|Posted by northof44products on January 15, 2013 at 4:00 PM||comments (0)|
After seeing Tom Stef's twitter post showing the possibility of -30 celcius temperatures possible this coming Monday it got me thinking on what photography I wanted to accomplish with such extreme conditions. Listed below will be some of the possible weather phenomena that will take place when these conditions arrive.
Sun Pillars and Light Pillars will be two things I'll be looking for very early on Monday evening. Sun pillars are very colourful at sunset and it would get the evening off to a good start. Then after that I will be hoping there is enough ice crystals in the air that create's the same type effect, only in street lights instead of light from the sun as seen in the photo below. I would have preferred more moonlight for this but I have my strategies for dealing with less light.
The very next morning I plan on heading to Lake Ontario in hopes that their a lot of steam rising off the lake. There has been many nights where I have started out with crisp clear skies but by morning had it rise to just above freezing. If it did that in this case there would be no steam on the lake.
With the steam rising off the lake what will I be looking for. I am looking for a colourful sunrise. Moreso, I am interested in steam devils. In 2007 I saw some steam devils well over 100 feet on Lake Ontario. I hope to be able to capture it better this time in photography and video.
Depending on the time I have I woud like to get to Niagara Falls and see just how high the mist is rising off the waterfalls is. Also, is it landing on the Canadian side and covering the trees with ice. It should be really neat to see and document.
The Weather Hunters is a small group. Mainly run by myself when thunderstorms aren't around but in the summer both Brian & Lesley Chapman join up with me as well as Faith Beni. You can follow our events this year on twitter @ https://twitter.com/WeatherHunters
Tom Stef is one of the best storm chasers from Ontario. His weather knowledge and tweets I think you would find quite interesting. His website www.vaughanweather.com His twitter info @ https://twitter.com/vaughanweather
|Posted by northof44products on January 13, 2013 at 4:55 PM||comments (0)|
Yesterday, Faith Beni and I were at a meeting with the Niagara Falls Humane Society with another artist named Darlene Munroe. I now have art in there where I am very happy that the proceeds go to a great cause. Half of the proceeds from sale of any of my work go to the Humane Society. Even if you don't want to buy my art, there is a lot of other great artists in there as well. I met Jordan Newhouse yesterday too, who will be putting some art work in there as well. You can see some of his work at www.Jordannewhouse.com. He'll be painting some animals for the display at the Humane Society in Niagara Falls.
When Faith and I finished we went to the Niagara River to look at Ducks. That is when we saw this group of Hooded Mergansers.
After that we continued looking for more ducks. We wanted to reach 50 different species of birds on the year and ducks are a great way to do that. Especially at this time of year.
We were just about to take some photos of some more ducks when they all took off. I thought to myself very quickly, why did they fly? It wasn't use that scared them. I started looking for a larger bird. The Bald Eagle made an appearance. So quickly focused on him as he flew down river.
After the Bald Eagle flew by we headed down river some more. Lots of Greater and Lesser Scaup. Lots of seaguls too. I am still a little slow on identifying them but managed to pick out what looks like a Bonapartes Gul. Anyone that can tell me differently is fine by me. It's not a strong area for me.
After taking some photos of guls, Faith and I saw the Bald Eagle again. He landed right on a tree in front of us.
After getting some nice photos of him in a couple other locations we decided to push towards home. That is when we noticed a Red-tailed Hawk hunting. We pulled up beside him and it didn't seem to phase him at all. We got out of the vehicle. He didn't seem to mind. So we photographed him for 15 minutes or so and wrapped up our day without disturbing the successful hunter.
|Posted by northof44products on January 5, 2013 at 10:45 AM||comments (0)|
I spent a little bit of time with the Snowy Owl today. The sun was out and not nearly as windy as yesterday. In St. Catharines yesterday, winds topped out at 85km/h. Next week I will be spending more time with this handsome little fellow. He has been very photogenic and I should have a few video clips to share here as well very soon.
|Posted by northof44products on December 23, 2012 at 4:00 AM||comments (1)|
Often times people in parts of Southern Canada and northern parts of the United States think of the Northern Lights as a pale colourless arc to the north. Which most the time they are. It's the substorms you want to capture. Substorms are what I have worked so hard to learn about and now that I have a really good understanding of the numbers. It's allowing me to share that information with people and let them know when a really good show is about to happen. Both with using gauges on the internet and from watching them right infront of my eyes. I can predict within a half an hour of what the northern lights are going to do and generally get a feel for how strong the substorm is going to be or if they are going to completely weaken. The first photo I am going to share with you is a photo I feel is how most people think or see the northern lights in the areas described above.
