Tag Archives: February

“February Thaw”

“February Thaw”

“By March, the worst of the winter would be over. The snow would thaw, the rivers begin to run and the world would wake into itself again.

Not that year.

Winter hung in there, like an invalid refusing to die. Day after grey day the ice stayed hard; the world remained unfriendly and cold.”
― Neil Gaiman

February has been an odd one here on Southern Ontario. After the snows of December, we had a gradual melt-freeze-melt cycle which left the ground essentially bare at the start of the month, with the occasional ice patch.

Last week, the snows returned and we have had some significant accumulations and a lot of drifting. One recent storm caught me off guard and had e driving through white-out conditions a few times, something I have not experienced for years and a not so gentle reminder that I do live in Canada.

One of the side benefits of these melt cycles is the beautiful icicles which form on days where the snow just begins to melt and then freezes up again. It’s even nicer when the sun break through and lights them up for me. It’s especially nice to see the sun because this winter we have had record days of cloud cover, which from a photographer’s standpoint is not a bad thing, but I do miss the sun’s warmth and brightness. I am looking forward to continued warming and the inevitable spring.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 (272ENII)@90mm
1/100 sec, f/9.0, ISO 100

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“Reaching for Spring”

“Reaaching for Spring”

“She turned to the sunlight
    And shook her yellow head,
And whispered to her neighbor:
    “Winter is dead.”
― A.A. Milne

My favourite, for now, patch of Elecampane. Lit by the warm afternoon sun along the Seaton Trail. There is something appealing in the orange remnants of the blossom in contrast to the gray, dried steps. The vestiges of the former blossoms glow brightly in the sun while the dry steps remind me that it’s still winter. But, as they tilt to the east, locked in time, they remind me, through their glow, that the sun always rises and spring will come, in its time. It’s just a matter of waiting for it.

Nikon D300
Tamron 70-200 mm f/2.8 @ 200 mm
1/200 sec, f/7.1, ISO 250

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“February Thaw” – Seaton Trail

“February Thaw”

“One must know the so-called ‘lesson of a downpour.’ A man, caught in a sudden rain en route, dashes along the road not to get wet or drenched. Once one takes it for granted that in rain he naturally gets wet, he can be in a tranquil frame of mind even when soaked to the skin. This lesson applies to everything. ” – Yamamoto Tsunetomo

Above is a photo from the past weekend. As I said in a previous post, this past mid-February Saturday was a glorious day. I have no other words to describe it. Having come from temperatures of -30° C to 12° C in the span of a few days, sure brightens the spirit. This day went from mixed clouds, to bright sunshine, to a warm shower, back to sunshine.

I did not even realize that it was raining, as the air was filled with the sounds of meltwater everywhere. It was not till I looked up from photographing water running over the ice that I noticed the raindrops on the puddles which filled the outlines of where the trails are. Many sections of trail had turned to small rivers of ice water, trying to find their way downhill. Since the ground is still frozen, all the water was flowing on the surface, rather than being absorbed into the soil. This also created puddles with icy bottoms, which made hiking safely a challenge.

I stood for a while watching the raindrops falling into the puddles and watching the patterns of the ripples play across the surface. The surrounding trees were being reflected in the puddles and offered, what I thought, was an interesting composition, combining the elements of the path, the puddle, the rain, and the trees, in a single image. I will remember this moment for some time.

Nikon D300
Tamron 70-200 mm f/2.8 @ 180mm
1/200 sec, f/7.1, ISO 250

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Locked in Ice” – Duffins Creek

"Locked in Ice" - Duffins Creek

“By March, the worst of the winter would be over. The snow would thaw, the rivers begin to run and the world would wake into itself again. ― Neil Gaiman

Bubbles, trapped in ice, glow beneath the icy waters of the spring thaw, like a wraith, lit by some inner glow. Mid-February this year brings an early and rapid thaw. Cold water flows with life over frozen creeks, softening the shapes trapped below, beckoning them to join in welcoming the warmth above.

Nikon D300
Tamron 70-200 mm f/2.8 @ 165 mm
1/200 sec, f/7.1, ISO 250

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“Frozen Fingers”

“Frozen Fingers”

“We gaze continually at the world and it grows dull in our perceptions. Yet seen from another’s vantage point, as if new, it may still take the breath away.”
― Alan Moore

Winter wears on, some days are bright and clear and others dark and dreary. Yet, through it all, nature lives on and builds crystal sculptures on frames of wood, grass, and stone. At the right time of day, the sun shines through, lighting them from within.

The image above is a lilac tree next to my house. With the rapid melt, the eavestroughs overflowed, splashing water on the cold lilacs in the shade. That slight difference in temperature was enough to re-freeze the water, encasing the slender branches and seed heads with a thick coat of ice. Water running over this base formed ripples which froze as subsequent layers. The effects of a slight breeze are also visible in the slightly bent ‘fingers’ of ice.

As a side note, though it was warm enough to melt the ice, the temperatures were cool enough to give me frozen fingers of my own.

Nikon D300
Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 120mm
1/250 sec, f/8.0, ISO 250

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“The Thaw” – Secord Forest, Uxbridge

“February Thaw” - Secord Forest, Uxbridge

The photo title says it all. An image of a pine tree reflected in an ice puddle on the trail.

Here we are, early February and much of the scant snowfall we’ve had has melted off, running into creeks or pooling in icy puddles. The light this day was wonderful and lit the pines up with a soft glow. It was this ‘glow’ that attracted me to look closely at the puddle and choose this composition. I felt it was a nice way to communicate the concept of the thaw by reflecting the tree in the puddle itself. As you can also see from the blue tones of the ice, it was a bright, blue-sky day. It’s a bit of a different shot for me but I was in the mood for experimentation. I’d value your comments.

Nikon D300
Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 200mm
1/160 sec, f/6.3 -0.67, ISO 250

For more images like this, please visit my Facebook page:
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