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  • 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!

A little window into the Aurora…

Hello All,

Thanks for all the emails by the way!  You know who you are!  Please keep the questions coming, I am glad I could help!

This set of images was taken with the moon @ 50% of  full.  There was a lot of cloud cover but there was a window to the north just off the horizon.  It made for some very interesting images!  Check these out!

This was the first shot of the night.  This is looking north with the clouds coming up from the south, closing the window.

One of the tips I mentioned during my last Nightscape seminar was to always look behind you when you are shooting!

Often one gets so involved with what is going on in front of the camera, you often miss what is going on behind you!

THIS is what was happening behind me!

 Now THAT’S a Moon Dog!  Â

Clouds are moving in.

Doesn’t this look nice and soft?

With the aid of my 15mm Fisheye I was able to pull off a nice WIDE shot to include the Moon Dog and some of the Aurora.

Shortly after this the window closed on my Aurora viewing.  Clouds can definitely add a unique spin on nightscapes.

Later,

ZK

Full Moon Photography.

Aurora has been at a very low level lately, so I decided to head out and capture a few images using the full moon as my light source.  With plenty of fresh snow on the ground this got very bright!  Here are a few samples of what can be captured using the moon as your main light.

f4.5 @24mm, 10s, 800 ISO

f/4.5 @ 24 mm, 10s, ISO 800

This farm was just off Hwy 16 West of Edmonton.  Right next to this farm is a beautiful railway bridge.  If you didn’t look closely for the stars you would think this was shot during the afternoon!

f/4.5 @ 24 mm, 20s, ISO 800

Here is another perspective…

f/5 @ 24 mm, 13s, ISO 1250

A small farm in the distance here.  Looks like the middle of the day!

f/5 @ 24 mm, 6s, ISO 1250

This very nice trussell bridge is located just outside Sangudo, Alberta

f/3.5 @ 70 mm, 8s, ISO 800

Happy Shooting!

admin - Yes Oliver it’s pretty amazing how much light the moon gives off! Take care!

Olivier - Funny eh? Did the same thing two nights ago. When I showed the wife what I did she could not believe these where night shots. Untill I showed her the stars.

First Aurora images of 2011…

FINALLY, some Aurora activity in my area!

Clear skies, not much of a moon, warm weather and a solar wind predicted to hit earth meant I had to head out last night.  The activity was very slow to come on, but was consistent for a few hours.  Earth got hit with a solar wind from a re-occuring coronal hole on the sun.  The first shock-wave hit about 7:30pm my time.  It ended up initiating a “Storm” condition for a little while, then it leveled of with a steady stream till about 4:30am.  Here’s what I got!

This was the first shot if the night.  It looks like an Aurora Rainbow!

Aurora Rainbow

I quickly moved on to a small bit if pasture land to get some trees in the shot.  Ursa Major(Big Dipper) too!

 I then headed to Jackfish Lake, NE of Athabasca, Alberta

Nobody driving cars on the lake yet, but as you can see the Snowmobiles have been here.

A tiny bit of cloud floated by.

There was a big dog that was freaking out on me here.  I never did see it, but I sure heard it!

Nice grain bins and a few old sheds.

I left the lake and headed towards home.  Here I stopped on a road adjacent to the main highway and got a Semi truck flying by.

OK, things usually get a little weird when I photograph at night.  All of a sudden the nice calm Aurora ellipse turns into something that looks like an alien language.  I have never seen it do this before!

I think it says hello!

After getting the above message I went looking for some trees.

There happened to be a huge stash of hay in this field, so of course I had to take a picture of it!

This was the road view.

Well that’s all folks!

The rest of the images from this night can be seen here http://photos.infocusimagery.com/p263807083

Let me know what you think!

ZK

admin - Hey Sherry,

Well the dead of summer is not a great time. There is too much sunlight. In fact if you go far north, the sun never goes below the horizon during the summer. That being said, spring and fall can be a great time of year!
As far as location goes… basically the further north (60th parallel) you go to odds of seeing aurora increase. The activity on the sun also plays a important role. If you want to see violent aurora activity, it will have to coincide with something like a CME event on the sun. The normal aurora activity happens very often from the solar wind our planet encounters very frequently though.

Yes, I do sell my images. If you enter my Gallery, prints can be purchased directly from there. I offer many different options with regards to printing/framing/displaying my images. Please let me know if you would like to learn more.

Sherry - Thanks-some day I plan to. If only the best aurora viewing times were in the dead of summer! Two questions for you if I may: 1. Best aurora spotting location? I’ve heard of places at least in Alaska where you can turn your aurora viewing urge into a nice little vacation (albeit cold). Are there any in your neck of the woods? Do you sell prints of your photos to the general public (me)? I’ve made you a favorite so I can stop in and gaze for awhile to get my aurora fix.
Sherry

admin - Thanks for the kind words Sherry! Yes, you have to see this show with your own eyes at lease once in your life!

