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Posts Tagged ‘Winter Light’

Well the January thaw ended with a wake up slap; two snowstorms within a week and temperatures a good 40 degrees below the 62 degree high we saw during the thaw. It looks like it’s back to normal for now. This photo was taken before dawn on the morning of the first snowstorm. Because it was still dark when I took it, it’s very grainy but it shows how the snow stuck to everything in the forest.

Once it got lighter it was still a black and white world. Sometimes the sun will come out after it snows but it usually stays pretty gray for a day or so.

The snow was wet and the wind made sure it stuck to even the tree trunks.

Though there really wasn’t much snow, maybe three inches, it looked like a lot more.

This shot taken under trees shows how thin it was in places.

I like what the light does in winter and though this is another shot that it was really too dark to take, the sky was amazing.

This shot of Half Moon Pond reminds me of a 1930s post card.

The previous photos were from the first storm. This shot, taken from my back doorway, shows a fresh coating of another 4 inches of snow later in the week.

Though this time the snow was very light and powdery it still covered everything. As William Sharp once said: There is nothing in the world more beautiful than the forest clothed to its very hollows in snow. It is the still ecstasy of nature, wherein every spray, every blade of grass, every spire of reed, every intricacy of twig, is clad with radiance. If you click on this photo you’ll see what he meant.

Two posts ago this view of the Ashuelot River in Swanzey looked like it had been taken in March. Now here it is back in January dress again. Once this storm had blown itself out the sun came out quickly, and this made for a prettier day.

The snow covering a local pond looks pristine with hardly a mark on it but just off to the left out of the frame a man was shoveling the ice for skating on. This despite at least 5 signs warning that the ice was too thin.

No matter how many of these are put up people think they know better, but shoveling off the ice so your children can skate on it even after seeing the signs seems a bit reckless to me. It’s hard to understand the thought processes of some people.

But it was a beautiful sunny day and I decided to follow the trail around the pond.

Some thoughtful soul had made a path down the middle of the trail and I was thankful because that made walking easier. At first I thought the path had been made with a shovel but after I walked it I was fairly sure that it was made by a child’s plastic sled being pulled through here. There is a great sliding hill nearby and it’s usually crowded after a storm.

The light was beautiful. It kept stopping me so I could watch it before it passed.

It was easy to see which way the wind had blown during the storm.

Every beech leaf wore a mantle of snow, but they still stayed dry and papery. Leaves that weren’t weighted by snow still whispered as I passed by.

Anyone who knows rhododendrons and winter weather knows that they only do this when it’s very cold. There are several theories about why rhododendron leaves do this, but the most plausible (to me) is that the leaf curls to prevent moisture loss. Another theory that sounds likely is that the leaf is protecting its soft underside by curling it up inside the tougher, waxy outer surface. In any event this behavior doesn’t harm the plant, and once it warms up the leaves will perk up and flatten right out again.

More light through the trees. It was a beautiful scene, I thought, with the sunlight on the snowy branches.

Every twig on this tree was highlighted. Winter is my least favorite season because of all the added work but that doesn’t mean I can’t see the beauty that is unique to the season and for me the beauty of this scene is how easily you can see how this tree grew into in two trees. Though they had the same root ball the two trunks didn’t seem to get along and grew apart from each other over the years. It isn’t hard to imagine them wishing they could simply walk away from each other. That’s something we humans have to be thankful for, I suppose.

The splendor of silence, -of snow-jeweled hills and of ice. ~Ingram crockett

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1. Winter Light

 

I called this post winter light because the light has been so unusal over the past week or two. Or maybe it’s just that I’m noticing it more. It is easy and gentle on the eyes and I pay particular attention to it in the afternoon, hoping for any signs of a lengthening day.

 2. Winter Light

This was taken late one afternoon after a snow storm. “Late” afternoon actually means about 4:30 right now.

3. Sunlight on Snowy Trees

This was the view out my back door after a recent snowstorm that quit at about mid day and let the sun come out. With such weak sunshine and no wind the snow stayed on the tress for quite a while.

 4. Ashuelot Sunset 

The Ashuelot River hasn’t frozen over yet but border ice is forming along its banks, growing slowly in towards its middle. I call these ice shelves, and if you aren’t familiar with the lay of the land on the shoreline, they can be dangerous once covered by snow. Twice last year I found myself standing on ice shelves when I thought that I was standing on dry land. Thankfully, they held my weight each time, but I’m being much more careful this year. Walking on frozen rivers is a dangerous game.

 5. River Ice Patterns 

In the shade, patterns could be seen in the ice. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) website tells me that this ice is called columnar ice because of its column shaped grain. This ice is very clear and usually grows in areas with slower flow. Once the river has been covered bank to bank with ice the crystals continue to grow downward, thickening the ice cover.

 6. River Rapids 

On a slightly warmer day I tried to get shots of some interesting waves on the Ashuelot. There’s a rhythm to a river just like with most things in nature, and if you tune in to that rhythm you can get shots of cresting waves every time you click the shutter. If you watch a certain spot and only that spot you find that the river does almost the same thing over and over again, just a few seconds apart.

7. Monadnock from Perkins Pond

I could see from quite a distance that Mount Monadnock had snow on it but I wanted a closer look so I drove to Perkin’s Pond in Troy, which is a favorite viewing place. The pond was completely frozen over and the only sunshine to be had was up on the mountain. The wind often howls down the length of this pond in winter, making this a very cold spot. Still, I’m sure that it was much colder on the summit.

8. Monadnock from Perkins Pond

Snow makes the mountain even more beautiful. It could be ankle deep or shoulder deep. It’s hard to tell from here, and I’m not going to climb it to find out.

 9. Winter Light

In summer I’m usually worn out from traipsing through the woods long before the sun sets, but in the winter the days wear out before I do. When you’re out there with a camera on a cold winter day and everything is going well and you feel that you might be getting some good shots, it’s hard to watch the sun set so early.

10. Sunset on the Waterfall

The setting sun turned the Ashuelot River falls into a golden ribbon one afternoon. I was surprised that they hadn’t frozen.

11. Sunset on the River

The river was also colored gold and had frazil ice pans forming in it. Frazil ice forms in super cooled water and then floats to the surface where it clumps together to make various ice formations .They were a sure sign that the water was frigid, no matter how hard the sun tried to hide it.

Nature is so powerful, so strong. Capturing its essence is not easy – your work becomes a dance with light and the weather. It takes you to a place within yourself. Annie Leibovitz

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