Strange skies

Three days ago Aurora Alerts by Soft Serve News showed a forecast for very strong polar lights, first for last night, than for tonight.

That’s why I took camera and tripod with me when I drove to the rehearsal with the Chamber Choir. When we had finished and I left the building it was cloudy – as expected – but you could see the green light of a quite strong aurora shining through the spots were clouds were less dense.

I hoped for the sky to clear up and drove to Långhällan – a favourite place at the seaside. Unfortunately however the sky hardly cleared up and finally the clouds became even denser. Suddenly I could spot a bright red light at the horizon. Is it a strong spotlight of a ship? But why is it so red? It took a minute until I realised that it’s really the moon rising above the horizon. I cannot remember seeing the moon in such an extreme red colour – even redder than at the total lunar eclipse five weeks ago.

The next photo is a bit special. It is much more edited than I use to edit photos to show the colder green colours of the Northern lights behind the clouds and the warm, now bright orange colour of the moon. I lit the foreground with a flashlight to make it visible. Not very easy to light it evenly without overexposing it. Even here I had to edit some spots that were too bright or too dark.

There may be less clouds at 4 or 5 o’clock. Ant perhaps still polar lights. But I guess I’ll be sound asleep … .

Another aurora

I cannot remember a year with so much Northern Lights as this year. Since August I saw them at least 20 times, if not even more often. Today the forecast was quite good and when I saw the first pale aurora at 22:30 I drove to the beach. The Northern Lights covered half the sky but were quite weak. But after a while they became stronger.

For a short time they were very strong, but I was too slow with the camera. I didn’t catch the two bright shooting stars neither, but if was beautiful to see them. As beautiful as the aurora weakening again but then flickering very fast over half of the sky – like dancing a secret dance too swift to follow. Unphotographable – you have to come, be lucky and have a look by yourself.

Click the image for a better quality – the computer-calculated preview is quite bad.

Another small step winterwards

Today was the first day, where the maximum temperature almost was below zero, in Skelleftehamn the maximum was +0.1 °C. Although it was below zero most of the time it drizzled and mizzled from the low-hanging clouds which made the ground really slippery.

But later, when I looked through the window round 7 o’clock I could see the road being covered with a ultra-thin layer of white. Snow or ice dust – I wasn’t sure. But even this half millimeter is enough to reflect the street lights and to lighten up street and front yard.

When I went outside I could see some scattered snowflakes falling down. I know, it’s nothing and it will melt tomorrow, but anyway – it’s the very first snow of the season in Skelleftehamn. And although it’s hardly below zero, the small boat harbour killingörviken starts to freeze over.

Winter journey in a nutshell

It snowed in Skelleftehamn tonight. It’s hardly a secret, that I love winter, snow and coldness. In Skelleftehamn however it would be too warm, because the Baltic Sea is near.

Therefore I decided yesterday to take a day off today, take camera and car and travel towards winter. In the inland the climate is colder and hopefully there would be more snow. I started at 6:45 in darkness. The first part was no fun to drive. Road salt is used on the big road to Skellefteå and the road further west. With temperatures slightly below zero you always have a film of muddy saltwater on your windscreen while the wipers still are partly frozen and will not work properly. That in combination with approaching cars with bright lights makes it hard to see and much concentration is needed.

That instantly got better when I left the big road 95 (that would bring me to Bodø in Norway) right after Jörn. The smaller roads are covered with ice and hard snow – much easier to drive and the windscreen stays clear. And it looks much more like winter than a wet road. And while in Skelleftehamn even the duck pond is open, here the lakes and some small streams are ice and snow covered.

I continued the road and drove to Storklinten, a small ski hill. Well, it wasn’t so interesting yet with only round about 10 cm snow, but the lake nearby – Lill-Klintträsket – was really nice. It started snowing and the tree covered hills farther away seemed to vanish into a white nothing.

The way to Storklinten is a dead-end road and I had to return. I continued the larger road to Myrheden looking for motives. And I found one. The small river Ålsån:

I was glad I had my chest waders with me, so I could come quite near to the motive. And there were a lot of motives this day. For example reindeers. The first small flock was extremely shy and cautious. It didn’t dare to pass my car and left the road starring at me suspiciously from behind the small trees. You can see that they digged for food in the snow, the noses are snow covered and one of the reindeers even had a twig hanging in its antlers.

Further on the road: Town signs with funny looking names (there was even a village called Hej, which is Swedish for hello), more snow covered roads and trees and two extremely well educated reindeers going beside the road in single file.

I’m looking for motive especially, where there are crash barriers beside of the road – there the street will probably cross a river or a creek. Some of them are open, many broader ones with less current are already covered with ice. And on one of them – far away – I could see a reddish animal and some dark spots. A fox? Birds? I looked for the next parking opportunity – sometimes a real challenge – and walked back.

I was right: There was a fox. And some kind of skeleton, perhaps a roe deer or a reindeer. And some crows. And an eagle! It doesn’t happen often, that I see eagles nearby where I live. I made some photos with my tele lens. Zooming in I could even see some magpies hopping around hoping for a snack. The scene was much too far away to get good pictures, but anyway, I want to show you this one:

After a while I started to get hungry. My car too; the red R-lamp has been glowing for a while. Anyway, the town Arvidsjaur, todays destination, was not so far away anymore. As people in former days first fed their horses before eating themselves I first tanked my car with E95, then myself with beef, mashed potato, mushroom sauce and salad. Then I looked around in the city which I think is really nice. Especially in winter with snow – round 20 cm today.

Even if the “real winter” is not here yet the days are already quite short: Sunset in Arvidsjaur was a quarter past two! At three o’clock I started to use the car’s full beam, half an hour later it was quite dark. Time to head home. I couldn’t see any motives any longer and I navigated to the main road. Now driving became exhausting again for a while since it started to snow quite heavily. And if you use full beam while snowing you just see a tunnel of snow flakes swooshing towards you. It’s a big like old televisions science fiction series, when the spaceships activated their warp-drives. And as in space there is no up or down. The second photo may give you a faint idea.

Luckily the snow shower ended soon and the rest of the trip was just about coming home.

400 km and 500 meters – 11 hours 30 minutes – a straining but great one day trip winterwards.

Back again in Skelleftehamn: Snow is gone, it’s pitch black and it’s raining cats and dogs.

Hello Winter – good bye winter

So typical – I leave and winter comes

It’s not the first time that winter comes to Skelleftehamn when I leave it for a week. Yesterday I travelled to Germany and – of course! – winter came again.

The night before it just rained and the small layer of snow was completely gone but when I woke up it had started snowing again and the snow started to cover the grass in the front yard.

When I arrived at the airport it really looked like winter. A snow layer of 10 centimetres covered the parking place and thick snowflakes continued falling down.

At the airport you could see the snowploughs driving to and fro to free the runway. While I took these pictures I heard an announcement: Because of the weather the plane from Stockholm couldn’t land, it will make another try. The second try went well and the plane rolled to the terminal.

Destination Stockholm. We sat in the plane waiting for departure. It took more than an hour until the runway was clear and the airplane de-iced. Above the clouds the sun was shining and the snow was left behind. The sunset laid beautiful colours on the cloud layers.

Stockholm. On Facebook I could read, that 20-30 cm snow already has fallen at home and that it continued snowing. Even today it might snow the whole day according to the forecast. So it might come half a meter of snow or even more to Skelleftehamn. It’s so typical, that I’m abroad, and even more typical that the winter weather will end when I return.

I will update you about the weather, even if I cannot provide you with photos.