Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Posts Tagged ‘snow

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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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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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

A snowy both sides now

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During my February 16th trek into a wonderfully white Great Hills Park I made sure to portray several portions of the main creek. These two views, anchored by the snow-mounded rocks in the center of the creek, face in opposite directions.

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 24, 2021 at 4:28 AM

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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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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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Snow-covered possumhaw

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As yet another picture from January 10th, and perhaps the last, here’s a fruitful possumhaw tree (Ilex decidua) I spotted on someone’s front yard half a mile from home. The species name tells us that possumhaws shed their leaves in the winter, but some—this one, for instance—take a good deal longer to do so than others.

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 27, 2021 at 4:40 AM

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Channeling my inner Rembrandt—or not

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On December 23, 2020, I found myself out on the Blackland Prairie in far northeast Austin waiting for the sun to come up, which it must have done, only the sky was so overcast I never did see the solar disk. In the gloom I channeled my inner Rembrandt and made a somber portrait of goldenrod (Solidago sp.) seed head remains. In contrast, on November 11th at the Riata Trace Pond I’d made a much brighter portrait:

And from January 10th of this year, here’s another vaguely
Rembrandtesque view, this time of some ground-bound goldenrod:

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 26, 2021 at 4:30 AM

Snow on giant ragweed stalks

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Approaching the end of three hours out in the snow and sleet in the northeast quadrant of Mopac and US 183 on January 10th, I came to a group of Ambrosia trifida. Not for nothing have people given the name giant ragweed to a species that occasionally grows as tall as 5m (16 ft.) Dried out by December, its stalks persist through the winter. Often they remain upright, but sometimes they don’t; snow may have had a hand (does snow have hands?) in making the stalks in the second picture lean more than they already had.

WordPress says this is post number 3333 in Portraits of Wildflowers. Call me dedicated or call me crazy.

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 25, 2021 at 4:31 AM

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Snow on bare stalks: horizontal and vertical formats

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Back to the January 10th snowfall in the northeast quadrant of Mopac and US 183.
The stalks below were Maximilian sunflowers, Helianthus maximiliani.

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 23, 2021 at 4:36 AM

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