Grande finale

So this is it for now! Last night was the grande finale of the wilderness guide course that I have been taking in Kuusamo, Finland. The course that I have participated in is giving me a so-called competence based qualification for the work as a guide. The course is a vocational course, and there is no written final examination like for example in universities. Instead of written examination, there is a practical examination. You are showing your skills in real work situation. The person responsible for evaluating your performance in the examination will be present in the examination situation. The person responsible for the evaluation has also the authority to grant the qualification when the student has passed the examination.

The course that I have participated in, has two months of training in real work places. First month of training was in September and another was now in January-February. I was doing the both training periods in a place called Basecamp Oulanka, which is a hotel-, restaurant- and activity center in Kuusamo. During my winter training perios, I have been able to plan and execute my own product at Basecamp. My product is an night time snowshoeing trip in forest and on the lake ice. During the trip, the participants get a chance to experience the natural darkness and silence, and if weather permits, also the starry night sky and northern lights!

In my examination, I was participating in the night time snowshoeing trip as an assistant guide last night. There was the pricipal guide, me and the evaluator and also 13 clients with us! We were very lucky last night, the sky was clear enought that we could see quite a lot of stars and also some northern lights! And after the trip, there was the evaluation session. I was quite satisfied of the feedback, and I was mostly getting the best grades in evaluation! So I think I have been performing very well! Of course there is always something where you can improve your performance, but so far I’m quite happy with the results! But the course is not over yet, we are still going to be making a cross-country skiing trip with the students and then the last day of the course will be 13th of March, when we are going to get the certificates for passing the course and the examination!

From now on, I’m going to be building up my own northern lights guiding business. At the beginning, it is most likely going to be a part-time thing, which I’m going to do working in my day job. What I’m going to do as my day job is still a little bit unclear, but I’ sure that I will know more about that later in the spring.

Here is a photo from last nights trip:

The clients, starry sky and northern lights in Kuusamo, Finland 13./14.2.2015
The clients, starry sky and northern lights in Kuusamo, Finland 13./14.2.2015

Northern lights time lapse, September 2014

This is my most successfull attempt in making a northern lights time lapse video so far! This video is from September (22./23.9.2014) last year, when pretty nice northern lights were dancing over the sky of Kuusamo, Finland!

Please watch the video and see for yourself! Please leave me a comment about whether you liked the video or not.


Wonderful aurora display and comet PanSTARRS

Observed phenomena: Aurora borealis
Date: 17./18.3.2013
Time: 13:00-15:00
Observing place: Turku, Finland
Observing method: Photography
Technical information about photographing equipment: Camera: Canon EOS 1100D, lens: Canon EF-S 18-55mm IS, Samyang 8mm fish eye
Observing conditions: Clear sky, 32% Moon in southern sky, light pollution

Description: this time we decided to go to observe the comet PanSTARRS with Linda to the top of Luolavuori -hill (height 65m/213ft) in southern Turku. The hill is situated in the sub-urban area, and thus the sky is light-polluted. The positive thing about this place is the fact, that the horizon is totally open to all directions from top of the hill! The downside of this is, that you have to carry your observing equipment all the way to the top of the hill..

This is a new place to me, and I haven’t been making any observing here before. It means, that there are no marker points in the horizon to help me to locate the comet, but I was finally able to find the comet about 20:00. Also some other people had gathered to the site to observe the comet. They were only casual skygazers, and they seemed to have no idea, about how/where to locate the comet. I started to look for the comet, and when I found it, I showed the comet to those people! They were really happy to see the comet!

I also took some photos of the comet with my Canon EOS 1100D and Canon EF-S 18-55mm IS. This time I didn’t have time to make a proper observation about the comet, because of the intensive aurora storm and because of the public nature of this observing session.

About the same time than I was looking for the comet, bright aurora borealis started to flame around the sky! The aurora display started very quickly to become an aurora display of really great magnitude! I haven’t observed an aurora display like this in southern Finland since year 2003! In this display, all imaginable colours of the aurora were present, and especially red and blue were really intensive! We watched and photographed this wonderful natural display at least for an hour before going home..

Aurora borealis 17.3.2013

Comet PanSTARRS 17.3.2013