In this photograph you can see two weaker lines or arcs forming in the northern sky. This is a building halo. Seldom does a halo build and then not put on a spectacular display. When I see this I am then able to issue a twitter alert that states we will have a brilliant display within the next half an hour. Where the gauges come into affect is where I predict for other areas I can't see. That is when I go by the numbers. It has successfully allowed me to make predictions all around the world. It helps me even more when people send me information on what they are seeing because then I can pretend as if I was there and roughly predict when the next substorm will be.
The next photo is one I got just 16 minutes later then this first one I shared with you. It's roughly 5 minutes into the substorm.
Substorms generally last 5-10 minutes and dance back and forward to the northern sky. It is rare in Ontario to see them dance right overhead but I have experienced it about a dozen times. Typically, this is what we see in the northern United States and Southern Canada when it substorms. The shortest substorm I photographed this year was 2 minutes in the Niagara region. That was on March 7th.
Whenever you hear me use the term substorm. It is quite possible that you stand a chance of seeing something like this if you don't have cloudy skies and live in the same parallel as me. Goodluck in 2013. I will be doing everything I can to help everyone have a chance to see a brilliant Auroras display. I am coming out with a forecasts on what I expect for the year. I'll be doing one personally for Ontario and one for the rest of North America and Europe.
Photo below is without wording:
With the sunspot number still rising and the sunspots getting bigger, its looking better for 2013. We may get a January Northern Lights display. Typically at this time of year in Southern Ontario we need a KP of 6+ instead of a 5 in Spring and Autumn. I am working on an Ontario KP chart, that varies on location as well as time of year. As for now I am not really expecting anything strong until the last week of February through until the first week of May. I think something moderately large will hit in that period of time.
|Posted by northof44products on December 16, 2012 at 11:05 PM||comments (0)|
I decided to take a look back at some of the most retweeted photographs of 2012. All in which were taken this year. As much as I would love to share most of my collection from 2012, my blog would need space for about 3,500 photos for just this year alone. Plus because of the fact I plan on writing books and deal commercially I don't want to show everything before its properly released. Must keep some as a surprise.
This was one of the first sunsets I photographed over water this past year. We didn't have a lot of shoreline ice in 2012 because of the mild winter we had. So timing was the key part for getting this shot. The very next day, all this ice had melted. The winter of 2013 should be a different story. If we get a combination of some strong northwesterly winds mixed with cold temperatures, I think there willl be plenty of ice to add to the winter sunsets.
In the first part of 2012, snow was very much absent from all my photos and the Niagara region as a whole had very little of it around. In total I counted 15 days where the ground was half covered or completely covered with snow. To compare that to winter 2012-2013 already shows how odd last year was in comparison. Since December 26 the ground has been covered with snow, meaning that already this winter we have had 9 days with the ground completely covered with snow. With no warm up in sight we will easily beat last years total of 15.
Again with the lack of snow last winter, it made it hard to get really nice photographs during the day. Unfortunately, in winter if there is no snow, the landscape can take on a very barren and dead look. So what I would do is work at night and look for weather phenomena that would add to the scene and make the landscape around less important to the photograph. That is why I would look for nights that were foggy. The use of fog at night allows you to use warm tones from the amber coloured lights and use urban elements like sidewalks and man made subjusts like a lighthouse to complete a photograph.
Sometimes you just need a special event to make a photograph get retweeted around every continent like the transit of Venus did for me in 2012. This was my most retweeted photo of 2012. This photo was seen at least once on every active continent. There was a couple important factors I thought about before I took this photograph. I did not want to use a filter for it. It was very important to me for it to be what a person would see if they were standing beside me. With filters, you can get blue suns, purple suns, green suns, any sun you want. What I wanted was a natural sun. That meant I had to wait for the sun to get very low on the horizon and use the atmosphere as a filter. What I really wanted to capture was Venus crossing the sun at sunset. Sunsets had been a main focus of mine all year and I new Venus would make this one popular. What was a really nice bonus to this photograph was the fact the cloud blocking out the top of the sun had precipitation to it. It was rain falling but it wasn't making the ground which is called Virga. The other important part was not to have the sun so close that it was just a photo of the sun and cloud. That is why I wanted the colours of the sun casting across the water with the land in the background(Burlington to Oakville area). All of this came together for me with only 5 minutes until the sun went down. It made it very important for my settings to be on.
