Thursday, August 31, 2017

The emotions and drama of a total solar eclipse

This video shows the minutes around the total solar eclipse on the 21th of August 2017. It was shot in Brasstown Valley Resort in Georgia, USA.

It was quite a drama with the clouds moving in but we got to see most of the totality and just a few minutes after the totality ended, the clouds moved in and covered the Sun.

Big thanks to Bonnier Expeditions for a superb expedition and it was great working with you guys!



Follow my work in social media
http://www.facebook.com/FotografGoranStrand
http://www.instagram.com/Astrofotografen
http://twitter.com/Astrofotografen

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Getting ready for the total solar eclipse

Tomorrow I'm leaving for USA and the total solar eclipse on Monday. This will be my second total solar eclipse and the last few days I've been planing my trip and what gear to bring with me. The plan now is to have four cameras running throughout the eclipse, most of them will do the work by themselves. This is what my plan looks like at the moment:

Camera 1: Nikon D800E taking a wide field time lapse of the entire eclipse including both partial phases.

Camera 2: Nikon D500 filming in 4K with a fisheye lens from minutes before the eclipse to minutes after.

Camera 3: Nikon D810A, this camera is the one I will control manually taking closeups of the totality.

Camera 4: GoPro camera used as a behind the scenes camera filming the opposite direction of the eclipse showing us watching the eclipse.

With this plan I should be able to take a moment to just watch the totality. This is by far the most beautiful sky phenomena there is so you should not forget to just enjoy the view, it truly is a memory for life.

Total solar eclipse from Faroe Islands in 2015


Follow my trip in social media

http://www.facebook.com/FotografGoranStrand
http://www.instagram.com/Astrofotografen
http://twitter.com/Astrofotografen

Friday, July 7, 2017

Autumn dreams

My favorite season of the year is autumn with all the beautiful colors. We're just a couple a month's away here in the northern hemisphere but for those of you who can't wait, here's a photo I took a couple of days ago where I transformed summer into autumn.

Nikon D800E with a Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8
NiSi polarizer + NiSi ND64 (6 Stop)


























Follow my work in social media
http://www.facebook.com/FotografGoranStrand
http://www.instagram.com/Astrofotografen
http://twitter.com/Astrofotografen

Friday, June 30, 2017

Happy Asteroid Day

Today is the international asteroid day. To celebrate that I'm posting a photo I took on the 15th of February 2013. It shows asteroid 2012DA14 as it passed just 27.700 km from Earth's surface. 2012DA14 is a small near-Earth object – approximately 45 meters in diameter and has an estimated mass of about 130,000 metric tons. This distance is well outside Earth's atmosphere, but it is inside the belt of satellites in geostationary orbit. The flyby of asteroid 2012DA14 is the closest ever predicted Earth approach for an object this large.

In this 5 minute exposure you can see the asteroid as the bright streak going diagonal to all the star trails.

Nikon D3S with a Nikon 300m f/2.8 lens
5 minute exposure @ f/4 and ISO 1600

















Path of 2012DA14. Time in UTC.


Follow my work in social media
http://www.facebook.com/FotografGoranStrand
http://www.instagram.com/Astrofotografen
http://twitter.com/Astrofotografen

Monday, June 26, 2017

Reflected rainbow at sunset

Rainbows are always opposite the Sun and their centres are below the horizon at the the so called antisolar point. Early morning and late afternoon it the best time to see a rainbow because the sun must not be too high. The lower the sun the higher is the rainbow.

In this photo I took in Vansbro, Sweden, taken just before sunset, the rainbow is as high as it gets and with the reflection in the water, acting as the lower half of a circle, it's easy to see that the rainbow was at its highest position. Had the Sun been any higher in the sky, this circle had been more ellipse shaped.

Rainbows are rarer than might be thought, halos are much more common.

Panorama made with a Nikon D800E with a Nikon AF-S 14-24mm f/2.8 lens


























Follow my work in social media
http://www.facebook.com/FotografGoranStrand
http://www.instagram.com/Astrofotografen
http://twitter.com/Astrofotografen

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Summer solstice

Today is the summer solstice, the longest day of the year here in the northern hemisphere. Also today marks the beginning of the astronomical summer and the Sun is at its highest position in the sky throughout the year.

In this photo I show the difference between the solar height at noon during winter and summer solstice. In winter it barley gets over the treetops at 3.5° above the horizon and 6 months later, the Sun reaches an height of 50° above the horizon.

