Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Posts Tagged ‘ice

New Zealand: a closer look at the Franz Josef Glacier

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Above is a February 20th view taken from the end of the trail near the base of the Franz Josef Glacier on the west side of New Zealand’s South Island. Below is an even better look at the details of the ice and rocks at the place where the glacier passes from existence to non-existence.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 20, 2017 at 5:00 AM

New Zealand: a bluish white

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February 20 is still the height of summer in New Zealand. Nevertheless, on that date we hiked the hour or so from the carpark to the front of the Franz Josef Glacier, which is located in the Southern Alps half-way down the western side of the South Island. Before we’d gone too far along the trail I stopped to photograph the still-distant glacier. Europe and North America have their glaciers, but none that I know of are within sight of tree ferns. They were an excellent accompaniment to the first glacier I’d ever seen in person.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 19, 2017 at 5:01 AM

I wasn’t expecting another chance this season…

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I wasn’t expecting another chance this season to photograph frostweed ice. My outlook changed two nights ago when the weather forecast for the morning of January 7th predicted a low temperature of around 23°F (–5°C). Out I went into that cold morning, once more to Great Hills Park, and sure enough some of the frostweed plants were doing their thing again. Because of previous performances, this time practically all the ice displays were way down low on the stalks, often touching the ground. In my 90 minutes of taking pictures I went mostly for close and abstract views of the ice, one of which you see here.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 8, 2017 at 5:03 AM

A contrast in strata

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Above: Geological strata in Sedona (Arizona) on October 20.

Below: Frostweed ice strata in Austin (Texas) on December 19.

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© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 23, 2016 at 4:49 AM

The spy who came in from the cold

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Click for better quality and clarity.

The person in the title is me, who came in after two hours yesterday morning spent spying on the ice formations produced by frostweed plants (Verbesina virginica) in Great Hill Park. For the first time this season the temperature in Austin dipped below freezing overnight, as the forecast had predicted, so I felt duty-bound to bundle up and go out into the morning’s 29° in hopes that that would have been cold enough for frostweed to do its thing. It had been.

Unlike pictures of the phenomenon I’ve posted here in other years, this photograph emphasizes the way the ice first splits the outer part of a frostweed stalk. Notice that the tissue just inside the brown bark is still green.

If you’re new to frostweed’s ice trick and would like more of an explanation, along with images showing other aspects of the phenomenon, you can follow these links:

https://portraitsofwildflowers.wordpress.com/2011/11/29/frostweed-explains-its-name/

https://portraitsofwildflowers.wordpress.com/2012/12/12/frostweed-debuts-its-ice-trick-for-2012/

https://portraitsofwildflowers.wordpress.com/2013/12/08/no-frost-but-frostweed-did-its-icy-trick/

https://portraitsofwildflowers.wordpress.com/2014/11/20/cold-enough/

https://portraitsofwildflowers.wordpress.com/2014/02/05/a-closer-look-at-frostweed-ice/

https://portraitsofwildflowers.wordpress.com/2014/12/30/cold-enough-once-again/

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 19, 2016 at 5:01 AM

Posted in nature photography

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Frost, but not from frostweed

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The weather forecast for the early morning of November 20th in Austin predicted a temperature of around 37°, which has occasionally been cold enough to cause frostweed to do its ice trick. Living up to the nature photographer’s creed, I dressed warmly that Sunday morning, put on my rubber boots, and wended my way the half-mile downhill to check out the stand of frostweed I rely on in Great Hills Park. No luck.

While I didn’t find frostweed ice, I did find some frost, most noticeably on a colony of straggler daisies, Calyptocarpus vialis. Straggling, which is to say being low and little, works to the advantage of this species: none of the other plants that might have made for even better frost subjects survived the frequent and relentless onslaught that the mowers carried on at the Floral Park entrance to Great Hills Park all through 2016.

(I’ll occasionally interrupt pictures from the Southwest trip with a current post about central Texas.)

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 22, 2016 at 4:52 AM

The return of frostweed ice

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On the just-below-freezing morning of January 23rd I went back down to Great Hills Park and found more frostweed plants with extruded ice near their bases than when I’d visited 12 days earlier. Of the many pictures I took on that return outing, I’ve chosen to show you two that are rather different from the two you saw last time.

For the image below, I noticed a small piece of frostweed ice broken off on the ground, so I picked it up, held it out against the sky, and photographed it. The morning was bright (as you can see from the background in the first photo), yet the camera’s sensor rendered the clear blue sky dark in comparison to the sheen of the ice. That’s a reminder of how much more sensitive to light our eyes are than the cameras we use.

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How quickly the time has passed: one year ago today we began our four-week trip to New Zealand, which yielded 72 posts for this blog.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 1, 2016 at 5:05 AM

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