Posts Tagged "spring"

Spring equinox, 2015 solar eclipse and supermoon

Posted by on 20. March 2015 in Blog / Journal, News & Events | Comments Off on Spring equinox, 2015 solar eclipse and supermoon

Spring equinox, 2015 solar eclipse and supermoon

Happy first day of (astronomical) spring. On Friday, March 20th spring will officially arrive on the prairies at 4:45 p.m. CST. When I woke up this morning, the ground was covered with a thin layer of fresh snow. Not exactly a spring-like weather.     Let’s then celebrate the vernal equinox, one of only two days of the year when all places on Earth (outside of the polar regions) see the sun rise at due east and set at due west along the horizon. Remember that when you set up your camera to capture the sunrise or sunset this week. The sun appears directly overhead at Earth’s equator and all latitudes get approximately equal amount of daylight and darkness. Actually, the sun has been up for more than 12 hours over the last three days. What’s up with that? Sunrise is defined as the first appearance of sun’s circle above the horizon, and sunset as the last moment we see the sun’s circle before it falls below the horizon. Thanks to atmospheric refraction,  an optical phenomenon that causes light from the sun to bend while passing through the Earth atmosphere, the sun circle appears slightly higher on the horizon that it is in reality. Together, these factors add a few extra minutes of daylight to the equinox.     An even more interesting astronomical event occurred this morning – a total solar eclipse. Unfortunately, the eclipse was not visible from North America. The best places to see it was in North Atlantic, south of Iceland, Faroe Islands and Swalbard, a remote archipelago in northern Norway.   Here is an animated gif showing from where the partial and total solar eclipse could be seen. The small black spot that passes within the elliptical shadow (area where you can see a partial eclipse) is the best area to see the total eclipse. Animation source: NASA Solar Eclipse web site. We will have to wait 19 years, until March 20, 2034, to get solar eclipse and spring (vernal) equinox on the same day. To add to the excitement, the moon on Thursday evening was a “supermoon”. This is a point when the moon reached lunar perigee, its orbit’s at closest distance to Earth.  The moon was in a new phase and not visible. If the moon were visible last night, it would appear slightly larger in the sky. Think positive. The spring equinox marks the half-way point between the dark days of winter and the long, sunny days of summer. Over the next few weeks we will experience the most dramatic gain in the length of daylight hours....

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Wild about Saskatoon – 2014 NatureCity Festival field trip

Posted by on 23. May 2014 in Blog / Journal, News & Events | Comments Off on Wild about Saskatoon – 2014 NatureCity Festival field trip

Wild about Saskatoon – 2014 NatureCity Festival field trip

I will be leading a nature photography field trip to Saskatoon’s Northeast Swale on Sunday, May 25, 2014 from 4 to 6 p.m. We will explore a beautiful natural prairie landscape at the north edge of town and focus out lenses on wild critters and close-up details. This field trip is part of the Wild about Saskatoon NatureCity Festival and there is no charge to join. The nature photography field trip will take place immediately after the Prairie Birds, Flowers and Butterflies trip led by members of the Saskatoon Nature Society (2 – 4 p.m.). Come early and learn about things you will be photographing later in a warm afternoon light. Bring your camera, snacks and drinking water. Optional but recommended: tripod and a macro lens (or a zoom lens that can focus close enough to photograph lichens on rocks). We will be walking on rough terrain; please bring shoes with adequate ankle support. Event will be cancelled in case of heavy rain. How to get there: we will meet at the entrance to Northeast Swale on Lowe Road. Drive north on Central Ave, turn right on Agra Road, turn left onto Lowe Road –  NE Swale is next to the slough on the east side of road. Look for the NatureCity Festival sign. If you reach the Saskatchewan Wildlife Federation building, you have gone too far. Follow this link to see a map showing the meeting place at Northeast Swale.   About the 2014 Saskatoon NatureCity Festival   Wild about Saskatoon’s second annual NatureCity Festival starts on Saturday, May 24 with a warm-up event at the Farmer’s Market at 10 a.m., and runs for a full week until Saturday, May 31 with a varied program of (mostly free) mini-adventures and urban nature events for all ages. In addition to the general calendar of events, the Festival also includes special programming designed for school groups, and two workshops for urban conservation practitioners. Saskatoon City Council has declared May 25 – 31 as the  NatureCity Festival Week. The Festival program includes riverboat runs, adventure hikes, forums of urban agriculture, bird-watching sessions, wetland dips (to look for small critters), face painting for kids, art exhibits and music events, and much, much more. About 80 organizations and businesses are involved in coordinating the events. There will be 3 special presentations at the Roxy Theatre (invited keynote speakers): Cam Collyer from the Evergreen Foundation (Toronto) will talk about how communities across the country are connecting kids with nature. Cam will be joined on stage by students from the Outdoor School and Earthkeepers Program, and there will be on-screen display of nature art from Georges Vanier Catholic Fine Arts School. Grant Pearsell, an internationally recognized leader in the urban biodiversity movement will come from Edmonton to talk about the efforts in cities around the world to protect plant and animal species in urban environments. Michelle Molnar, and Environmental Economist and Policy Analyst at the David Suzuki Foundation will come from Vancouver to talk about the economic value of urban wetlands and explore the benefits that wetlands provide to Saskatoon residents. The goal of the NatureCity Festival is to change how people who live in Saskatoon see their city, and especially, how they live in the city. On a lighter note, here are two videos created by Cole Anderson and Dani Henderson, grade 8 students from the EcoQuest Program at Buena Vista School in Saskatoon. They were assisted by Shauna Solloway and their teacher, Jana Miller. Make sure that the sound on your computer is turned on. Cole and Dani used a few of my...

