Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Posts Tagged ‘ice

A farewell to icicles

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Over the past month you’ve seen plenty of pictures here showing snow, ice, and especially icicles, courtesy of the frigid weather that descended on Austin and stayed with us for a week in mid-February. But now it’s fully spring, so a farewell to winter is in order. Here are two last pictures from the part of Great Hills Park known as Potter’s Place, which I visited on February 16th. Above, you see how numerous the icicles in that little cove along the main creek were, and the flash I used allowed the clarity of the water to come through. The picture below, taken by natural light, emphasizes the icicles’ reflections in water that now seems dark.

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 19, 2021 at 4:38 AM

Nice ice thrice

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I took the first two pictures in our yard on February 19th. The icicles in the
second one picked up a lot more of the sky’s blue than those in the first.

And from Great Hills Park on February 12th, the first day I went out
after the initial ice storm, here’s an oak gall with a small icicle on it:

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 16, 2021 at 4:42 AM

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Ice and Ashe junipers

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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

Dripping icicles

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On February 19th, for the first time ever, many icicles
hung from our rain gutters; some were dripping water.

And here’s a thought for today that reveals a cold, hard truth: “To see what is in front of one’s nose needs a constant struggle. One thing that helps toward it is to keep a diary, or, at any rate, to keep some kind of record of one’s opinions about important events. Otherwise, when some particularly absurd belief is exploded by events, one may simply forget that one ever held it.” — George Orwell, 1946, In Front of Your Nose.

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 11, 2021 at 4:40 AM

Broken icicles

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This photograph of broken icicles on the ground in my yard on February 19 reminds me
of some paintings by artists in the movements called Cubism and Synchromism.
Following that lead, you could classify today’s picture as an example of Schwartzmanism.

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 9, 2021 at 4:39 AM

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Maidenhair ferns withstanding ice

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Maidenhair ferns (Adiantum capillus-veneris), which thrive in places where the banks of Great Hills Park’s main creek form cliffs, go dormant in droughts but seem to have held up pretty well to the rare ice and snow that descended on us in mid-February. You’ll see some of those ferns protruding from the ice in each of the first picture’s three tiers, and you get a better look in the close-up below, both taken on February 20th.

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 7, 2021 at 4:40 AM

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Backlit icicles

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February 20th marked the fourth and last of my recent forays into Great Hills Park for ice and snow pictures. For the first time in my life (if memory serves) I photographed backlit icicles. In the opening view I used flash so I could stop down to f/18. That way everything was in focus, from the nearest rocks in the lower right to the ruins of the fallen Ashe juniper tree, Juniperus ashei, in the upper left, where the backlighting is also the most evident in the top picture. Contrast that with the second image, where I got closer and avoided flash so that backlighting would be the main source of illumination.

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 5, 2021 at 4:36 AM

Ice formations on a cliff in Great Hills Park

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February 18th saw my third foray into Great Hills Park in quest of ice, and second in search of snow. I pushed further into the park than two days earlier and eventually got to a place where I saw icicles and ice flows up on a cliff. Before I’d left home I knew I’d have to walk a treacherous half mile each way just getting to and from the park, plus more inside the park, so I’d left my heavy camera bag behind and brought only my camera with a 24–105mm lens (and flash) attached. Without a telephoto there was no way I was going to take decent pictures of the icicles high on the cliff unless I climbed at least part-way up the steep slope to get closer. Using two trekking poles for balance and stability, I slowly worked my way higher than I’d ever previously done there even without snow and ice. Intrepid or foolish: take your pick. The longest icicles were in a place that ultimately proved too difficult to get close to, so I got as near as I dared and took a few pictures, aware that I’d have to crop in a lot when I processed them. Fortunately my camera gives 50-megapixel images to work with; what you see in the top photograph represents about one-third of a full frame.

I did manage to get over onto a ledge that put me near several other
ice formations, two of which are shown above and below.

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 3, 2021 at 4:33 AM

Nicicles

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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

Ice and snow on cedar elms and an Ashe juniper

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From February 18th in Great Hills Park, look how ice had encased the bare branches of cedar elm trees (Ulmus crassifolia). The Ashe juniper tree (Juniperus ashei) further back was conspicuous in the way its branches of evergreen leaves trapped snow, of which 6.5 inches (16.5 cm) had come down. In the closer February 12th pre-snow view below of little icicles on a cedar elm, the pale green came from lichens; it’s a visually energetic way to fill a frame, don’t you think?

And here’s a thought for today from physicist Richard Feynman in 1974:
“The first principle is that you must not fool yourself — and you are the easiest person to fool.”

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 1, 2021 at 4:41 AM

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