Zoltan Kenwell bio picture
  • Welcome and thanks for stopping in! Take a leisurely scroll around this page to find out what type of adventures I have been up to lately. Please take a look though my Photography and Time-Lapse galleries as well. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask!

Solar Wind Aurora Borealis

This morning yielded some more great Aurora photos due to the arrival of a fast coronal wind stream.  Solar wind velocities peaked around 560km/s right around midnight.

Twilight and the Aurora together. I started this shoot just north of Elk Island Park. This was taken at 9:00pm.

Spring must be here! The snow is gone and now there is a lot of standing water in the fields. The aurora began to take off a bit while I was at this location.

As you can see in this photo the Aurora was very high in the sky!

A little fisheye action. It was a very large display!

I found this fantastic barn and stopped just to get a shot of it in the moonlight. The aurora picked up just as I setup my gear. The moon was 90.6% from full so there was a lot of light available for the landscape.

Here is another one, a little tighter composition. I think I will get rid of the power lines when I print this image.

It was a beautiful night. This field was pretty much clear but you can still see a little snow behind the bins.

Fisheye from the corner of the field!

Just a bit further down the same road as the farm from the above image was this field. I was able to get a little reflection from the standing water.

This is the Ukrainian Greek-Orthodox Church of St. Mary Szypenitz. The amount of moonlight sure lets this building jump out of the photo!

Here is another perspective.

This one reminds me of the Titanic!

Well that’s it.  Thanks for having a look.  Feel free to leave a comment or post a question!
Later,
ZK

Sherry - I’m sure you’re being far too modest about that. Though I know I am personally forever grateful that digital photography has come into being! Take a shot, take another, another… pick your best ones, jettison the rest. No harm, no foul. I am taking my modest little Kodak 12 mp camera to China next month (10 day trip)- with two 8 gb chips- I think that covers enough photos for at least a couple of months!

Zoltan - Thanks Sherry! I wish I could say ALL my images are keepers. Unfortunatly it wouldn’t be the truth!
Cheers,
ZK

Sherry - That church is pretty spectacular- and the name is lots of fun. I quite enjoyed your photos of today’s (4/30) aurora, too- those colors were so vibrant! A double-your-pleasure set of photos because of the little lake’s reflection. Gorgeous. I bet you NEVER take a bad photo!
Sherry

Zoltan - Thank’s Olivier!

Olivier Du Tré - Fantastic Zoltan!

National Geographic and NASA!

March and April have turned out to be a fantastic couple of months in regards to my aurora photography!

A couple of days ago I received an email from National Geographic requesting a few images for an article they were doing!  Well a few more emails went back and forth and …

This image ended up here…

 

Link to Article

and this one ended up here!

Link to Article

Also, on March 10, 2011 NASA posted this image all over their website.  It was used in an artical explaining solar flares! 

How cool is that!  It just goes to show, that sometimes when you follow your passion, and you put the results out there for the world to see, great things can happen!  I really consider these pinnacle achievements with regards to my photography.  I am extremely proud to have my imagery associated with these 2 great organizations and I would like to thank everybody involved that allowed this to take place!

Wow, what a fantastic couple of days!

Later,

ZK

admin - Hello Rene,
I usually shoot aurora between ISO800 and ISO2500. Wide open on the glass, f1.4 to f2.8 and 5-30 second exposure times. Pretty much as fast as I can given the conditions. As far as post goes, I usually process one image and apply that to all from a given location. Assuming I haven’t changed lenses or the conditions have not changed that much during the session. Location, anywhere north/west/east of Edmonton. The National Geographic images were taken north of Wabamun lake(purple) and just north of Lamont(twilight). Thanks for dropping in, asking you questions and your congrats!

ZK

Rene - Congratulations!!

Do you have information regarding what exposure settings, ISO, etc you use? Do you use just one picture or various pictures and later post-process?

Also, where do you go? Do you go to farms/fields etc? I tried once outside of Edmonton but you could still see the city lights =(

Peter - I just saw your images on National Geographic, great job. I also took a look at some of your pictures in your Aurora gallery, WOW! You sure do have your technique down, very impressive!

Rosa - I love your photos! Thank you for sharing!

John Labree - What a wicked display! Congrat’s on the National Geographic spread!

April Aurora!

Hello Everyone!

I had a great weekend of chasing the aurora.  The conditions were beautiful and so was the show.  I started off around 10:00pm on Friday night and finally shut it down around 6:00am.  The only reason I stopped taking pictures was the sun began to rise!  I headed out again Saturday night around 8:00pm and shot till 3:00am.  The solar wind that was buffeting earth created a beautiful display that was different than usual, in a couple of ways.  Check out the photos below for examples.

Things started off in a very mellow way. No drama here, just smooth greens!

So while this was going on to the north...

This was going on to the south. This pink/purple band of light appeared very high in the sky. I think its the first time I have pointed my camera south to get an image of the aurora!

Here is a little fisheye fun. Here you can see the purple and the green at the same time!

The aurora was very bright even through the clouds.

This really cool strip of clouds was illuminated by light pollution from Cold Lake. It looks like smoke from a fire or something.

A little fireball was caught in this one.

