Frozen Beauty in Macro

An icy, water-drenched scene at the base of a tiny waterfalls interrupted my morning stroll. It was a bright and cheery little landscape, created by the mist and spray of a small stream tumbling out of a drainage culvert and splashing against rocks.

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I deviated from my morning routine for several days, pausing to observe and photograph the development and aging of this miniature phenomenon. One rock in particular, covered in moss and bead-like ice crystals, became the subject of interest.

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Viewed closely, the ice formations revealed dynamic patterns invisible to the naked eye. Crystal size, shape and color were in a constant state of flux; even with a burst of shots, no two images were identical.

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This post was fun, and the discovery of skulls, zombies, selfies, dragons and other mysterious things under the magnification of camera lens and transparent ice crystals was an added bonus. But, I was also mindful of the deeper, global meaning of the scene.  The key ingredients in the ice-art recipe — bare ground, exposed rocks, running water — were present because of the record-breaking warmth of this winter. I don’t ever recall scenes like this, in early February, during my 30 years in the snow belt.

Photos by NB Hunter. © All Rights Reserved.

 

Snow and Ice…Finally!

Gallery

This gallery contains 8 photos.

Christmas Eve was a snow-free, 60 degree day. I found a wood tick crawling on my ear after a hike. Unprecedented. My morale was falling as quickly as the Syracuse records for snow fall and temperature. Fact of the matter … Continue reading

White-tails: December Update

Finding White-tailed Deer feeding in broad daylight is much more challenging now than it was earlier in the fall. The regular (gun) hunting season is winding down, the herd has been reduced, and the remaining deer are very wary. Natural movement and foraging activities are more nocturnal than diurnal.

A small family unit, an adult doe and her button buck fawn, surprised me today in the midday sun. They were drawn out of hiding by the sweet scent of fermenting wild apples on the ground. I also wonder if the mature doe learned something from the long nasty winter of 2014-15: eat now because good food sources will soon be few and far between.

The 6-month-old fawn was reckless, stepping clear of the thicket and feeding on apples out in the open.

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Its mother, older and wiser, chose to feed in heavy cover.

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Photos by NB Hunter. © All Rights Reserved.

December Frost

In this part of the world the typical December landscape is snowy and the default background for everything is white! Bare ground is unusual, and a  contrasting morning frost even more so. Last night started out cold and clear but at some point a heavy fog rolled in and froze, covering everything in huge white crystals.

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Japanese Larch cone (about 3/4 inch long) with morning frost

I was a little late to the party and showed up with the wrong lens, but I managed to capture a few memories from this spectacular event.

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American Elm on the floodplain of the Chenango River

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Farmland in the Chenango River valley

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Farmland in the Chenango River valley

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Farm homestead

Photos by NB Hunter. © All Rights Reserved.

 

 

 

Aspen Accents

In Central New York the bright yellows and golds of aspen leaves are most vivid around Halloween. I captured this stand along a favorite walking trail just before peak color, fearful that the weather might rule out a return visit and second chance.

Municipal trail; “Rails to Trails” program; Oriskany Falls, NY

Photo by NB Hunter. © All Rights Reserved.

Monarch Habitat: Milkweed

A fringe benefit of autumn leaf peeping is the discovery of other natural phenomena and photo opportunities. When setting up for the landscape scene in my last post, I couldn’t help but notice the white gobs of milkweed seeds along the untidy fencerow in front of me. Prime Monarch butterfly habitat! Still attached to the opened pods, the tethered masses of seeds were waving and fluttering like flags in the stiff breeze.

Photos by NB Hunter. © All Rights Reserved.

Panning for Landscape Gold

In my last post I indicated that our colorful sugar maple foliage had peaked and would quickly succumb to wind and rain, possibly some wet snow. I was wrong. The foul weather didn’t arrive, and this week was more spectacular than last! This is why I don’t like the term ‘peak foliage color”. Autumn presents a continuum of changes in the landscape, subject to all sorts of environmental variables. It is a dynamic that is best left uncategorized.

Farms and woodlots, with dominant Sugar Maple in the distance; 10/23/15

I was on the road early (10/23/2015), excited about the bright morning glow and clear skies. The target was Sugar Maple – I wanted another shot at it and was panning for landscape gold!

Photos by NB Hunter. © All Rights Reserved.

Flaming Foliage: the Peak!

Deciduous trees like White Ash, Red Maple and Yellow Birch initiate our fall foliage spectacle, while Quaking Aspen, Red Oak and others bring down the curtain – often aided by a thin but heavy layer of fresh snow. “Peak” foliage color, that brief period when panoramic views are most colorful and appealing to tourists, occurs somewhere in between. In Central New York, the timing and intensity of peak color is driven by one dominant species: Sugar Maple.

Locally, Sugar Maple foliage in the hills and farm woodlots peaked October 11 – 17, the approximate time frame that these images were recorded. Last night, a half inch of wet snow forced many leaves to the ground and moved us a bit closer to the next stage in the foliage festival: oak and aspen at Halloween!

Photos by NB Hunter. © All Rights Reserved.