Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Ice and Ashe junipers

with 18 comments

Of all the kinds of trees in Austin, Ashe junipers (Juniperus ashei) seem to have been the hardest hit by the February ice storm, with the weight of the accumulated ice causing many large limbs to break. That was the fate of several in our yard. What else could a photographer do but look for opportunities in the wreckage? An Ashe juniper on our front lawn yielded these three pictures (and more) on February 19th.

The second view looks straight upward. The last strikes me as a bent ice nail.

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 14, 2021 at 4:36 AM

18 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. The top photograph is especially lovely – but sad. Will the trees themselves survive?

    Ann Mackay

    March 14, 2021 at 6:29 AM

    • The tree people cut off this broken limb and those on other Ashe junipers in our yard. Other than losing limbs, the affected trees appear to be doing okay.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 14, 2021 at 7:54 AM

  2. To appreciate the beauty of the ice crystals I again enlarged your photos. It’s too bad that the ice created so much damage to your trees, Steve.

    Peter Klopp

    March 14, 2021 at 7:29 AM

    • Mainly I was grateful that no limb came crashing down on our house. That did happen to some people, who then had to get the roof repaired. In our yard the weight of the ice caused some branches to lean down far enough to touch our roof, but they don’t seem to have done any damage. I had the tree people remove several leaning trees so they wouldn’t threaten the house in future storms.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 14, 2021 at 9:11 AM

  3. Always hard to see your landscaping broken down. Hope you were able to salvage them.

    Eliza Waters

    March 14, 2021 at 7:52 AM

    • The tree people we use cut off all the broken branches. As a precaution I had them entirely remove several leaning Ashe junipers so they wouldn’t threaten the house in future storms.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 14, 2021 at 9:20 AM

  4. Great shots with those details!


    March 14, 2021 at 9:07 AM

    • Despite the damage, the ice storm gave me the opportunity of a lifetime (at least in Austin) for ice pictures.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 14, 2021 at 9:21 AM

  5. Great that you have made lemonade out of this lemon situation, Steve. Your photos are delightful. I espec. like the first one.

    Jet Eliot

    March 14, 2021 at 10:55 AM

    • Or shall we say cedarade (cedar being the colloquial name for these junipers)? I reveled in all the unaccustomed chances for portraits of ice, especially icicles.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 14, 2021 at 12:58 PM

  6. I’m happy to see you embracing the gift of the ice storm! Sometimes we fail to see the beauty in Mother Nature’s more violent side. Your ice photos have been remarkable. And as we have seen here with the ice damage from last October (which we are still working on cleanup and trimming back) there are many aspects of nature thriving that was a result of what we often see as tragic.


    March 14, 2021 at 11:30 AM

    • I can well believe that you’re still cleaning up from the similar storm that hit you last October. It’s been only a month for us, so as I drive around I see plenty of piles of brush, along with many hanging broken limbs not yet dealt with. Alongside all that, the land is greening up and wildflowers are already making their appearance as if nothing had happened.

      Embrace the gift I did: during our difficult time in February I went out and took pictures on seven days, alternating between Great Hills Park and our yard.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 14, 2021 at 1:04 PM

  7. I loved these compositions! You find some very beautiful things among Nature’s wreckage, Steve.

    Lavinia Ross

    March 14, 2021 at 12:20 PM

    • I’m happy to hear that you loved these pictures. I certainly felt excitement in looking for good compositions in the wreckage—and outside the destruction, too.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 14, 2021 at 1:23 PM

  8. The first photo reminds me of a palapa with the rain streaming down. As for the last, I certainly can see a bent nail — quite realistic, actually — but my first thought was of an inchworm. I love the way they wave around in the air as if trying to decide where to go next.


    March 14, 2021 at 3:28 PM

    • From split juniper to palm frond I follow you. You’ve reminded me of a restaurant in Austin called La Palapa, which in turn reminds me of Lapu Lapu, the Philippine chief who dispatched Magellan and thereby gave the lie to what our elementary school teachers told us, namely that Magellan was the first person to sail around the world. From bent nail to inchworm I also follow you, having witnessed both and occasionally photographed the latter.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 14, 2021 at 4:28 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 )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google 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: