Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Return to a cliff

with 30 comments

Until yesterday I hadn’t taken any nature pictures since December 18th. Yesterday morning, though, I read a post at Pairodox about the frigid weather that has descended on large parts of the country, and how the author braved the cold to take pictures of ice. Central Texas isn’t Pennsylvania, but even here the temperature had been below freezing for much of the last two days, so I felt inspired to see if I could also find some ice to photograph. I drove the half mile downhill to Great Hills Park and walked through the woods to the cliff that you saw in a post last November.

I wasn’t disappointed, because hanging from a section of that same ledge I now found a row of icicles:

Icicles on Cliff 9191

Click for greater clarity and size.

© 2014 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 8, 2014 at 6:06 AM

30 Responses

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  1. Wicked icicles!!!


    January 8, 2014 at 6:09 AM

    • There were times when I was under the icicles, and if one had fallen on me I would have used the word wicked in its literal sense, but I’m assuming you meant it in its slang sense.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 8, 2014 at 6:16 AM

      • Yes, I did :), but silly man what were you doing standing under icicles. That’s very dangerous!!


        January 8, 2014 at 6:18 AM

        • I took this picture from a distance because these icicles were high up on the cliff, but there were some smaller ones lower down that I could photograph more closely if I walked through the creek to the base of the cliff. I did that (I’d had the foresight to wear thigh-high waterproof boots), and I ended up with the larger icicles about 80° above me. I hope that 10° was enough of a safety margin. I’ll admit, though, that I sometimes take risks for the sake of my pictures.

          Steve Schwartzman

          January 8, 2014 at 6:36 AM

          • Me too :). One day I rolled head over heels down into a ditch with high heels on trying to get a picture of a baby lamb. I was a little dirty when I got to work, but I got the shot!!!


            January 8, 2014 at 7:17 AM

  2. During our Hocking Hills hike in OH in December we got near some icicles 6′ long. Not under.

    Jim in IA

    January 8, 2014 at 6:48 AM

    • What you experienced up north (readers, take a look) was a fantasy land of ice that central Texas will never be able to come close to. By the warm standards that prevail down here, one row of good icicles is as much of a treat as we’re likely to get until a supervolcano erupts somewhere and plunges us into worldwide winter. (Can you tell I watched a PBS program about mighty volcanic eruptions the other night?)

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 8, 2014 at 6:58 AM

      • Or, perhaps an asteroid will send us into global winter. Unpleasant thoughts.

        Thanks for the tip to your readers. It was a fantasy-land sort of hike for us.

        Jim in IA

        January 8, 2014 at 7:13 AM

  3. Unbelievable weather the USA is experiencing right now! And a very wet UK. No icicles here yet, though we’ve still a while to go before winter ends. I always had the impression that Texas was a hot dry state, until my husband visited Dallas a few years ago in an Ice Storm!!


    January 8, 2014 at 6:49 AM

    • Dallas is 200 miles north of Austin, far enough north of here that cold winds more often sweep down from Canada and bring at least a little snow and ice each winter. On the other hand, 200 miles isn’t enough to keep Dallas from having the long, sweltering summers that we do in Austin.

      Once in a while Austin gets an ice storm. I think the last one was seven years ago, and I spent three hours on each of two successive days out in the cold taking advantage of the rare chance to photograph ice-covered plants. During the current cold spell my area had no precipitation at all, not even any frost for me to photograph.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 8, 2014 at 7:05 AM

  4. OH my gosh you just reminded me that with the temperatures and my ankle not getting out…I am missing the glittering and the music of the ice formed along the river!! I wonder if 5 degrees will cause harm to the sigma or to her lenses…


    January 8, 2014 at 7:17 AM

    • It’s worth exploring that icy world if you can. I doubt 5° will harm your camera gear, but when you bring it back inside after being outdoors give it a while so any condensation on (or especially inside) the cold metal can dissipate. You may want to open things up to allow evaporation.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 8, 2014 at 7:28 AM

  5. Fabulous! Reminds me of stalactites in a cave 🙂

    • It does. The principle of formation is similar, but dripping water freezes a zillion time faster than minerals can precipitate out of water and get deposited.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 8, 2014 at 9:57 AM

  6. How nice that ice enticed your eye
    to claim that slice of life.
    Though, truth be told, it’s surely true you lingered not
    and sped home in a thrice.


    January 8, 2014 at 8:52 AM

    • … or, better:

      How nice that ice enticed your eye
      to claim that slice of life.
      Though, truth be told, you no doubt chose to linger not
      and sped home in a thrice.

      In any event, a wonderful photo. A little decoration always makes the cold more bearable.


      January 8, 2014 at 9:22 AM

      • And nice going with twice the versions: variety is the spice of life.

        And now I’ll venture to be precise:
        Bearing the cold was a sacrifice.

        Steve Schwartzman

        January 8, 2014 at 10:16 AM

    • Truth to tell, I lingered a little over two hours in the cold, and the bottom of my left foot ended up feeling like there was a lump inside the skin. It’s one of the prices that nature photographers pay.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 8, 2014 at 10:06 AM

  7. Hey, hey … there they are! Glad to have been able to provide the motivation to get you outside in those boots! Your image even has a bit of color in it in the bargain. Your earlier note suggested there might be more in the queue … I’ll be looking for them.

    Also … thank you very much for the separate suggestion that I take a look at my settings to adjust my local time. You know, I had always wondered why the WordPress ‘day’ differed from mine! Thanks for taking the time to notice and to point this out to me. Now I’ve got one less thing to nag that OCD nerve.


    Pairodox Farm

    January 9, 2014 at 5:26 AM

    • Yes, I will have a few more pictures from that cold morning once I figure out where to squeeze them into the existing queue, which has stretched to about three weeks because I took so many photographs in November and the first part of December.

      I’m on my second pair of those thigh-high rubber boots. The first developed a leak, which I patched, but then the rubber itself began to deteriorate along fold lines, and I could see the timewriting on the sidewall, so to speak.

      I think I was a year into WordPress before I stumbled on the way to localize the time, and two years before I noticed there was a setting to control the number of levels of embedding I could have in a chain of comments and replies. I’d noticed some other blogs had comments embedded five or six levels deep, whereas mine only allowed three levels, and I’d falsely assumed the number was a function of the theme a person was using. Live and learn.

      One thing I noticed some months ago but put into practice for the first time only in this icicle post is the More command, which causes the e-mailed version of a post to show only the (variable) first portion of the post; at the end of that first portion is a link to carry people to the full post online. In this case, it was a way of keeping the photograph as a kind of surprise until after people read the preliminary text.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 9, 2014 at 6:30 AM

  8. Beautiful photograph. Thanks for venturing out and sharing!

  9. […] my other blog last week I posted a photograph of something we rarely see in central Texas, a row of icicles. That set me to thinking about the word icicle, which seems to be a compound of ice and the […]

  10. […] When I spent two hours out in the cold at Great Hills Park on the morning of January 7th, I found this little world in the flattened globe of ice that had formed at the tip of a slender branch. Previously posted pictures from that wintry session showed ice forming around a fallen tree and icicles hanging from a cliff. […]

  11. […] the freezing morning of January 7th, it was to find “conventional” ice formations like the icicles and freezing creek you’ve already seen here and that many of you know so well from living in […]

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