Solar height difference between winter and summer solstice





















Follow my work in social media
http://www.facebook.com/FotografGoranStrand
http://www.instagram.com/Astrofotografen
http://twitter.com/Astrofotografen

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Nikon Fisheye 8-15mm F3.5-4.5E ED Review

A couple of weeks ago I received my review sample of the new Nikon Fisheye 8-15mm F3.5-4.5E ED. Since I'm a huge fan and user of fisheye lenses, this type lens has been high on my wish list ever since Canon released their Canon EF 8-15mm f/4L lens back in 2010. A friend of mine has been using the Canon lens for years and he is very happy with it.

When taking pictures of the night sky, my two most used lenses is the Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8 and the Sigma 8mm f/3.5 fisheye lens. Since the sky is so big you need a wide lens to cover as much as possible.

In this review, I will compare my Nikon review sample with my Sigma 8mm F3.5 EX DG Circular Fisheye lens and my Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8. I will also test the Nikon 8-15mm on both FX and DX cameras.

Here are the primary features of the new Nikon lens listed by Nikon:
  • Enables shooting at an angle of view of 180° vertical and horizontal (circular fisheye) when zoomed all the way out, and 180° diagonal (full-frame fisheye) when zoomed close to all the way in with shooting in FX format
  • A full-frame fisheye effect with a diagonal angle of view of up to 180° can be achieved in the range that begins at the DX mark* on the lens and ends at the maximum telephoto position with shooting in DX format
  • Realizes very sharp and clear rendering from maximum aperture throughout the zoom range
  • A minimum focus distance of 0.16 m (0.5 ft.) and a maximum reproduction ratio of 0.34x enable sharp and clear rendering, even with shooting at close distances
  • Adoption of three ED glass elements provides effective compensation for lateral chromatic aberration, minimizing color bleed at the edges of the frame
  • Nano Crystal Coat adopted to effectively reduce ghost and flare for sharp, clear images
  • Adopted a dust- and drip-resistant structure with all moving parts of the lens barrel
  • Highly durable fluorine coat that effectively repels dust, water, grease, and dirt applied to the outer surfaces of the two lens elements at either end (front and rear) of the lens
*The mark on the focal length scale that enables diagonal fisheye shooting in DX format is approximate.




Before I begin my review it’s important to note that the lens I’m reviewing is a sample and not a final product, so things can change.



Thursday, June 1, 2017

Astronomy Picture Of the Day at NASA

Today I'm featured as Astronomy Picture of the Day (APOD) at NASA with my 360° panorama showing both sunset and Earth shadow in a remote mountain area of Jämtland, Sweden.

This panorama is made from 120 still photos taken at a height of 200 meters above the ground. The panorama is a 3 x 8 mosaic where each photo consists of 5 exposure bracketed shots to cover the big dynamic range of both the sunset and Earth shadow.

To the right you can see that the Sun has just set and a small sun pillar is visible just above the horizon giving away the Sun's position. To the left above the horizon is the dark blue Earth shadow with its belt of Venus above. In the middle of the sky the the First Quarter Moon is visible above the mountains, separating these two beautiful sky phenomenon.

The big peak to the right is Storsnasen, some 1400 meters above sea level.

Earth shadow and sunset panorama.















Follow my work in social media
http://www.facebook.com/FotografGoranStrand
http://www.instagram.com/Astrofotografen
http://twitter.com/Astrofotografen

Friday, May 26, 2017

The force of nature

Spring is here and in the lower mountain area that means lots of water due to melting snow. This is Handölsforsen in Jämtlad, Sweden, and right now it so awesome to see and hear the force of all this water rushing down.

Panorama taken with Nikon D800E and Nikon AF-S 14-24 mm

















Follow my work in social media
http://www.facebook.com/FotografGoranStrand
http://www.instagram.com/Astrofotografen
http://twitter.com/Astrofotografen

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Full moon photography workshop

Part of my work is lecturing and holding workshops for different groups of people. One such reoccurring workshop is for high schools media students. Usually I do one inspiring lecture telling them about different phenomena and how to take photos of them. The next part is being out in the field with the students so they can ask me questions and practice taking photos of the sky and objects in the sky. Then as a follow up, I meet the students once more where they can show me their photos so I can give feedback on their work.

Last night it was time for some field work for a group of high schools students. My plan was to teach them how to take photos of the full moon and how to use the moon for composing interesting photos. As always, it's a blast hanging around with these young students since they are so full of inspiration and creativity and last night was no exception.

