Tag Archives: ice

leaves and ice

img_4629It’s time of year when my phone fills up with photos of ice. This time of year is, naturally, close on the heels of the time of year when my phone fills up with photos of leaves.

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It may not shock you to know that in this transition from late fall into winter, I sometimes also take photos of leaves and ice together.

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eye-catching ice

The puddles on our driveway and paths can be treacherous when they freeze, but they can also provide a gallery of fascinating shapes and pattern. These are a few of the many photos I took today. (I took several photos in the morning, and was surprised that the ice hadn’t melted by afternoon.)

distorted views through ice

Part of what was keeping me busy over the last few months was winter. It was a long hard winter. There was so very much ice and snow. Record-breaking quantities of snow.

I love to take pictures of ice and snow, but I had more than my fill. Today was the first day since the first day of spring when it actually felt a bit like spring. Now that the thaw is under way, I can look back at some of my ice photos without whimpering. As much.

These are some photos I took through our breakfast nook windows. This ice was due to some early stages of ice dams. (I’m sure I’ll have more to say about ice dams.) The ice was really quite beautiful, sparkling in the morning sunlight, bending and molding the grid lines of the screen into curves and whorls.

It’s really quite hard to reconcile this sparkling beauty with the knowledge that it was the herald of thousands of dollars worth of damage to the house.

Last night my front porch was visited by the ghost of William Morris

William Morris (1834-1896) was, among other things¹, an Englsh artist and textile designer. His iconic designs featured intricate and highly stylized plants and flowers. I became familiar with his work largely through my familiarity with the variations of his Acanthus leaf design that was used for the wallpaper, signage and even wrapping paper in Barnes & Noble stores through the late 1990s.

It came as quite a surprise to me this morning to find evidence that his ghost had visited our home in the night, and apparently had a tryst with Jack Frost on our front porch.

Intricate patterns of ice covered the whole width of the porch, and varied in detail and density and style.

There were ferns, leaves, flowers, and brambles.

Mr. Morris also included some beadwork in some of his designs.


Thorns.

A view from my standing height, to give a sense of the scope and size of the patterns.

Wherever I looked were more things to photograph. (Click on any of the photos to see a larger version and zoom in. You will be very impressed by the designer-ghost’s attention to detail.)

It snowed overnight here, and there was apparently freezing rain and wind as well. I had opened the front door to get a look at the snow in the front yard, and was greeted by all of this. As best I can guess, little drops of watery ice that landed on our porch were blown around by the wind, leaving little streaks of ice behind them. (This is much like what I guessed happened the morning I found frost feathers on my car.) Either that or it was indeed the ghost of William Morris, and he spent the whole night drawing his patterns on the porch.


¹ I had no idea that he was also an author of fantasy novels. This may support my ghost theory.

frost feathers

Over the winter, I often would find that my car (parked overnight in the driveway) would be covered with frost in the morning. I frequently admired the various patterns. In fact, it was only a few days after I posted a series of photos of the scribble-like frost patterns I’d seen on my car on different days that I went out to find these new and unexpected frost designs:

Rather than the more typical zig-zaggy patterns, the car was covered swiling, whirling whorls and arcs, reminding me strongly of plumes.

Interestingly, it was not just the windows that were frosty, as was often the case, but the whole body of the car.

I suspect that the patterns were not so much frost as thin sheets of ice from freezing rain, which wind had blown around as it froze.

The patterns were just so feathery.

The piles of stuff in the back of the hatchback showed through, adding various colors to the palette of swirls.

These shapes remind me of palm trees.

I had remembered that I’d taken these photos and have been meaning to post them, but I hadn’t remembered that I had taken them the same morning as I took so many photos of ice drops in the back yard. I do wish that I’d gotten some photos with my real camera, and not just my phone, but I suspect that the delicate frost patterns didn’t survive much of that sunny morning.

Photos from a sparkling winter morning

Those of you who have known me for a while will surely know that “sparkling” is not a word that typically gets anywhere near the word “morning” in my world. (Certainly it is not a word that has ever been used to describe me in the morning.) However, there was one morning this January when I was bedazzled by the sparkle of own backyard.

After bustling the kids out to the bus, I walked down the driveway to be greeted by a display of glittering light. The sprinkling of freezing rain the night before had left droplets of ice and water decorating the tangled vines and thorns of our overgrown garden.

The winter sun was low in the sky, gradually burning off the cold mist.

The low rays lit up the ice and water drops all around.

In many places, there were water droplets, lined up along the horizontal branches like dangling crystal beads.

Little balls of ice had been caught in the winding twists of wild grape vines, looking like jewels wrapped in wire.

I was charmed by the twists and coils, the quirky designs of some mildly deranged jeweler.

(This one reminded me of a dangling lightbulb.)

I first tried to snap photos with my iPhone (not shown), but the phone came nowhere close to capturing what I was seeing. I went inside and got my real camera with telephoto lens.

Even with the good camera and good lens, focusing was a challenge. These little beauties were only a couple of centimeters across, with the ice drops probably measuring 6 or 8 millimeters. (I find it funny that the jewelry-like shape of these forms inspires me to use the metric system. When I buy beads, they are always measured in millimeters.)

Using my long lens also meant that I had to be several feet from my target. (See? Feet. I am an American.) It was often tricky to even find what I was trying to focus on in my screen, and any little sway of my body would often throw the focus off. (Really, a tripod would have helped, but I’m not sure how it would have worked the way I had to contort myself to get the different angles to capture the sparkle.) I went back inside to get my pancake lens (200 mm fixed length lens), and had better luck.

Clearly, I was bedazzled, as I see from my photo metadata that I spent about 2 hours taking photos. (Not counting breaks to come in to change lenses, and to look at the photos on my laptop.)

My fingers were numb in my fingerless gloves when I finally tore myself away. It was, after all, an icy January morning.

It was totally worth it.

Bidding Winter goodbye

Tomorrow is the official first day of Spring in the Northern Hemisphere. Unfortunately, in the particular part of the Northern Hemisphere where I live, Winter seems not to have gotten that message.

I’ve gone into Boston for meetings the last couple of days, and the snow is all but gone there. Roofs, roads, and ground are free of snow and ice, save for the occasional fist-sized stubborn lump of ice remaining from what once have been a mighty mound.

Not so in my neck of the woods. Here is my front yard:

This is the mound of snow and ice resulting from shoveling out the top of the driveway. This was this morning. It was 20 degrees out.

It’s true that I have really enjoyed looking at and taking pictures of many of the ice and snow formations.

I have many, many photos of ice and snow. Icicles, frost, falling snow. Snow flakes, snow men, snow caves. Sparkling ice in the morning sun. Smooth frozen puddles with embedded bubbles and cracks. Fluffy untrampled snow, and interesting patterns of tracks in the snow. Quite honestly, I am about ready to move on to another subject matter.

Soon, I hope to fill up my phone with images of green shoots and early blooms. Unfortunately , this is where our first crocuses tend to emerge:

There are many things that I like about Winter. One of them is that it eventually ends and gives way to Spring. So, here’s wishing a fond farewell to Winter. (And here’s hoping that Winter gets the message and departs. Before I have to file a restraining order against it.)