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Nature photo walk in downtown Saskatoon

Posted by on 14. May 2014 in Blog / Journal, News & Events | 4 comments

Nature photo walk in downtown Saskatoon

Last weekend I led a nature photography field trip as part of the 2014 Jane’s Walk in Saskatoon. In spite of the cold and breezy weather, an enthusiastic crow of about 20 people joined me for a photo walk along the Meewasin Trail in downtown Saskatoon. We captured the intricate details of budding trees, patterns & shapes in vegetation not yet hidden behind the leaf cover, and enjoyed the view of Saskatoon skyline across the South Saskatchewan River. Here are a few images captured during the photo walk. Many thanks to everyone for supporting the event, and to my friend Ian Preston who documented some of the social aspects of the photo walk. I will be leading a similar photo walk in a natural area on the outskirts of Saskatoon during the Wild about Saskatoon NatureCity Festival at the end of May. Join us for a nature walk & photography at Northeast Swale on Sunday, May 25, 2014 at 4 pm. More details are listed on the Festival Events page. Update – I received a lengthy feedback from one of the photo walk participants and decided to post a portion of it here (with permission): “Branimir … You provided knowledge & experience( yours & enhancing that of the participants) on a chilly Sunday morning. Your advice, demonstration and good humour was appreciated by the participants who were very enthusiastic about their morning learning experience. All the photos of the walk itself show a group of people smiling but obviously intent on learning! Thank you so much!”          ...

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Jane’s Walk – explore nature in the city through a photo walk

Posted by on 26. April 2014 in Blog / Journal, News & Events | Comments Off on Jane’s Walk – explore nature in the city through a photo walk

Jane’s Walk – explore nature in the city through a photo walk

Next Sunday (May 4th, 2014) I will be leading a nature photography walk as part of the Jane’s Walk festival in Saskatoon. Goal of the festival is for residents to explore their city and connect with neighbours. Theme of the walk that I will be leading is  Nature photography in downtown Saskatoon. We will ‘Meet our City’ by taking a leisurely walk along the Meewasin Trail in downtown Saskatoon. We will focus our cameras on natural subjects found in Cosmopolitan and Kiwanis Memorial Park. This event is completely free to attend and not physically demanding. All you need is your camera and free spirit. And a rain jacket, just in case. We will meet at 9 a.m. at the stone cairn in Cosmopolitan Park (near the corner of Saskatchewan Crescent East and Broadway Avenue, just east of the Broadway Bridge). The walk will last approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes and you can see the route map on the Saskatoon Jane’s Walk web site. Jane’s Walk is a movement of free, locally led walking tours. They are inspired by Jane Jacobs (1916-2006), an urbanist and activist whose writings championed a fresh, community-based approach to city planning. She advocated for cities that include old buildings (to support enterprises that can not afford to set up a shop in overpriced new constructions), cities that are not destroyed by the omnipresence of automobiles, and cities which are based on diversity. The Walks are a global movement: first held in 2007, over 200 cities take part in the program held annually during the first weekend in May to coincide with her birthday. More than 20 walks are planned for Saskatoon from May 2 – May 4, 2014. Check out the list of tours planned for Saskatoon. There will be an information session at the Frances Morrison Library on Thursday, May 1st from 7 to 9 p.m. The kick-off for Jane’s Walk weekend includes an evening of film, poetry, discussion, and snacks. We will see two short films: Jack Sures: A Sensual Touch and Mama Earth: Her Destiny – Our Hands....

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Happy first day of spring

Posted by on 20. March 2014 in Blog / Journal, Photography | Comments Off on Happy first day of spring

Happy first day of spring

Spring is arriving a day earlier this year; vernal (spring) equinox in Saskatoon falls on Thursday, March 20 at 10:57 a.m. CST. March equinox, the date when day and night are same length, marks the beginning of spring in Northern Hemisphere. The term equinox is a derivative of the Latin word equinoxium, which literally means “equality between day and night”. For our friends down under, today is the first day of autumn (fall). The exact day is not the same from year to year. This has to do with the number of calendar days in a year, not the equinox itself. It takes the Earth 365.256 days to complete one full revolution around the Sun. However, the Georgian calendar we use rounds the year down to 365 days and does not account for the extra 0.256 days that is left over. So the spring equinox may fall on March 20 or March 21, depending on the year when our calendar catches up with the solar calendar. With the rapid snow melt we have experienced this week, warmer temperatures green grass should be just around the corner. I talked to my mom in Croatia over the weekend; they already have had daily temperatures of over 20 C. Do you know why the spring brings warmer temperatures? Because the Earth’s axis of rotation (the end pointing to the North) is tilted towards the Sun which means longer daylight hours and more sunlight that warms up the environment. Spring equinox signals the time when plants emerge, animals become more active, and flowers begin to bloom. It is the beginning of nature’s renewal, start of a new growing season. Here is an image gallery with Signs of Spring:  ...

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