Here are a couple of photos I took during our night out.



Follow my work in social media

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Mountain solar halo

Yesterday when I woke up I saw that there were good conditions for a solar halo here in the mountain area in the western part of Jämtland. I kept an eye on the sky and around 13:00 local time this halo was clearly visible for about 30 minutes. As you can see there were lots of clouds moving in and a few hour later it was cloudy.

I really like the different type of clouds surrounding the Sun, it gives more drama to the photo compared to a clear blue sky.

Click here to buy this photo as a print.

Nikon D5 with Nikon AF-S 14-24 mm f/2.8
6 shot panorama 1/8000 sec. ISO 100 at f/8.0
















Follow my work in social media
http://www.facebook.com/FotografGoranStrand
http://www.instagram.com/Astrofotografen
http://twitter.com/Astrofotografen

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Season finale

The dark season is ending and we're running out of darkness here in the northern hemisphere. This panoramic shot from last night shows a beautiful colored night sky filled with the Milky Way and the Northern Lights. As always I feel a bit sad that the stars is fading away for and I will miss nights like this during the summer. On the other hand, the bright summer nights is truly magic with their colors, they sure make a great substitute for the loss of the starry nights.

So this will most likely be my last Milky Way with Aurora shot for this season, but what a great finale it was! Se you on the other side Milky Way!

Click here to buy this photo as a print.

Nikon D800E with Nikon AF-S 14-24 mm f/2.8
12 shot panorama with 20 sec. ISO 3200 at f/2.8















Follow my work in social media
http://www.facebook.com/FotografGoranStrand
http://www.instagram.com/Astrofotografen
http://twitter.com/Astrofotografen

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Astronomy Picture Of the Day at NASA

Today I'm featured as Astronomy Picture of the Day (APOD) at NASA with my photo of the Moon and planet Jupiter with its four Galilean moons.

This night the Moon and Jupiter were only 1°45' apart in the sky, to visualize that distance, that's about the width of your thumb on a arm’s length.

At the time of the photo (19:33 UTC on 10th of April 2017) the Moon was 99,8% lit, so very close to full. This is a single exposure and to get a good exposure for the Galilean moons to be visible, I waited for some clouds to darken the bright moon while Jupiter and its moons was unobstructed. I used a focal length of 600 mm on a Nikon full frame DSLR.

This is the 15th time I'm featured as APOD at NASA.

The Moon and Jupiter with its four Galelian moons

























Follow my work in social media
http://www.facebook.com/FotografGoranStrand
http://www.instagram.com/Astrofotografen
http://twitter.com/Astrofotografen

Monday, April 10, 2017

Moon, Jupiter and the Galilean moons

It's a very beautiful sight in the sky tonight with the Moon and Jupiter so close together. They will get even closer throughout the night. At the time for this photo (19:33 UTC) they were 1°45' apart and they will be even closer in a couple of hours. In the photo you can see the Galilean moons listed in order of appearance.

We did have som clouds tonight so I waited for some clouds to cover the Moon while planet Jupiter was unobstructed to get a more even exposure.

Nikon D800E with a Nikon 600 mm f/4.0 lens.
Exposure 1/13 sec at ISO 100 f/5.6.


























Follow my work in social media
http://www.facebook.com/FotografGoranStrand
http://www.instagram.com/Astrofotografen
http://twitter.com/Astrofotografen

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Lunar X

Last night I finally got to see my first Lunar X. I've heard about it several years ago but never got around to try to see it or take photos of it. The weather was very frustrating with clouds constantly passing in front of the Moon, but I managed to get some shots of the X after it appeared. The X was such a beautiful sight through my viewfinder, it was more prominent than I ever would have thought.

This feature is actually the overlapping convergence of the rims of Blanchinus, La Caille and Purbach craters and there's only a small window in time where in Lunar X is visible. It's visible about six hours before 1st Quarter phase (Depending on the lunar libration), and for about an hour, the silver-white X will appear to float just beyond the lunar terminator as in this photo. So I'm really glad I got the chance to get this X on photo and to see it.

Nikon D500, Nikon AF-S 600 mm f/4 with 1.7X converter
Exposure: 0.4 sec. ISO 100 at f/8.0



















Follow my work in social media
http://www.facebook.com/FotografGoranStrand
http://www.instagram.com/Astrofotografen
http://twitter.com/Astrofotografen

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Real time Northern Lights

Last night we did get some really nice Northern Lights and at 20:45 UT we did get this activity as shown in the video. Both video sequences was shot using a Nikon D5 with a Nikon 24 mm f/1.4 lens. Exposure was 1/25 sec. at 24 mm f/1.4 with ISO 25,600. Cover photo was also taken using the Nikon D5 and 24 mm f/1.4 lens.



