Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Icicles and frosted spiderwebs

with 36 comments

On my February 16th walk in Great Hills Park I spent a lot of time photographing large icicles, several of which you’ve seen in recent posts. Alongside some of those icicles I noticed what I took to be frosted spiderwebs, as shown here. Have any of you ever seen that?

UPDATE: Here’s a closer view of the frosted strands from another picture:

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 25, 2021 at 4:40 AM

36 Responses

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  1. Oh that’s great. Also great that the spiders are frozen stiff, I hope. No, I’ve seen lots of “bedewed” webs but never iced like that.

    Robert Parker

    February 25, 2021 at 6:27 AM

    • Funny, I hadn’t thought about the spiders; I somehow assumed the webs were old, and the spiders long gone. Like you, I’ve seen zillions of bedewed webs but don’t remember ever before seeing frosted ones. They’re grrreat.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 25, 2021 at 6:42 AM

  2. Spectacular icicles !

    picpholio

    February 25, 2021 at 6:39 AM

    • They were spectacular—literally something to be looked at. I spent more of my time photographing icicles than anything else, given how rarely large icicles form in our normally mild winters.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 25, 2021 at 6:44 AM

  3. I’ve seen plenty of dewy webs, but never a frosted or frozen one. I wonder if I might have seen one at the marinas during the worst of it. Before the freeze there were more than the usual number of webs, so it’s possible. What’s intrigued me this week is the number of baby spiders I’ve found on the boats. I have no idea how they survived, but just yesterday I saw a half-dozen, along with one cucumber beetle and one bee. Life’s going on, for sure.

    shoreacres

    February 25, 2021 at 7:26 AM

    • Yes, life goes on. Yesterday here the temperature hit 86°; hard to believe that just 10 days age civilization retreated and we lived through a frighteningly cold ordeal.

      I found this article about spiders and cold weather:
      https://www.burkemuseum.org/collections-and-research/biology/arachnology-and-entomology/spider-myths/myth-spiders-come-indoors

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 25, 2021 at 7:40 AM

      • What an interesting article! Even though I’ve heard and used the phrase “house spider,” I always assumed spiders I found inside had wandered in looking for something: food, water, warmth.

        I was surprised by the ability of some outdoor spiders to survive such extreme conditions. I’ll confess that this made me smile: “They don’t shiver or get uncomfortable when it’s cold, they just become less active and eventually, dormant.” After my second Moderna vaccine on Thursday, I experienced the full range of side effects, and haven’t had shivers and chills like that since I had malaria. The more I shivered, the less active I became, but as luck would have it, I got over it before full dormancy was achieved. Today, I feel normal again. Forty-eight hours was enough.

        shoreacres

        February 27, 2021 at 8:28 AM

        • Congratulations on getting your second dose, side effects notwithstanding. In Austin it’s been hard for people, even people of our age, to get vaccinated. For a month we’ve been scheduled for March 23. Yesterday I lucked out and managed to find three open slots at a WalMart in Killeen for this coming Thursday. I signed Eve up for one and immediately went to sign myself up for another but the other two slots had already disappeared.

          Steve Schwartzman

          February 27, 2021 at 11:03 AM

          • I just saw a somewhat plugged-in Austin resident mention online that UT Austin has more vaccine than recipients. You never know, but it might be worth checking out.

            shoreacres

            February 27, 2021 at 12:57 PM

            • He didn’t provide any sort of link: only the hint.

              shoreacres

              February 27, 2021 at 1:00 PM

              • Thanks. I checked the UT website and found this: “Due to a limited supply of the COVID-19 vaccine and a high volume of patient registrations at UT Health Austin, please expect a possible delay of several weeks to even months before receiving your notice to schedule an appointment for your vaccination.” Looks like I’ll be staying with my March 23rd appointment.

                Steve Schwartzman

                February 27, 2021 at 2:11 PM

  4. Ice crystals often form in strange patterns. But if these are frosted spider webs, I did not see them before, Steve. By now all these icy creations must have melted away in Texas.

