Signs of Winter

Winter does not officially start until later this month, but it certainly did not feel that way today.  It was quite cold this morning, below freezing, when we went out to Rileys Lock for a Sunday walk.  Another sure sign of the coming of winter is the arrival of the kinds of ducks that visit us only during that time of year.  The purchase of the new camera was motivation for me to go out looking for these birds once again after many years. I wanted to try the new equipment out.  Unfortunately, new and improved equipment does not necessarily make one a better photographer.  I got mixed results.  One major problem is that the birds are generally quite skittish and move away when they sense that somebody is around.   Here is what I managed to see and capture.

Ring necked ducks.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABuffleheads.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI believe these are American Wigeons.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd we even got some snow today, for the first time this season.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI am looking forward to more experiments with my new camera.

 

About The Pictures Submitted For the WPC: Abstract

This blog describes the nature of the pictures in my submission for the WPC this week on the topic “Abstract”.

The first and third picture are actually of ice (frost) formed on the windshield of a car on a cold winter morning.  The nature of the  ice pattern that day was unusual.  If I remember correctly, the second of these pictures was taken after I started the process of removing the ice using deicing fluid.

The second picture in the series is of a glass brick on a wall that I saw in a commercial location.  The picture was taken in the evening after sunset.  The glass was reflecting artificial light that was falling on it in a strange way.

The last picture is of a chandelier which hangs from the center of a dome at the Chicago Cultural Center.  The picture was taken from directly under the chandelier.  Here is a picture of the dome taken from the side.  You can see where the chandelier is suspended from.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Season

Unless I focus on the above topic from the perspective of the seasons in one’s life, I could end up going back to a familiar place and repeating myself in response to the weekly challenge since I have addressed the subject of the seasons in other photo challenges. (You can check our my submissions the past under the topics of Change, and also Happy Place.)

But I have no interest today in really saying anything about myself. Instead I will simply focus on this season of Winter up here in the northeast United States, and our experience of it during a walk we took last weekend on the C&O Canal towpath beside the Potomac.  We drove up to a section near Hagerstown, MD.

We ended up on a section of the trail in the area of Dam 4.
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The swiftly flowing river appears to be clear of ice in these parts.
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There is a still a layer of snow and ice on the trail.
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I suspect that some of the snow on the ground is from the blizzard a few weeks back.  The consistency of the white stuff has turned somewhat hard. There are larger ice crystals on the ground that catch the sunlight, and  we found that the surface was mostly capable of supporting our weight without giving in.  The traffic on the trail has been light before our arrival, and the snow has not compressed to ice (which would have made it a more slippery and dangerous path to traverse).  That having been said, it is still more difficult to walk on the snow than on the dirt.

The surface of the trail is not characterless.  There are the fallen branches that pop out of the ice.
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The dried leaves that have fallen on the ice can stand out.  I thought some of these even looked pretty.
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The leaves can even start a melting process since they seem to absorb the heat of the sun faster than the ice around them.
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The bladdernut pod has even created a cavity in the surface of the ice.
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And there is plenty of other life around.

The snow flies (are they also called stone flies?) are everywhere over the ice.
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There are plenty of bird sounds to be heard all around, from the cry of soaring hawks, to the loud “wuk, wuk” call of the pileated woodpecker.  There are many small birds in the bushes all around the trail.  These are difficult to spot unless one is looking carefully, but this little thrush was very cooperative.  It sat around while I took my time to change lenses to take its picture.
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Winter in our parts can certainly be more challenging than our other seasons, but there is still much to celebrate and enjoy if only you set you mind to it.

It is somewhat interesting to see the varied responses to this challenge.  Some of you in lower hemisphere are in the midst of summer (and a hot one in some places), while others in the northern hemisphere seem to be experiencing weather indicating that spring is on its way.  We are still in the throes of the winter season in our part of the world!

And Finally We Are Done With the Storm

The snow had stopped falling on the morning of the third day. We had to clear up our driveway one more time from the overnight snowfall. This is the final result after we got done.
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After that was done, we worked on digging a path to the front door through the snow piled over the walkway.
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We enjoyed watching our neighbor’s cat playing in the snow.
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Snow removal from the patio in the back was started because of concern about the patio collapsing from the weight of the snow.
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The fourth day dawned with the cul-de-sac still not cleared of snow.  I was anticipating another day of being stuck in the home.
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But we were pleasantly surprised by the morning arrival of the snow clearing equipment.
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The guy driving the red pickup truck noticed me taking pictures from a window and did me a favor by breaching the wall in the snow in front of our driveway with a single run with his snow shovel.
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And then we were completely clear after some more work expanding the breach to the width of the driveway.  The mail box can even be reached!
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And hopefully that is that for this storm!

PS. As you can see, the front section of our roof is clear of snow because of the solar panels.  It all came sliding down with a massive thump on the evening of the second day.  Our neighbors all still have snow on their roofs.

After the Storm

It is the day after the storm.  And what a beautiful day it is!

As the sun rose over the cul-de-sac,
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It began to shine its warm light over the smooth snow, and tops of the plants tall enough to peek out over their cover of white.
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There is not a cloud in the sky.
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But yesterday was another matter..

We confronted by a wall of snow when we started cleaning out the driveway just before noon.
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This was perhaps the only time I stopped working before the job was complete.
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When we came back later in the evening to complete the job, there was probably another foot of snow on the ground when we started.
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We finally got the job done after the sun had set.
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We will still have some clean-up activity today.  It will probably be a day or two before the snow plows make it to our cul-de-sac and clear the roads so that we can get out of the community.  They will probably leave a wall of snow in front of our driveway that we will have to breach in order to break free.

This was the amount of snow that collected on the table in the patio yesterday evening.
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Lets see what adventures are in store for us today!

 

Half way through the Blizzard

I wrote yesterday about the blizzard that we were expecting. It is now the morning of the next day. We are now more than half way through the storm and have received more than a foot of snow.  The snowfall is only expected to taper down later in the day.

It was quite pretty outside last night.   It looked very peaceful in spite of the snow coming down, or perhaps because of it.

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This morning we awakened to the wind and the following sights.

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The night was quieter than I expected.  In the past, under similar conditions, we have awakened to the sounds of the house reacting to the storm, and to the sound of the wind whistling into the home through unsealed cracks in the window sides.  That has not happened this time, perhaps due to the work we had done this summer sealing up the windows.

Our neighbors have already started clearing their driveways.  Perhaps it is time for us to start.