Sherry - Wow. Double-wow. I envy you your talent, your eye for the perfect shot. I don’t envy you the COLD temps you deal with, but I think I’d trade warm weather (for a while) for a chance to experience all the aurorae that you have captured! Thank you for allowing me to see (and drool over) your exceptional photography.

admin - Thanks for the comment Brian! I frequently shoot wide open on many of my nightscape shots. With very wide glass (12mm-14mm and fisheye) the DOF is very large when focused at infinity even at f2.8. The ground is usually dark too:).

Bryan Flaman - Very nice winter night photographs along with your aurora shots. I have been fortunate to capture this phenomenon a couple of times though not with you flair. Thank you for sharing your photographs for inspiration. I was surprised to see your night shots at large apatures, normally landscapes are done around 16 or smaller. Your’s at 4.5 and 5 are very clear throuout, I will haveto give it a try.
Thank you, Bryan

John Nexim - What a fantastic display. You are a very talented photographer! Keep up the great work, and thanks for sharing your images with the world!

Olivier Du Tré - Amazing Zoltan!
I’ve been following your website for a while now. And I was out last night as well. I was north of Olds, AB. Nothing but clouds. 🙁

A few Meteor shower shots…

Happy New Year!

My normal quest for the Aurora Borealis has taken a long break lately.  The sun has been very quiet so no major activity has taken place.  As a substitute I have had the opportunity to photograph a few meteor showers.  Here is one from the Geminid Meteor shower which took place on November 2010.  I think this one turned out nice.

Near Tofield , Alberta. Geminid in the upper right!

These few don’t have any meteors in the images but they are from the same evening.

A different perspective.

One more for this elevator.  The blast of light in the bottom left is from a speeding CN train.

Train coming though.

Cloud cover really limited my ability to capture more. You can see the cloud cover coming in to end my night.

What do you think of the B+W?

This is a different elevator just a few minutes away.  Notice the Ursa Major (Big Dipper)?

These next few are from the Quadrantid meteor shower which peaked during the early hours of Jan 4th, 2011.

Just north of Pigeon Lake, Alberta

My Xterra looks like it is about to be speared!

 Here are a few cropped shots.

One last fun one for this post.  A little Fisheye action.

The Canon EF15mm Fisheye on a 5D Mark II pointed up about 75 degrees above the horizon.

Hope you enjoyed them!

ZK

Happy Halloween!

I have been invited to give a presentation to a group of about 70-80 photographers in a few weeks about my nightscape photography.  I went out on the morning of Halloween, October 31, 2010 with the intent to capture some new nightscapes for this presentation.  I thought I would try something a little different this time.  I have been thinking about using remote lights to illuminate the inside of some of the abandoned buildings I capture for a while now.  Well, last night I headed out to the Tofield, Alberta area to give it shot.  It was a beautiful evening outside.  Hovering around -3C.  No cloud cover, but fog rolled in near the end.  Sure made for a few interesting images.  What do you think?  Please feel free to leave a comment.

Oh, by the way… if you ever really want to freak yourself out, go shoot some images of abandoned buildings in the middle of the night on Halloween by yourself!  Wow!  There was one building I approached with a very bright 10 watt LED flashlight.  It had an upstairs bedroom with windows still in it.  It would have made a fantastic picture with just the top level bedroom illuminated by itself!  But while I was standing in front of it looking at the boarded up front door, I heard something begin to move around inside the building.  This old farm house was probably abandoned 50 years ago.  Keep in mind I was doing this all alone!  I retreated to the road and continued to hear movement in the house.  I got one of those shivers down my spine and decided to find a new subject.  So off I went.

The first shot of the night. There was not supposed to be any Aurora tonight!

This site was illuminated by a nearby yard light.

This was about the highlight of the aurora activity

I was trying to get a little foreground in this shot, using the light of the 45% moon.

Here is another perspective.

This is where things got interesting. I placed one of my 580EX flashes inside this old barn. I remotely triggered the flash using a RF transmiter. The flash was set at full power and it was only triggered once during the 13 second exposure.

Here I moved the flash inside the collapsed building. Looks pretty cool huh?

Different View.

THIS was the house that had something in it!

This one was an accident. I was using liveview @ ISO25600 to manually focus and forgot to drop the ISO down. Pretty much turned night into day! I had to pull the sky back 4 stops to make it dark again!

Flash inside the living room and the moon in the fog on the right side of the house.

A little B+W action!

In this shot I put my red LED headlamp in the dining room and my flash pointed out the window in the Boot room. The rays of light were an added bonus because of the fog.

Just my head lamp in this shot.

Last one for this blog. All the bins are probably full this year. It's been a bumper crop year in this area of Alberta.

The rest of the images from this outing are here http://photos.infocusimagery.com/p748204727

Enjoy and thanks for stopping by!

ZK

Sharon Jones - OMG Zoltan, the “red” haunted house is so eery! I wonder what was inside the house…
The one with the light beam coming out of the boot room is so cool, it reminds me of “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” when the light beam comes out of the space ship! Very, very cool!
The ones with the flash inside the collapsed buildings are awesome. I look forward to checking your blog often to see what’s new and exciting!
Keep up the good work!!!
Sharon