Ok, this is where things got interesting. As you can see in this photo, the sun is still below the horizon, but its rising. The aurora went nuts! It began to pulse rapidly. If you could have heard it, it would have sounded like wind noise in your car on the highway at speed. Instead of wind buffeting, it really was solar wind buffeting the planet. It was very cool!

The following images are from Satuday night. There was a little sporatic cloud cover, but it added a interesting dynamic to the shots.

Things began to get a little more active by this time. The banding looks great.

This is the last image for this post.  Shortly after this was taken, the aurora retreated into the darkness.  I headed home for some much needed sleep.

Thanks for stopping in, and have a great day!

ZK

Zoltan - WOW, what a nice compliment! Thank You!

Wayne Lacina - You use your camera as a paint brush..capturing the beauty of
earth and the cosmos….I envy your talent

Olivier Du Tré - Wow Zoltan!!! AMAZING story!
No such luck in Calgary though. It’s been cloudy every time the aurora is out. 🙁

CME Impact.

Planet earth received a glancing blow from a Coronal Mass Ejection from the sun on March 10, 2011.  Earth’s magnetic field began shaking on March 10th in response to this CME impact; the reverberations continued for more than 24 hours.  The energy contained in the CME sparked intense geomagnetic storms around the planet.  Coincidentally this was also the when the 8.9 earthquake took place off the coast of Japan.  The geomagnetic storms of March 10th and 11th have subsided, but the catastrophe in Japan continues.  My thoughts go out to all that have been effected by this event.

I consider myself extremely fortunate to be located on the other side of this planet from where this disaster continues to take place.  I was also lucky enough to have found some clear sky’s and photograph the first wave of this storm as it hit our atmosphere.

Things started off very slow with a mellow band of Aurora which stretched from the western to eastern horizons.  Even shooting with a full frame 5DmkII and the 15mm fisheye I could not get the entire aurora belt in the frame.

This is the Western horizon.

While this was the Eastern horizon.

This was looking straight up with the 15mm Fisheye lens. As you can see the aurora belt stretches from horizon to horizon.

Within 5 minutes of me stopping to setup for a few quick shots this began to erupt! It really continued to grow!

This shot is a little dark, but the patterns are fantastic!

Looking straight up things got crazy! This image made it on the NASA website!

http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/sunearth/news/News031011-xclass.html

This image looks like a jellyfish or one of those Horseshoe Crabs.

Here is another shot where I tried to capture the entire display. I still could not fit all of it in.

A change of location and 20 minutes later the aurora had morphed to lower on the horizon.

Well that pretty much wraps it up.  As you can see from the last image the clouds began to role in.  It’s amazing that there can be this kind of beauty on one side of the planet while on the other, total devastation can be taking place.

COINCIDENCES: Many readers have asked if this week’s terrible earthquake in Japan was connected to the contemporaneous geomagnetic storms of March 10th and 11th. In short, no. There is no known, credible evidence of solar activity triggering earthquakes. Moreover, in the historical record, there are thousands of examples of geomagnetic storms without earthquakes, and similar numbers of earthquakes without geomagnetic storms. The two phenomena are not linked. quotes from www.spaceweather.com

Again, my heart and thoughts are with everyone affected by the continued and worsening disaster in Japan!

ZK

Zoltan - Thank you Wayne!

Wayne Lacina - Hello, From San Diego USA…..
Your eye is amazing. It is as if you become one with the cosmic wind and it dances just for you. BEAUTIFUL,,,Such beauty

lori lozinski - thank you for capturing this amazing lightshow with your camera for all of the world to see. God tells us when there are disease & famine, earthquakes and wars and rumors of war, “look up…”

admin - Great to hear from you Greg! Thanks for kind words!

Greg Scratchley - Zoltan –

Once again you’ve captured one of the most beautiful of our world’s gifts.

Thanks again for keeping us inspired to do likewise.

– Greg

Alberta Prairie by Moon Light…

A clear but windy night was calling me out.  The temperature with windchill was around -30C with a lot of blowing snow.  Weather predicted that the wind was going to settle down around midnight so I figured I would stick to an area with a few wind bluffs to stay out of the breeze.  East of Edmonton to the rolling prairies I went.

I found this really cool area where this ridge just pop out of the flat landscape, there also happened to be a flattened barn in the middle of this field too. 

Rolling ridge

Now I was bracketing a few shots just to be sure I would be able to get a correct exposure with all of the light and dark areas of this image when all of a sudden…

LUCKY!  I can’t count the number of times I have been setting up my camera gear, or my camera is pointing the wrong way.  The list goes on and on for the number of times that I am usually changing lenses, in between exposures, or I am driving.  REALLY!  I have seen countless numbers of meteors of this magnitude but have never been able to capture one.  It’s a little different when there is a meteor shower on, but this stone was a totally random event and it actually happened while I was exposing too!!!

This beautiful church jumped off the landsacpe. It was so bright with the moon beaming on it.

I then headed into the trees where I found this decaying barn.

Again, the moon was bright enoungh to cast these great shadows!

I then walked along the treeline to get a different perspective.

This last one shows you the windswept field in the foreground.  Can you see the stubble sticking though the snow?

Cheers,

ZK

Zoltan Kiss - Hi.
I found your website from spaceweather.com.What breathtaking photos you did!Absolutly fantastic.I didn’n checked all yet but i will.Anyway, do you speak hungarian? 😀

Greetings from Sweden, from an other Zoltan 🙂