Everything Else 

Hurricane Irma Part 5

September 24, 2017

As the mud settles, we keep finding more damage. All the floor boards are warping. The floor is tilting at odd angles and the doors are hard to open. Looking under the house, there is more damage to the foundation.

Hurricane Irma Part 4

More tidal surge damage.

Hurricane Irma Part 3

The mud has dried enough I could get under the house and check the foundation. There are multiple damaged piles. Many are tilting, several are cracked and one has split in half. 

All of the floor boards are warping. The floor in the southeast corner of the house is dropping down.

Broken Pile

Pile cracked at the top

Hurricane Irma Part 2

Before and After Photographs

Hurricane Irma Part 1

On September 10, 2017 Hurricane Irma struck Southwest Florida as a category 4 storm. This was the 57th anniversary of Hurricane Donna, which also struck Southwest Florida as a category 4 storm. As Irma passed to the north, Everglades City was inundated with 12-15 feet of sea water.

This video shows the damage done to our home in Everglades City. We are fortunate to have flood insurance. Our policy is administered by Hartford Insurance. They would prefer that we not move anything until an adjuster sees the damage. Unfortunately, most of the adjusters throughout the country are in Texas, helping with the Hurricane Harvey recovery. The rapid growth of mold on everything inside the home made it impossible to wait for an adjuster. This video documents what we found after the storm surge and the extent of the damage. As time permits I will also post before and after photographs of our home.

FWC collects evidence of a female panther north of Caloosahatchee River!

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) Panther Team has collected strong evidence a female Florida panther has finally crossed the Caloosahatchee River in southwest Florida.

You can see their  press release here.

Photos courtesy of FWC.

Aurora above Kleppjárnsstöðum

The two videos above are timelapse. The video below is realtime.

The Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) and Aurora Australis (Southern Lights) are the result of electrons colliding with the upper reaches of Earth’s atmosphere.  The electrons are energized through acceleration processes in the downwind tail (night side) of the magnetosphere and at lower altitudes along auroral field lines. The accelerated electrons follow the magnetic field of Earth down to the Polar Regions where they collide with oxygen and nitrogen atoms and molecules in Earth’s upper atmosphere. In these collisions, the electrons transfer their energy to the atmosphere thus exciting the atoms and molecules to higher energy states. When they relax back down to lower energy states, they release their energy in the form of light. This is similar to how a neon light works. The aurora typically forms 80 to 500 km above Earth’s surface.

Earth’s magnetic field guides the electrons such that the aurora forms two ovals approximately centered at the magnetic poles. During major geomagnetic storms these ovals expand away from the poles such that aurora can be seen over most of the United States. Aurora comes in several different shapes. Often the auroral forms are made of many tall rays that look much like a curtain made of folds of cloth. During the evening, these rays can form arcs that stretch from horizon to horizon. Late in the evening, near midnight, the arcs often begin to twist and sway, just as if a wind were blowing on the curtains of light. At some point, the arcs may expand to fill the whole sky, moving rapidly and becoming very bright. This is the peak of what is called an auroral substorm.

Then in the early morning the auroral forms can take on a more cloud-like appearance. These diffuse patches often blink on and off repeatedly for hours, then they disappear as the sun rises in the east. The best place to observe the aurora is under an oval shaped region between the north and south latitudes of about 60 and 75 degrees. At these polar latitudes, the aurora can be observed more than half of the nights of a given year.

When space weather activity increases and more frequent and larger storms and substorms occur, the aurora extends toward the equator. During large events, the aurora can be observed as far south as the US, Europe, and Asia. During very large events, the aurora can be observed even farther from the poles. Of course, to observe the aurora, the skies must be clear and free of clouds. It must also be dark so during the summer months at auroral latitudes, the midnight sun prevents auroral observations. 

Northern Lights Timelapse

Realtime Northern Lights

My friend Brian Hampton and I have returned to Iceland to continue our quest to photograph the Northern Lights. With the help of our friend and long time guide Kristján Kristjánsson, we found a great location close to the Hotel Husafell. Kristján was our guide when we photographed the Holuhraun eruption of the Bárðarbunga volcano.

The lights were very intense last night. The video is realtime, made possible with the technology available in the Sony alpha 7Sii camera. The video is about 9 minutes long.


In July we had the good fortune to visit the Pantanal of Brazil. 

Spending time with wild Jaguars along the Rio Cuiabá and its tributaries was a highlight of the trip. 

The tour was arranged by Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris. We traveled with them to Antarctica two years ago. They always do a good job

Our Van Os photo guide was Paul Bannick. Paul is an accomplished nature and bird photographer. His book Owl: A Year in the Lives of North American Owls will be published this October.

Our Brazilian guide was Paulo Boute. Paulo is one of the pioneering birders and ornithologists in Brazil. Paulo has over 35 years of experience guiding birders and photographers throughout Brazil.

During the dry season the jaguars come to the river to hunt. They are accustomed to seeing boats and people on the river as they search for their prey. This gave us the opportunity to spend many hours watching them.

The video below is of a young brother and sister. 

© Ralph Arwood 2018