Monday, December 14, 2009


Maybe a little explanation is in order here: these pictures are a progression. The first two were taken on the third of December (no snow yet). The final six were taken after the advent of snowshoeing season on the 10th.

It's pretty obvious that this was taken pre-snow. Just a simple picture of a stream. The light was too low here to handhold the camera but I didn't have a tripod with me so I had to sit down and brace my arms against my knees to hold the camera steady enough for a decent picture.

It had been a fairly warm November and we hadn't had much weather below freezing (a few overnight frosts but nothing major) and we had several nights in a row that dipped below freezing. The freezing made the ice you see here, the thawing (in the sun the next day) made the hole in the ice, and the wind made the small waves in the water coming up through the hole. And the sky was blue and it did a good, photogenic job of reflecting.

OK, so we had a big blizzard (well, it was big for us anyway. Probably wouldn't have been that big of a deal on, say, the town of Quincy City in Michigan's U.P.) here on the 10th. Schools called off classes. Cars went in ditches. This is good news: I like winter. I can now hike around on my snowshoes (though the snow isn't really deep enough that I couldn't get around without them – I just like snowshoeing) or ride my bike in the snow (this actually is – believe it or not - and as added bonus most people think I'm crazy – not that they didn't already and if “crazy” means not burning gas to get somewhere to buy unnecessary stuff then I'll gladly take being labeled “crazy.” Kind of amazing what insanity will allow you to do. Use a rotary lawn mower, ride a bike to the grocery store in the rain/snow/sleet...probably nothing that would warrant any special attention in, say, Portland, OR but in Lancaster, WI [population around 4000] I'm really out there)

I was out snowshoeing around the evening before I took these pictures (I hadn't brought my camera) and the light did such awesome things to the drifts (and their shadows) that my aim was to come back with my camera the next day and to an entire blog featuring just drifts. But when I got back out there the next day there were so many cool non-drift things that I had to take pictures of. Some of them turned out decent, like this one.

I kinda like pictures that tell stories. Or maybe it'd be more accurate to say that the picture doesn't actually tell the story but it provides some raw material for the viewer to fill things in. “What happened here?” My inner Sherlock Holmes I guess. This one tells (with some help from the viewer) about the wind that blew these blades of grass around and made them carve tracks in the snow. And that the air was damp enough that it left frost on the grass. And that it wasn't warm enough yet to melt the frost. That it was sunny out. That some little critter burrowed a hole down into the snow (or rather it probably burrowed up into the light since there are a very few tracks on the snow to indicate that it actually came out...why didn't it come out? Did it see an owl? Was it cold out?)

If you could take a river and somehow pause it midflow and somehow retain shapes/curves/etc. From several hours/days in the past it might look something like a series of drifts. Ever watched, if the river has a sandy bottom as is clear enough, the river bottom being reformed as you watch? Compare that to drifts being formed.

You know the pictures of the bikini-clad surfer babe riding a big curling wave? Well this picture was taken of a steep hill that, if you use your imagination, it, and the snow on top of it, could be a wave in the ocean. OK so you have to use a lot of imagination. But continuing with the snow-as-water comparison of the last caption there could be a comparison in this caption between the surfer and the snowboarder/downhill skier...actually there is a comparison in this caption because I just made one.

I'm going to bank on the hope that the other captions were long enough and had enough substance to make up for this one. This is just a simple curving drift. It's simple but - I think – eye catching.