Follow my work in social media
http://www.facebook.com/FotografGoranStrand
http://www.instagram.com/Astrofotografen
http://twitter.com/Astrofotografen

Monday, March 20, 2017

Spring equinox

Happy spring equinox everyone!

Today at 10:29 UTC the we left the astronomical winter and entered the astronomical spring. Today the day and night are equally long  and from now on the days will be longer and longer up until the Summer solstice on the 21st of June.

This photo from today shows a very calm Sun with no sunspots. The sun has now been without sunspots for 14 consecutive days. Last time this happened was in April of 2010. The Suns activity has a cycle of 11 years and the Sun is heading for a new Solar Minimum expected to arrive in 2019-2020. Up until then we can expect even longer periods with no sunspots, broken from time to time by mostly small sunspots.

Photo taken with a Lunt LS80THA telescope
and a PointGrey Grasshopper 3 camera


























Follow my work in social media
http://www.facebook.com/FotografGoranStrand
http://www.instagram.com/Astrofotografen
http://twitter.com/Astrofotografen

Monday, March 13, 2017

Lifting the full moon

Yesterday it was time for another full moon to rise above the horizon. I always try to see the full moon rise, if the weather permits. I never get tired of seeing our beautiful moon slowly rise and to make things even more exciting I always try to find an exciting foreground to go along with it.

Last night I've scouted where I needed to be for the moon to rise behind this big crane. I think this mosaic photo turned out really good and it looks like the crane is lifting the moon while the residents in the building is probably watching the progress.

Nikon D500 with a Nikon AF-S 600 mm f/4.0 lens
Exposure 1/40 sec. ISO 100 at f/4.0





















Follow my work in social media
http://www.facebook.com/FotografGoranStrand
http://www.instagram.com/Astrofotografen
http://twitter.com/Astrofotografen

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Northern Lights wedding photography

About a year ago I was asked if I would like to do a wedding photography at night. The wedding was in February this year so we had plenty of time to do the photoshoot but it didn't happen until January this year. But it was worth the wait, it was so much fun and the couple was really great to work with.

Here are a couple of shots I took during that night. Both shots were taken using my Nikon D800E and a Nikon AF-S 14-24 mm f/2.8 lens.





















Follow my work in social media
http://www.facebook.com/FotografGoranStrand
http://www.instagram.com/Astrofotografen
http://twitter.com/Astrofotografen

Sunday, February 12, 2017

End of Biathlon season for me

Today I did my last day working here in Hochfilzen, Austria. It's been five amazing days with lot's of work and so much fun. Once again a big thanks to Infront Sports & Media and BMW for all the hospitality, you guys are so great to work with!

On this final day I got this solar halo over the stadium here at Biathlon Hochfilzen. Since this was my last Biathlon contest for the season I see it as a sign that it's time for me to end this and go back to shooting the sky. See you guys next season!
















Follow my work in social media
http://www.facebook.com/FotografGoranStrand
http://www.instagram.com/Astrofotografen
http://twitter.com/Astrofotografen

Saturday, February 4, 2017

New exhibition

Today my new exhibition premiered in Badhusparken in Östersund, Sweden. It's six photos, each measuring 2.4 x 2.4 meters so these are really big prints. It's always so exciting to see photos come alive in such a big format and. The exhibition runs until Sunday the 12th of February.






















Follow my work in social media
http://www.facebook.com/FotografGoranStrand
http://www.instagram.com/Astrofotografen
http://twitter.com/Astrofotografen

Friday, February 3, 2017

Best Swedish astronomy picture of the year 2016

It is with great pleasure that I can announce that my photo of the full moon rising above the mountains in Jämtland, Sweden, won first price as best Swedish astronomy picture of the year 2016. The contest is organized by the Swedish astronomy magazine Populär Astronomi.

The photo was taken on the 16th of August last year. It was taken near the small village Handöl in Jämtland. It was a calm and warm late summer evening and I had planed to take photos of the full moon rise. Just after the top of the moon was above the horizon I saw that it would touch this beautiful mountain formation an re-positioned myself to have the moon touching the mountain top in a way that it looked like it was about to roll down the hill.



















