The week began with this mysterious star or snowflake crack formation in one of my frequently photographed small ponds. I think it is caused by melting and freezing we have had in December. This pond has been iced over one day and completely thawed the next. When it refreezes there seem to be more of these cracks. This one is almost 20 feet across. And yesterday when I was waking by the pond there were about a dozen of these in varying sizes. I have not noticed this phenomenon in other years. Tried to look it up on Google and did you know there are about 100 different names for various types of cracks on ice?
Another feature I became far more aware of this winter was the length and density of shadows on the days around the winter solstice. Stands to reason. The sun is definitely lower in the sky. I took more pictures of shadows this December than ever before. Need to delete some.
I also became totally mesmerized by pictures of falling snow. Most interestingly in aspen groves. They become almost abstract studies in textures. The black and white "selfie" below has lots of textures too. It is a selfie because it is my hat, my coat and my scarf.
The photo below is of the pond which had the star shaped crack above. It is not totally unthawed as it appears. Some of the blue near the white ice on the right edge is clear ice. But this was right before it refroze and created the star. And not long after it had been totally frozen over and thawed. On the same day I took this photo two other ponds near by were totally frozen over with white ice. Incidentally that google search let me know there is black ice, white ice, clear ice, grey ice . . . the list goes on.
All of which reminds me the tale goes the Inuits in Alaska have 103 words for snow. Someone once told me it is not quite that many. Myth or not I do know locals have a lot of different names for snow. This photo is of a crusty ice which comes from warm day temps and cold nights. The surface becomes hardened and almost breaks when you when you walk on it. Difficult to tell how deep the snow is beneath the crust. My favorite aspect of this snow is it makes for very crisp shadows. Compare this photo with the shadows in above pictures and you will see how the fresher snow makes for softer edges.
I took a lot of pictures of birds at my feeders this last week. The miraculous part of this was the photos were with my long lens so I could stay back away from the windows, and through two panes of not clean glass. I remarked to another photographer friend, "Imagine what I could get with clean windows," and he informed me more glare.
Yes, that is seven photos but there was one more day in the year. So a bonus photo. In 2015 this weekly blog will post on Wednesdays.
Happy New Year. Hope 2015 is great for us all.