Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Posts Tagged ‘ice

Ice spits

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A spit is normally ‘a narrow point of land extending into a body of water.’ On February 16th in Great Hills Park ice played the traditional role of land in that definition. Below is a closeup showing how the nearer of the two ice spits faded away into the creek.

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 28, 2021 at 4:43 AM

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Snow and ice on trees

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On February 18th I headed back to Great Hills Park for another couple of hours documenting snow and ice. Here are two views of a snow-covered tree that may have been brought down a few days earlier by a heavy accumulation of ice. Notice once again the thick mustang grape vines, Vitis mustangensis.

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 27, 2021 at 4:16 AM

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Little icicles and more than a little green

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From February 12th in Great Hills Park, here are some little icicles on green things. The one above hung from the lichen-covered twig of an oak (Quercus sp.), while those below encased an Ashe juniper (Juniperus ashei).

UPDATE: In the previous post I’ve added a closer view of the frosted strands I take to be spiderwebs.

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 26, 2021 at 4:28 AM

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Icicles and frosted spiderwebs

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On my February 16th walk in Great Hills Park I spent a lot of time photographing large icicles, several of which you’ve seen in recent posts. Alongside some of those icicles I noticed what I took to be frosted spiderwebs, as shown here. Have any of you ever seen that?

UPDATE: Here’s a closer view of the frosted strands from another picture:

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 25, 2021 at 4:40 AM

Two mounds of snow in Great Hills Park on February 16th

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The top mound was surrounded partly, and the bottom one fully,
by ice that had formed when water in the park’s main creek froze.

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 22, 2021 at 4:41 AM

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Icicle delights

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One highlight of my foray into Great Hills Park on February 16th was icicles, which our normally mild winters seldom produce. The ones shown here formed on a bank of the park’s main creek in an area called Potter’s Place, which is named after geologist Eric Potter, who carried out many projects in the park. It’s hard to believe how different this stretch of the creek looks in a rainy spring.

In some of my pictures I played up the icicles’ reflections in the water.

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 21, 2021 at 4:30 AM

The continuing photographic fruits of our unprecedented winter weather

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Austin has been through a week like none that anyone alive has ever experienced here. First came the ice storm of February 12th, which you’ve already seen a few pictures of. The weight of the ice caused many tree limbs to break, including a bunch in our yard. Especially hard hit were the Ashe junipers, Juniperus ashei, as shown in the top photograph. Falling tree branches took out power lines all over town. We began getting intermittent electrical blackouts. Then came 6.5 inches of snow, and the day after that some more ice. The power grid couldn’t handle the load because the outdoor temperature got as low as 8°F (–13°C) one morning and 9°F the next, as measured by our outdoor thermometer. For days on end the temperature never got above freezing. The official count was 144 consecutive hours below freezing, but if you take out a brief “surge” to 33°F (0.5°C) on Thursday the number of hours would be longer.

Power blackouts started intermittently but soon became long ones, with spells when we didn’t have power for 33 hours and later another 19 hours. Because the temperature inside our house dropped to 43°F (6°C), we slept in sleeping bags with layers of clothing on and a heavy quilt and blankets piled over the sleeping bags. We pulled out another relic of long-ago camping, a portable stove, and cooked on it in the sheltered entryway outside our front door, so at least we had hot drinks and hot meals.

Because all the accumulated ice and snow made roads treacherous, few people dared to drive. One car sat abandoned for days a couple of houses up from us; the driver hadn’t been able to get enough traction to keep going up the hill. On February 16th and again on the 18th I dressed warmly, put on my rubber boots, slung a camera over my shoulder, and with a walking stick in each hand for stability carefully wended my way the half mile downhill to Great Hills Park, all for the chance to take pictures of our unaccustomed winter white. On the intervening day and the following day I spent hours in our yard making closeups of ice-encased branches, icicles, and other things. Over the next several posts you’ll see some of the results. All three of today’s images are from Great Hills Park on February 16th. Chronologically the bottom one came first, while the sun still shone; the thick, tree-like vines are mustang grapes, Vitis mustangensis.

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 20, 2021 at 4:34 AM

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More ice pictures

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Above is a February 12th view from farther back of the ice-covered possumhaw tree (Ilex decidua) in Great Hills Park that provided the close-up you saw last time. Below is a lichen-covered oak twig that ice added its own kind of coating to.

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 15, 2021 at 4:37 AM

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Winter comes to Austin for the second time in 2021

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First came the January 10th snowfall, which you’ve seen in a bunch of pictures. On February 11th we got hit with an ice storm, and the temperature has only briefly been above freezing since then. On the 12th I spent a couple of hours in Great Hills Park photographing ice-coated plants, including a possumhaw tree (Ilex decidua), many of whose little fruits had icicles hanging from them.

I intended to post this yesterday but the electricity in my neighborhood kept going out on the 12th, including when I’d almost finished editing this picture but hadn’t yet saved it, so I shut my computer off as a precaution. In any case, since today is Valentine’s Day, you can downplay the ice and let the red symbolize romance.

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 14, 2021 at 4:25 AM

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Ice is nice, part 4

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Here’s what you learned in part 1: In a shaded part of Great Hills Park on January 12th I discovered that thin sheets of ice had formed close to the ground. Most importantly for my purposes, I found that I could slowly lift up a small section of ice and it would come away in shapes that were irregular yet didn’t break apart. Over and over I did my light lifting, each time facing toward the sun and holding the little panel erect against a background of shaded trees so that backlighting would reveal details in the ice.

In addition to that, I held some of the pieces up higher, against the sky, to make portraits of a different sort, one of which you’re seeing here. Admittedly this is a combination you probably wouldn’t ever find in nature, but the urge to experiment came over me and I yielded.

And here’s a humorous quotation for today: “When a man gits perfektly kontented, he and a clam are fust couzins.” [When a man gets perfectly contented, he and a clam are first cousins.”] — Josh Billings, the pen name for Henry Wheeler Shaw. Wikipedia notes that “Shaw attended Hamilton College, but was expelled in his second year for removing the clapper of the campus bell.”

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 4, 2021 at 4:28 AM

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