Lighting was my big goal of the year. I had set up a goal that I wanted 200 lightning shots, not including sheeting lightning in the same year. I did accomplish my goal and then some but not a lot of them were really close shots of lightning. I maybe got a total of 20 really nice close bolt shots like this one that I shared but other then that it was a tough year for lightning. So many times I would be lined up for a storm and it would die before it got to me. I like to cut infront of a storm for lightning photographs about 15km's before the rain gets to me. It gives me a chance to get some really nice lightning shots before getting washed out. This year it kicked my butt. Next year I will have a whole new attack plan. I will be going for less lightning shots but more like this one above. My goal is 50 lightning shots of this magnitude or better. I have my strategies set and know how I will accomplish it but everything has to go right and that includes quality storms, which Ontario did not have a lot of in 2012.
This was the day of the decision. The whole reason I got into photography was for Northern Lights and thunderstorms. The day I got this photograph was one of my toughest decisions I've had to make in the field. It was whether or not to pick what I love over what I new was going to be the better photo. So I did the right thing and that was went after the better photograph in the end. It also helped knowing that two of Ontario's best storm chasers were out on the cells I was watching from a distance. Mark Robinson and Tom Stef. If you enjoy storm footage and photographs follow them on twitter. You can follow Tom @vaughanweather or Mark Robinson @StormhunterTWN. The sunset photograph I took was at Guelph Lake. We had been having CU fields developing there all evening but with very little upward motion to them they would not develop into storms. The evening colours though were fantastic and the water was perfectly still and that is when I got this shot.
The Aurora Borealis have not visiting us as much as they did last solar cycle which is why my dad and I were extremely aggressive on this display. It was cloudy in the Niagara region. Unfortunately, that wasn't the only tough part about it. The cloud around here usually pushes west to east. Instead this night it was pushing east to west. Our only option was to push towards Lake Huron. We left before it was dark and got through Guelph, and pushed NW towards Listowel. We just seemed to be following the edge of the line of clouds. My dad was reading me northern lights numbers and I kept saying to him we are missing a sub-storm right now. I decided to turn southwest, I hate turning south away from the northern lights but decided it would get us out of the cloud quicker. Thankfully, it was the right move to make. We got out of the cloud and the northern lights were right over head. It was beautiful to see. We decided to push again towards Lake Huron for more cloud had developed. It was the best move of the night. It is what led to the photo above. You'll see more of this display in a book someday. It'll have the whole story about how we used numbers, satellite, maps everything to get us into the position we needed to be over 2.5 hours away from home. I've been forecasting northern lights since I was 17 and have learned the numbers well enough that I can forecast all around the world.
Every year has a "Supermoon" and again this is more of a circumstantial retweet. Its a nice photograph of a moon but it's pretty basic. If it wasn't a supermoon it probably would've got 2-3 retweets instead of over 20+.
After tracking storms towards Orangeville that were over 50,000 feet my dad and I were able to get back to the Niagara region and photograph them crossing into Niagara-on-the-Lake. It was a fantastic day of chasing. Wall-clouds, lightning photos, storm clouds at sunset. Hoping for more chases like this in 2013.
Decew Falls is one of my favourite falls in the Niagara region. Beautiful foreground, water, everything just makes for a great photograph. This Autumn I pulled some very long hours to accomplish what I wanted. I worked in Fog, snow, warm and cold. Everything, to accomplish what I wanted.
The photographs above were retweeted at least 10 times and some as high as 40. It was a great year of work. The question is how can I make this year better? Late this past year I took 2 months off photography after the Autumn colours rush. I only did a storm chase,a meteor shower and one snowstorm. I only did the business aspect of my life. Something I noticed is what it did for my photos. By not being out as much I found my quality of work was even better yet. Also my health is the best it has been in a long time. This past summer. I had days that were 24-36 hours long with no sleep. Some of you know what that does to a person. Since I took time off I have gained 28 pounds, loving the gym and stronger then ever which will lead to even better adventure and better quality of work. I won't be doing as much photography in 2013 but one thing I think you'll notice is the quality will be better. I am excited for 2013. It is going to be a great year. Thank you for all your support. I have met a lot of great people this past year. My followers and the ones I follow have been amazing. All great people! I hope all of you bring in the 2013 with happiness and great health!!!
|Posted by northof44products on October 11, 2012 at 6:00 PM||comments (0)|
The sun has not only been producing Aurora Borealis this month but also with the angle chance has been giving better atmospheric optics. This corona formed this afternoon. I noticed that a thin cloud was developing at a higher altitude which can lead some very nice iridescence. It had developed some of that when I notice some develop by the sun. This is what is called a corona.