    Peter Klopp

    February 25, 2021 at 9:42 AM

    • Yes, all the snow and ice had completely vanished days ago. Yesterday it was 86°F (30°C) here.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 25, 2021 at 11:17 AM

      • Wow! That is an extreme weather change.

        Peter Klopp

        February 26, 2021 at 9:00 AM

        • The extreme cold was the unaccustomed part. Having an occasional day above 80° near the end of February isn’t that unusual here.

          Steve Schwartzman

          February 26, 2021 at 9:30 AM

  5. Snow to 86 degrees? Soon those snowy woods and gigantic icicles will be remembered fondly.

    Lavinia Ross

    February 25, 2021 at 10:30 AM

    • “Soon” already happened days ago. In spite of our ordeal, I was sorry to see all the white gone, with the plants on the ground looking so bedraggled and unattractive.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 25, 2021 at 11:19 AM

  6. Nope. Haven’t seen spiderwebs with frost on them. Then again, I only went outside on the 15th, for an hour, and managed to get back inside before my fingers (in gloves) turned numb. Took a while for them to warm up. Certainly admire your dedication. What kind of warm apparel were you wearing (especially interested in gloves)?

    RobertKamper

    February 25, 2021 at 10:59 AM

    • My gloves were the ones I’ve had for ages, made of leather or pigskin. They did gradually soak through, though. I wore two pairs of woolen socks with long cotton ones over those and over my pants legs to make it easier to get them into my thigh-high rubber boots. I wore a long-sleeve undershirt, a regular long-sleeve shirt, a thick sweater, and my padded winter jacket with a hood.

      Yes, I was dedicated. I’ve lost track of how much time I spent taking pictures in the cold, but the total over various days must have been 8 or 10 hours—and some of those times it meant returning to a cold house.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 25, 2021 at 11:26 AM

      • Every time I come across one of your remarks about the time you spent documenting our beautiful horror, I’m reminded of how well Emily Brontë’s poem could fit your situation as a modern day photographer:

        The night is darkening ’round me,
        the wild winds coldly blow;
        But a tyrant spell has bound me
        and I cannot, cannot go.
        The giant trees are bending
        their bare boughs weighed with snow.
        And the storm is fast descending,
        and yet I cannot go.
        Clouds beyond clouds above me,
        wastes beyond wastes below;
        but nothing dear can move me;
        I cannot, will not go.

        shoreacres

        February 27, 2021 at 8:39 AM

        • “Beautiful horror” is a good way to put it. I’m happy to report that the tyrant spell didn’t bind me; I could not not go, and I went repeatedly, as you’ve been hearing.

          Steve Schwartzman

          February 27, 2021 at 11:08 AM

  7. Never seen that, but it’s super cool!

    KathyHenderson

    February 25, 2021 at 12:06 PM

  8. Nice!

    Eliza Waters

    February 25, 2021 at 6:17 PM

  9. […] In the previous post I’ve added a closer view of the frosted strands I take to be […]

  10. I’d have been very happy to find these also. More nice observations!

    Steve Gingold

    February 27, 2021 at 1:46 PM

    • Thanks. I can’t believe it’s the end of February and I’m showing ice rather than wildflowers.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 27, 2021 at 2:13 PM

  11. I’ve seen many a dewy web, but not yet a frosty one. What a wonderful find.

    krikitarts

    February 28, 2021 at 1:54 AM

    • ‘Twas Shakespeare who (almost) said “Full many a frostious morning have I seen.” Like you, I’d never seen frost on a spiderweb before. Yesterday in a different park I went back to photographing the dew on spiderwebs that we’ve all seen so many times. And speaking of going back, I heard that new virus cases have caused Auckland’s return to Alert Level 3.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 28, 2021 at 6:27 AM

  12. How amazing! I have never seen those.

    susurrus

    February 28, 2021 at 8:19 AM


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