Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Icicles and tangled branches

with 28 comments

On February 16th I went into Great Hills Park from the Floral Park Dr. entrance and cut over to the main creek as soon as possible. At a rock overhang on the creek’s west bank I found that many icicles had formed amid a tangle of dead branches. Let’s hear it for complexity.

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 23, 2021 at 4:38 AM

Posted in nature photography

Tagged with , , , , ,

28 Responses

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  1. Oh what a tangled web we weave
    As it says in that old poetic wheeze
    When first we practice to deep freeze.

    Robert Parker

    February 23, 2021 at 6:49 AM

    • Well said. The deep freeze had me out practicing my rarely exercised snow and ice skills.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 23, 2021 at 8:49 AM

    • I’d forgotten that in Jane Eyre Charlotte Brontë mentioned “Marmion,” from which the original quotation comes.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 23, 2021 at 9:07 AM

      • “Breathes there the man, with schedule so empty,” he’s got time to wade through Sir Walter Scott’s poems, much less the novels. I’ve never read more than a few quotations.

        Robert Parker

        February 23, 2021 at 9:23 AM

        • I’ve read little by Scott (maybe Ivanhoe in high school), but I have read and enjoyed Jayne Eyre. You prompted me to look up the original of your second parody:

          Breathes there the man, with soul so dead,
          Who never to himself hath said,
          This is my own, my native land!
          Whose heart hath ne’er within him burn’d,
          As home his footsteps he hath turn’d,
          From wandering on a foreign strand!
          If such there breathe, go, mark him well;
          For him no Minstrel raptures swell;
          High though his titles, proud his name,
          Boundless his wealth as wish can claim;
          Despite those titles, power, and pelf,
          The wretch, concentred all in self,
          Living, shall forfeit fair renown,
          And, doubly dying, shall go down
          To the vile dust, from whence he sprung,
          Unwept, unhonour’d, and unsung.

          Steve Schwartzman

          February 23, 2021 at 9:40 AM

  2. The icicles look great in the arc of the tree trunk, Steve. Do I see a patch of blue in the background?

    Peter Klopp

    February 23, 2021 at 8:03 AM

    • Yes. The morning started out sunny. By the time I finished up, though, the sky had clouded over.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 23, 2021 at 8:52 AM

  3. Those are some monster icicles!


    February 23, 2021 at 8:14 AM

    • They sure are, so you can imagine how gratified I was to photograph them and others equally long and thick, like the ones that appeared two posts back.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 23, 2021 at 8:55 AM

  4. I loved the composition. They look like dragon’s teeth!

    Lavinia Ross

    February 23, 2021 at 11:10 AM

  5. Only a true artist would seek and find such beauty amid such trouble. Thanks! Margie Roe

    Margie Roe

    February 24, 2021 at 7:43 AM

    • You’re welcome. There was nothing I could do about the prolonged power outage. There was a lot I could do with the opportunity for pictures of snow and ice, and do it I did.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 24, 2021 at 9:08 AM

  6. Nice Texas-size icicles.The branch curve offers a nice bit of frame.

    Steve Gingold

    February 24, 2021 at 6:11 PM

    • I photographed plenty of isolated icicles. The added tangles of branches made for an unexpectedly welcome variation on the theme.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 25, 2021 at 7:15 AM

  7. The small white branches surrounding the icicles are a pleasing addition to the image. The icicles and curved trunk attracted my eye first, but those smaller branches are lagniappe.

    I’ve been surprised this week by how pleasing the varieties of brown and ivory are. There are mahogany-colored leaves, and pure white fern fronds. If I hadn’t needed to get back to work, it would have been a perfect time to capture a different sort of image. Palm fronds have been especially intriguing; some have retained green where the stems attach, while the rest turns brown. Have you noticed the same thing? We may be just far enough south from you that the level of damage is different. Much of the ‘bi-color’ is gone now, as the foliage continues to die.


    February 25, 2021 at 8:16 AM

    • Yes, not just great icicles, but two kinds of dead branches, brown and white. I can’t say I’ve noticed what you described. I don’t often see palmettos here, but it just so happens that two days ago we went to Spring Lake in San Marcos, where we did see some palmettos. I didn’t pay a lot of attention to them because it was the color of the water and the vegetation on and in it that attracted me. Still, I don’t recall noticing anything unusually bicolor about those palmetto leaves.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 25, 2021 at 8:48 AM

  8. The infinite variety of icicles.


    February 26, 2021 at 7:01 AM

    • That’s something you’ve had a lot more experience with than I have—and one reason I spent so much time photographing icicles here while I could.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 26, 2021 at 7:13 AM

  9. Cool find. I like the way the rock frames it on the left.


    February 26, 2021 at 11:31 AM

    • Yes, that indentation in the rock is special and does serve as a good frame. On the technical side, I was sorry I couldn’t get the lower left corner quite in focus even at f/14, but the important thing was to get all the icicles and branches sharp, which I did.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 26, 2021 at 12:31 PM

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