unit shipment. All the text in the book are in both Swedish and English.

From the content:
"Look at a light-year from the perspective of an astrophotographer. Take time during all four seasons of the year to discover what makes each one of them uniquely special. Come on a journey to the sun, the moon, the Milky Way, noctilucent clouds and the mightiest of Northern Lights. Why is autumn a favourite season, why is it a good thing when it’s minus 20 degrees outside, and why does spring bring a melancholy mood? In the book “Light-year – a year of light” photographer Göran Strand describes his passion for light, illustrated by a great selection of his well-loved photographs."

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Milky Way photography close to a city

I often get asked if you need a really dark location to be able to see and shoot the Milky Way. My answer to that question is usually no, it all depends on the amount of light pollution in your area.

A couple of weeks ago I went to a location just 8 km from down town Östersund (A city with a population of 60,000 in the municipality). I could see the Milky Way with my naked eye as a faint band of stars stretching across the sky above our heads. In this photo down town Östersund is to the left just behind me and my friend. The bright light source by the horizon to the right is the setting Moon.

As for shooting the Milky Way you can see by this photo that some light pollution is OK as long as the Milky Way doesn't stretch through it. When editing the photos I was surprised on how low above the horizon the Milky Way was visible, despite being that close to the Moon.

The image below is a panorama made of 12 photos each shot with the same exposure settings, 20 sec. ISO 1600 using a Nikon D810A and a Nikon AF-S 14-24 mm f/2.8 lens at 14 mm f/2.8.

The Milky Way over the city of Östersund

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Tuesday, September 6, 2016

The Milky Way

Now that the astronomical nights are back I finally get to see and photograph the Milky Way again. When the darkness returns during the autumn, it feels like coming home from a long vacation when I can see the stars again.

This photo of the Milky Way was taken a couple of nights ago and is a four shot panorama using my Nikon D810A camera with a Nikon AF-S 14-24 mm f/2.8 lens at 20mm. Exposure was 20 seconds at ISO 3200 for each shot.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Return of the Northern Lights

Yes! Tonight I got to see my first Northern Lights for this season. Finally the season begins after several months of waiting. In a couple of weeks we will have astronomical nights so then the display will be even better.

The landscape is lit up by a 96% waxing gibbous Moon.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Perseid, Aurora and NLC - Astronomy Picture Of the Day at NASA

Today I'm featured as Astronomy Picture Of the Day at NASA with my photo of a Perseid, Aurora and Noctilucent Clouds. It was taken during last year's Perseid meteor shower. That night was the first night of the season I saw the Northern Lights and it was also the last night I saw some Noctilucent clouds for that summer. This astrophotogrpaher hat trick will be hard for me to repeat but one can always hope for another chance for the upcoming Perseid shower that peaks tomorrow.

Perseid, Northern lights and Noctilucent clouds

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Monday, August 1, 2016

Noctilucent Clouds

Last night I got to see my first Noctilucent clouds up here in Jämtland for this season. These are clouds made of tiny ice crystals high up in the atmosphere that are lit up by the scattered sunlight late at night.

Monday, July 25, 2016

The Midnight Sun

If you go above the artic circle during summer you can witness the midnight Sun. It's really amazing to be out in the middle of the night and still see the Sun above the horizon. You completely loose track of time at night since it feels and looks like it's late afternoon when it's actually past midnight. This is a mosaic picture I've made of 12 photos taken on June 21 in 2016 during the summer solstice in Gällivare, Sweden. The photos were taken between 23:30 and 01:20 local Swedish time. As you can see the Sun never goes down below the horizon.

Midnight Sun during summer solstice.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Don't forget the Earth shadow

I never get tired of seeing our closest star set below the horizon. Seeing how the landscape changes as the warm light gets fainter by the minute. Every sunset has its personality depending och location, weather and season. Here in the higher latitudes we have our bright summer nights and during winter the Sun sets in the afternoon and darkness falls quite fast.

Midwinter sunset with a bright solar halo.

Another beautiful thing about a sunset is what happens right after the Sun has set. If turn around, you can slowly see the Earth shadow rising from the horizon. A low horizon is preferred to get a better view of the phenomena. 

As twilight deepens a dark blue band slowly rises upwards from the horizon. This band is the shadow of the Earth projected on the atmosphere. Above the blue shadow band you can also se a pink band called the anti-twilight arch or "Belt of Venus". The pink color comes from scattered and deeply reddened sunlight mixed with the deep blues colors of the sky.

Moonrise in Earth shadow and Belt of Venus.

The same thing happens before a sunrise. Look in the opposite direction of the rising Sun and you will see the Earth shadow sinking towards the horizon as the Sun rises.

Earth shadow is also visible before sunrise.

So next time you're watching a sunset, stay out a bit longer and don't forget to look behind you to see the Earth shadow rise.

Don't forget to look behind you after sunset.
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