Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Archive for February 8th, 2022

A second day of ice

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An adage tells us to strike while the iron is hot. For me it was strike while the ice is cold. The past three posts have shown you icicles in Great Hills Park on February 4th. The temperature got above freezing by that afternoon, which caused some of the ice to melt. Then the temperature dropped from the evening through the next morning, refreezing some of the water. Nothing for it but to head out again with my camera for more ice pictures on the morning of February 5th.

My first stop was Bull Creek District Park, where I found and photographed some “regular” icicles, including those descending from the overhang shown below. The surroundings added interest in their own right: mosses and ferns above, rock designs, textures, and colors below.

What really grabbed my attention, though, were the jumbles of fallen and partly melted and dripped on and then refrozen icicles like those in the top picture. Don’t know that I’d ever seen the likes of it, so of course I took a bunch of photographs.

The ferns in both pictures are once again southern maidenhair, Adiantum capillus-veneris. The Latin species name translates as ‘hair of Venus,’ and I’ve pointed out on other occasions that Venus, the lascivious Roman goddess of love, was hardly what we’d refer to as a maiden. English bowdlerized the biologists.

For those of you interested in the craft of photography, techniques 15 and the newly added 33 in About My Techniques apply to the top photograph in this post.


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As a follow-up to yesterday’s commentary, let me point out that after the Covid-19 pandemic hit the world in early 2019, two main theories emerged about its origin. One hypothesis held that the virus had come from bats and crossed over to humans through contact in a so-called wet market in China, probably via an intermediate animal like a pangolin. The other theory was based on the observation that the epidemic first broke out in the city of Wuhan just miles from the only level-four laboratory in China, where scientists had been working with bat viruses; the second theory held that Covid-19 had been created in that lab and accidentally escaped.

To this day no conclusive proof of either theory has emerged. Scientists have tested many animal species but have failed to turn up the proposed “missing link.” Chinese authorities refused to let international researchers examine the Wuhan lab, and whatever evidence they might once have found there has long since disappeared. Some Chinese scientists in a position to provide evidence also disappeared.

As with so many matters in recent years, the origin of Covid-19 quickly became politicized. In mid-2019, as if a switch had been thrown, virtually all establishment sources suddenly began calling the lab-leak hypothesis a conspiracy theory and asserting—with no supporting evidence whatsoever—that the lab-leak theory had been debunked.

On February 2nd I read a substack post by Matt Taibbi and Matt Orfalea entitled “TK Mashup: The Lab Leak “Conspiracy Theory,” with subtitle “‘NOT MAN MADE OR GENETICALLY MODIFIED,’ they cried in unison, until they didn’t, as Matt Orfalea’s latest trip back in time shows.” Embedded in the post is that 9.5-minute “mash-up,” which is to say a collection of many brief video clips documenting the groupthink that took place. The video would be funny if it weren’t such an indictment of herd mentality.

© 2022 Steven Schwartzman




Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 8, 2022 at 4:29 AM

Posted in nature photography

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