I watched thin cloud develop right in front of me which gave me a good idea that it was going to form a corona pictured above.
If you missed this weeks display of Aurora Borealis you can check out my homepage. This is also a photo from the display. I'll also be releasing some fine art pieces later this month showing off a beautiful array of colours.
I was planning to slow down while visiting my parents in Renfrew, Ontario but a lot has been catching my eye. The Autumn colours have been amazing here, right through to Huntsville, Ontario. Even the sunrises have been amazing too.
I have a lot more to show and hopefully when I get back home I'll be able to catch up and post some more.
Thanks for checking out my blog. All photos on my blog are available for sale. Email me at email@example.com
|Posted by northof44products on October 3, 2012 at 4:20 AM||comments (1)|
This is probably my longest blog so I won't blame you if you just look at the photographs. I go onto tell you about how we know a display like this was going to happen and how we beat the cloud and the fog.
Quite a few people were treated to a beautiful display of the Aurora Borealis on the evening of September 30th that carried right into the wee hours of October 1st.
I was literally standing downstairs when I had a sudden urge to check the northern lights data online. I new of an incoming CME that was suppose to just hit the polar regions. Usually when they say that I wouldn't think twice about it but knowing the time of year I felt it was still worth watching. I came upstairs and just 25 minutes before I checked something special had started to build. If I had checked it just a half an hour earlier I could have missed the whole display. The northern lights have been quiet this year and most the time I check them once a night, sometimes twice. Thankfully this night timing worked out.
The IMF was sitting at -15 south. Now all that was needed was for it stay consistently south for as long as possible and that it did. I quickly went through old numbers and records. Went over 6 of the usual charts I checked and called my dad and said “It's Go Time“.
Next thing to check was cloud conditions. It had been clear all day but unfortunately we had cloud cover moving in. Not from the usual direction. We had cloud pushing in from our east. Typically things clear west to east here. So the next step was to go over a few of my favourite weather models and determine where to position ourselves to give us the best chance to see them. When we looked at satellite it looked as if the whole province would be covered by cloud. When we looked at the models it showed it would break up the closer we got to Lake Huron and really start to break up after midnight.
This was how the sky looked to our southeast while photographing the Aurora to the north.
We left at 8pm and got south of Listowel at 9:45pm. With portable internet I could tell we had already missed one weak sub-storm while driving through Guelph. Brian Chapman then read me some more of the northern lights numbers and I could tell we were about to miss another one if I didn’t do something quickly. We had been driving along the cloud line for 25 minutes when I decided to push southwest. One thing I hate to do when looking for northern lights is turn south. It feels as if I am driving away from them but this would get us to the clearing faster. It took us 7 minutes to get into the clearing and sure enough a sub-storm was building. We got into position and within 5 minutes after parking they had come from a 30 degree angle to be almost over are head. The almost full moon typically makes it hard to see the northern lights but this you could see right in front of us. We stayed there and the sub-storm subsided roughly 15 minutes later which it did in perfect timing because it clouded in again. Not only was cloud pushing towards us but it was developing too.
This was what some of the 1st sub-storm looked like.
We continued our push westward towards our goal of Lake Huron. Again we just seemed to be riding the edge of the cloud when I decided to push southwest. It worked once before and I could tell with the rotation of the clouds on satellite that it would give us a clearing again. Making a couple stops along the way, checking to see if there was any visible sub-storming we continued towards Exeter, Ontario.
Photo taken by Brian Chapman during 2nd sub-storm
We didn’t quite make it to Exeter when we had finally pushed away from the cloud. It revealed a beautiful halo starting to form from northwest to northeast. At around midnight we noticed a 2 halo’s start to form. The one started to form small curtains to the back. When it became part of the 1st halo, it broke into a beautiful sub storm that lasted for roughly 15 minutes. Beautiful curtains and very little movement to them which made for nice crisp photographs. The display could not have timed it any better. Within 10 minutes of the display the fog rolled in and made things very difficult to see to the north. So we continued on to our final goal. One place I new where there wouldn’t be fog is Lake Huron. From living in Niagara region I have noticed that the top of the escarpment can be fogged in but I live on the low area that is close to Lake Ontario which rarely fogs in when its this type of fog. Sure enough it was fog right until the edge of Grand Bend but when we got to the shore line it was clear. Not only clear but warmer too. A really nice flow of warm air was coming off the lake. In spring it is cold air coming off the lake because of the past winter which is why it can be 8C in Sarnia and when you get in land it can be 20C in a spot like London. They're roughly 40 minutes away from each other. That is how much the lakes effect our weather. In early autumn and winter it's reverse.
When we got to Grand It showed a faint glow with the odd distant streak very far to the north. Roughly 5 degrees above the horizon. The numbers had subsided, the geomagnetic storm was over and it was time to head home. We started at 8pm and got home at 5:25am. Just 5 minutes before I had planned to get up to get ready for work.
Fog pushing in after 2nd sub storm
Saying goodbye to the Aurora Borealis in Grand Bend.
You'll hear me use the term sub storm a lot. Basically I have studied the Aurora Borealis to the point that I can see when that gentle arc to the north is going to erupt into a curtains, streaks and zig zag and dance. How I learned how to read sub-storm activity was great help from my dad, Brian Chapman. My dad was out photographing the Aurora while I stayed home on the computer and read 6 charts. He would describedto me what he was seeing as well as showed me the photographs afterwards. Since then I have been able to know pretty much exactly when a sub storm is about to take place. It has got me short but amazing displays that lasted only 2 minutes and displays that have lasted the whole night from 5:45pm to 5:30am in the morning. When I know a sub storm is going to take place I try to get tweets out saying we will see them shortly. If you hear me mention the word halo on twitter. It mostly likely means a sub storm will occur within the hour. Generally within 15 minutes. I hope to be able to get that word out so many more people get to experience them. People often say they can't be seen this far south(Southern Ontario). I've seen displays here that have been as far south as Texas and Florida.
An example of the display in October 2003 seen in Florida and Texas.
This is what I want you to experience!
|Posted by northof44products on September 24, 2012 at 9:45 PM||comments (0)|
Brian Chapman and I teamed up this past Saturday to do some lake effect photography in Southern Ontario along Lake Huron. As the weather cools down here the lakes become very active with first showers. Then lake effect snow but as I am sure most of you are not ready to hear about that yet. When we were just west of Kincardine we ran into our first ice pellets of the season. Which again is a reminder that the other stuff is just around the corner.
This is a photograph of what looks like a thunderstorm over Lake Huron. This cell did not produce lightning but the cell that came in land earlier did(One to be exact). A lot of lake effect showers don't produce lightning and generally the ones that do, produce very isolated amounts. The neat part about these cells is they can range from cloud-tops of 4,000 - 12,000 feet and look like full fledge thunderstorms at times. This one had my favourite anvil of the night.
This cell was hitting Port Elgin and I photographed it south of Kincardine so that I would have stars above it. There wasn't a lot of moon yet which would have made this shot better if it had been full but it still led to a nice shot.
All photos in the blog are available for sale as open editions. If you are interested in either one of these shots. I recommend hanging them up in a bright room because of the fact they are night photography.
|Posted by northof44products on September 21, 2012 at 9:45 PM||comments (0)|
The autumn season is finally here which means sunset opportunities from the southern side of Lake Ontario are hard to get. On June 21 of this year the sun was setting well out over the water. As of now it continues to push back south for the winter meaning that the northern side of Lake Ontario becomes the better position for both sunrise and sunset photos. It also means for people living along the north shores of Lake Erie that sunsets start to shine brightly across it.
For what seems like something that is coming to an end for some is only the beginning for others. Then when December 21 comes around it starts to do the same shift back north that it has been doing for billions of years. Hopefully everyone has enjoyed the year of sunrises and sunsets. The best location one for year round sunsets along southern Lake Ontario is Port Dalhousie. I will be doing a sunset on December 21 there if the conditions are right just to see if the vantage point is good for the whole year but as far as I can tell, it looks like the angle works out.
Starting now all photos on the blogs are available as open edition prints.
|Posted by northof44products on August 31, 2012 at 3:00 PM||comments (0)|
I have finally printed, framed and selected my art pieces for the Fonthill Art Show at Keith's Restaurant. I had a lot of help in my business getting ready for this. Gives me a chance to thank Lesley Chapman and Brian Chapman for the hard work they put in helping me prepare for this show. As a family business it has really helped us over the years for when things get busy and this was no different.
So what does this mean for the art show itself? I would have to say this is some of the best releases I have ever produced. I can already tell with the kind of work that is going into Keith's Restaurant that word will spread very around quickly. A lot of new pieces coming in for the first couple months that will be followed up with my best sellers for the months of November and December. Judging by what is being put in though I can tell some of these new releases won't be around long for sale.
Special thanks also goes out to Keith's restaurant for allowing my work to be displayed for 4 months at their beautiful location. Another thank you goes out to www.myPelham.com for really helping me promote this show. You can find more information about them on my homepage as well.