Follow my work in social media
http://www.facebook.com/fotografgoranstrand
http://www.instagram.com/Astrofotografen
http://twitter.com/Astrofotografen

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Reflected ice skating

On the 19th of December last year, I got to see the most perfect reflection of my home city Östersund I’ve ever seen. During the night, it had been raining and the water together with the flat thin ice formed a perfect gigantic mirror. When these two ice skaters passed by it felt like they were floating in the air, so unreal and beautiful.

This photo and five other of my photos will be exhibited in Badhusparken Östersund starting this Saturday. All six photos are 2.4 x 2.4 meters and the exhibition ends on the 12th of February.

Water on ice creates a perfect mirror.


Friday, January 13, 2017

Finding the lunar fog bow

A month ago I had never seen a lunar fog bow, now I have seen three. I got to see my first lunar fog bow on December 17 last year. Last night I got to see two more of these elusive phenomena. We had lots of fog around the city of Östersund and since it was the night of the full moon, I drove around chasing locations where I could see these beautiful bows.

I got two relatively good ones on photo two hours apart. I've included the time and height of the Moon when the photos was taken.

This is something I really love with this type of photography, learning about new phenomena and how and when to see them. After seeing my first lunar fog bow I new how it looked like and what conditions to look for. Last night there where perfect fog bow conditions so it was just a matter of finding the right spot. The moon light needs to be bright so the days around full moon is best. Also the light from the moon can't be to obscured by the fog and you need to have rather dense fog in the opposite direction of the moon. So try to find a location where you're standing just beneath the top of the fog, then you are inside the fog but the moon light is still bright enough to light up the bow.

Also, as you can see by these two photos, a lunar fog bow works exactly as a rainbow, the height of the bow is determined by the height of the light source (Sun/Moon), so if the moon is too high in the sky > ~35° the fog bow won't be visible. A rainbow has a radius of 42° so if the Sun's altitude in the sky is more than 42°, a rainbow can't be visible. The same goes for a fog bow, but it has a much broader radius, 30-45°. So, the lower the altitude of the Sun/moon is, the higher the bow is.

Good luck bow hunting!





















Follow my work in social media
http://www.facebook.com/fotografgoranstrand
http://www.instagram.com/Astrofotografen
http://twitter.com/Astrofotografen

Friday, January 6, 2017

Galaxies in the mountains

We're living on a small planet we call Earth. Our planet is located about two-thirds of the way out from the center of out home galaxy the Milky Way, that's about 26,000 light-years away from the center. In this photo you can see the Milky Way stretching up in the sky from behind the mountains.

Our closest neighboring galaxy is the Andromeda galaxy, it's located about 2,5 million light-years. It is the most distant object in the sky that you can see with your unaided eye. Here you can see Andromeda close to the center of the photo as a small disc shaped object. It apparent size in the sky is actually four times the size of a full Moon, but since its outer regions are so dim, we just see the much brighter center of the galaxy.

These two galaxies are actually on a collision course and will eventually merge together. But don't worry, it won’t happen for another 4 billion years. But just for a second, try to imagine what it will look like when Andromeda is much closer to us, that will really be some view.

The bright shining object down to the left is the Moon. At the time of this photo it was about 40% lit but since I used a long exposure time to expose for the Milky Way, the Moon is extremely over exposed.

This photo is a 7 shot panorama shot using a Nikon D810A with a Nikon AF-S 14-24 mm f/2.8 lens. Exposure for each photo was 20 seconds, ISO 1600 with f/4.0

Two galaxies in the night sky

























Follow my work in social media
http://www.facebook.com/fotografgoranstrand
http://www.instagram.com/Astrofotografen
http://twitter.com/Astrofotografen

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Mars, Moon and Venus

Last night we could see three celestial bodies in the evening sky. In the upper left corner you see a small bright dot, that's planet Mars. Then to the right of the crescent moon you can see planet Venus. This photo was taken just after sunset when the Sun lit up the higher clouds in a very beautiful way. On the horizon you can see the mountains being covered by really low clouds.

I really love these close encounters in our solar system, I get such a strong presence of us sitting on a planet orbiting a star together with the other planets.

If you would like to order this photo as a print, please visit my webshop at http://shop.astrofotografen.se

Mars, Moon and Venus in the evening sky.














Follow my work in social media
http://www.facebook.com/fotografgoranstrand
http://www.instagram.com/Astrofotografen
http://twitter.com/Astrofotografen