Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography


with 37 comments

Here are three abstract views of nicicles (nice icicles) from February 17th in our yard.

You may be aware that the Icelandic word for ‘glacier’ is jökull. That’s the cognate [i.e. linguistic relative] of the -icle part of icicle. The original word that -icle was a diminutive of meant ‘ice,’ so icicle says the same thing twice. If we had the word wetwater it would be the same sort of redundancy. On another score, the only words in English that rhyme with icicle appear to be bicycle and tricycle; leave those vehicles out in a winter storm and you could end up with many a bicycle icicle or tricycle icicle.

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 2, 2021 at 4:39 AM

37 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. The large one in the first looks like a carrot.

    Steve Gingold

    March 2, 2021 at 7:13 AM

  2. Great photos of your nicicles, Steve! You are a master of photography and a juggler of words.

    Peter Klopp

    March 2, 2021 at 8:10 AM

  3. Nice nicicles, Steve. 🙂

    Eliza Waters

    March 2, 2021 at 9:21 AM

  4. Abstract perfection or perfect abstraction, or simply brilliant!

    marina kanavaki

    March 2, 2021 at 10:43 AM

  5. Lichenicles, Steve? Or simply nicicle reflections?


    March 2, 2021 at 10:50 AM

  6. I love the pure clarity of these icicles. That splash of green and deep amber color is nice too! It’s still hard to believe you got to experience a winter storm so far south. Good for you to get out there and make the best of it!!


    March 2, 2021 at 10:53 AM

    • What else could I do but make the best of it? I certainly suffered for the pictures I took and have been showing.

      The tree people finally made it here today; for the last three hours they’ve been removing broken limbs and cutting down tree branches and leaning trunks that overhang the house.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 2, 2021 at 2:46 PM

  7. Great shots. Icicles are so photogenic, aren’t they? Looking forward to the admission of “nicicles” in the American Heritage Dictionary. 🙂


    March 2, 2021 at 11:08 AM

    • Winter after winter I’d been seeing ice and icicle pictures from people up north and wishing for the chance to join in the photographic fun. Well, I finally got a crack at those photogenic things. Whether the American Heritage Dictionary will crack open its pages and admit nicicle remains to be seen.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 2, 2021 at 2:50 PM

  8. Ooooh, first photo’s awesome!

    Ms. Liz

    March 2, 2021 at 6:35 PM

  9. Great shots, Steve. Fascinating shapes and light.

    Jane Lurie

    March 2, 2021 at 8:58 PM

  10. If you play Monopoly or craps in a freezing rain, you might have dicicles. If you need herbs from your garden, you’d have spicicles. If your cat has been out hunting small rodents and/or if it has tiny skin parasites–well, never mind. That central white vein in your third image is especially intriguing.


    March 3, 2021 at 12:18 AM

    • Someone beat you to Spicicle, which I see is a kind of craft beer:

      I think the central white vein in the third image is an artifact of my ring flash. It’s unusual and didn’t seem discordant, so I left it in.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 3, 2021 at 4:46 AM

    • And speaking of Monopoly: I played it a lot when I was a kid, but now it’s been decades since my last game. The most recent connection to it I remember is that in 1985 in Barcelona I bought and brought home a local version in Catalan. Broadway, for example, is replaced by Passeig de Gràcia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Passeig_de_Gr%C3%A0cia,_Barcelona).

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 3, 2021 at 5:19 AM

      • I did look at prior comments and did not (and still don’t) see any other mention of spicicle. And, by the way, we played it in German in Berlin. Broadway (it was Boardwalk in the version we played in the US), was Schloßallee.


        March 3, 2021 at 3:37 PM

        • I made a thinko: you’re of course right that it’s Boardwalk, which I see Schloßallee translates to.

          Steve Schwartzman

          March 3, 2021 at 5:29 PM

        • I meant that somebody out there in the world, not in these comments, thought up spicicle.

          Steve Schwartzman

          March 3, 2021 at 5:33 PM

  11. The diagonal placement in the center photo is intriguing. It certainly caught my eye, and led to a few minutes of head-tilting and gravity-pondering. I finally decided the hand of the photographer had done the tilting rather than the hand of nature, but in either case, I like it.

    Now I’m thinking about carrots. The first large icicle does resemble a carrot, but now I’m wondering what it is in the development of carrots that leads some of them to have that bumpy, multi-sectional appearance. Something has to be in play, because many carrots are quite smooth.


    March 3, 2021 at 8:03 AM

    • The middle photograph is an example of something I occasionally do: disregard a subject’s true orientation in space and rotate the camera until I see something in the viewfinder that fills the frame nicely. So yes, it was the hand of the photographer that did the tilting.

      You’ve raised an interesting metaphysical question about the different shapes carrots can take as they develop. I wonder if botanists or horticulturalists know the answer.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 3, 2021 at 8:12 AM

  12. In the last image, I see a person who climbed a rope up to the top and is reaching higher! Could be reaching for the stars or Heaven. 😀😎Very cool abstract.


    March 4, 2021 at 6:19 PM

    • I see what you mean about that stylized, wispy white person at the top of the icicle. The “rope” and the “person” are actually artifacts created by my ring flash, which has to get the credit for stimulating your imagination.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 4, 2021 at 7:31 PM

  13. These unusual and shiny shapes are so well defined from the black background.


    March 12, 2021 at 2:34 PM

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: