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Crowdfunded Photos: More Snow for Xjenavivex - The Wordsmith's Forge
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
ysabetwordsmith
ysabetwordsmith
Crowdfunded Photos: More Snow for Xjenavivex

xjenavivex was sufficiently charmed by my sample photos of snow and ice and then the first crowdfunded batch that she requested more, this time with an emphasis on trees and shadows.  The first is from the 2-3-11 shoot; the rest are from 2-4-11 when I shot in a different part of the yard.  Full-size images appear in my LJ scrapbook gallery.


Shot on 2-3-11, this picture looks northeast over our yard.  You can see a mulberry tree (left) and a black walnut tree (right) bracketing the orchard of apple, cherry, and pear in the background.  The little tree front and center is a golden raintree.  The vivid blue sky also shows up nicely.


On 2-4-11, I wanted to shoot in the ritual meadow, but snow and ice had draped many slim branches across the south entrance.  This is the view looking eastward into the meadow.


Then I went down to the prairie garden.  This is a mid-range view taken near the eastern end, looking out over the prairie.  A blanket of snow covers the dried stems of grasses, thistle, burdock, frost aster, goldenrod, and milkweed.  There are a few animal tracks left of center if you look very closely.


A closer view of the prairie garden emphasies the sparkling slopes of snow as they drape around the weeds in long skeins of shadow and light.


I love detail shots like this.  Here is a closeup of a single weed stem sticking above a drift.  Note that when snow is drifting, it tends to pile up around the least little obstacle.


The small grove of maple saplings bent nearly flat under the weight of ice.  This view catches the play of sun and shadows among the trees, shot looking northwest over the prairie garden.


Near the northwest corner, I found another sapling and some weeds arched to the ground by ice.  Under them the snow ripples softly.  The field in the background shows corn stubble poking through the snow.


This is a wide view of the prairie garden in winter, shot from the road looking eastward over the prairie.  The sun in the south is casting long blue shadows over the snow through the trees lining the southern edge of the prairie.

Here is a richly sculptured cluster of snowdrifts at the base of a spruce tree.  It's part of the Midwinter Grove along the north edge of our driveway; this one is near the road.  Evergreens catch the wind and spill snow in the lee of the branches ... regrettably positioned, as I said, at the north edge of our driveway.  Pretty to look at, heavy to shovel.


While I was busy with my camera, a cardinal landed in a nearby tree.  You can tell he's apprehensive because his little crest is folded flat to his head.  I only had time to snap one picture before he noticed me and scrammed, but I'm very pleased with the result.

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janetmiles From: janetmiles Date: February 6th, 2011 10:46 pm (UTC) (Link)
Those are gorgeous. I especially love the colors of the sky, and the sparkles on the snow in the two close shots.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: February 6th, 2011 11:11 pm (UTC) (Link)

Thank you!

I've learned that it's best to shoot snow or ice on sunny days. Without direct sun, I can get the shapes but not the textures. (Drawback is, I often have to shoot "blind" because the camera only shows me a blank white field.) I do aim for the sparkles. A favorite of the 2-3 shoot was the frozen leaf backed by out-of-focus glitter. I have some other ice pictures that really catch the light, too. An ice storm is worth trudging through the frigid yard for.

Sky is a challenging subject. Sometimes I get great colors, other times it fades out. If you look at the different sky images in this set, you can see that it's very bright overhead but pales toward the horizon. How well it picks up in pixels also varies. But I love pictures with a vivid sky, so I keep trying. I got some of a line of clouds behind an icy twig.
ideealisme From: ideealisme Date: February 7th, 2011 12:03 am (UTC) (Link)
What a vast expanse that prairie is - must be overwhelming sometimes. You live in a beautiful place.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: February 7th, 2011 02:04 am (UTC) (Link)

Yes...

It is beautiful here, at least in my eyes.

Our yard is about 2 1/2 acres. The prairie garden stretches from just inside the road along most of the north edge of our yard to where the old barn used to be, and it's as wide as the empty space to the treeline. While tiny for a prairie, it is in fact bigger than some "prairie gardens" I have seen in parks, and it's bigger than some whole yards I have seen in town. Certainly it is large enough and functional enough to attract wildlife, so I'm pleased to have it.

Overwhelming ... is when it needs to be mowed or raked. Yeah, then it looks like the size of Montana.
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ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: February 7th, 2011 02:00 am (UTC) (Link)

Yay!

>>I was surprised and happy to see the cardinal.<<

As soon as you requested the second set, I knew that I wanted to post that photo. It's exactly the kind of "surprise" scene that makes a winter hike worthwhile. Feel free to pop him into your story if you wish.

We have a thriving population of cardinals here (on about 2 1/2 acres). I've estimated about 6 pairs gathered around the birdfeeders on a busy day. There may be more in the yard total.

>> Thanks for showing me around in the snow. This was exactly what I was hoping for with this set.<<

I'm delighted to be of service. I figure sharing my yard makes it more useful and encourages other folks to take care of nature. Plus it's just more fun this way.
siege From: siege Date: February 7th, 2011 05:50 am (UTC) (Link)
That photo and its caption taught me something.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: February 7th, 2011 05:57 am (UTC) (Link)

Yay!

This makes me happy. May I ask what you learned from it?
siege From: siege Date: February 7th, 2011 05:59 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Yay!

It gave me a notion of how some birds express emotional states, much as other animals do with their ears or tails. I hadn't drawn the connection.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: February 7th, 2011 06:13 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Yay!

Oh, yeah. Far as I know, any bird with a crest signals emotion with it. But they don't all seem to say the same thing exactly. A flattened crest usually means the bird feels wary or unwell. A raised crest can mean aggression, sexual attraction, or simple interest. Some will flick their crests up and down when agitated.

The body feathers communicate too. In cold weather, birds fluff out their feathers to hold more air and heat. I call this the "bird thermometer" because the fatter they look, the colder it is outside. If I look out the window and the mourning doves look like basketballs, I know to wrap up extra. Some birds will fluff their feathers to make themselves look larger in a threat display. They'll also do that if they're sick, and they won't preen so they look ragged. Most birds will clamp their feathers down very flat if they are worried. The usual state of feathers is sort of loosely flattened.

If you watch birds closely, you can learn their "feather language," along with larger movements of wings, tail, head, etc. It tells a lot about what they are feeling or planning to do.

... and it doesn't take much to get me talking like the nature channel, does it? Shows what I get for growing up on PBS. ;)

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eseme From: eseme Date: February 7th, 2011 12:10 am (UTC) (Link)
Lovely! I particularly like the shot of the cardinal, because I know how much luck went into that.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: February 7th, 2011 02:06 am (UTC) (Link)

Thank you!

I almost never get good bird pictures, because most are shot through the windows. Doug's camera is nice, but there's a limit to how much zoom it can do -- it doesn't have interchangeable lenses. I can rarely manage to be outdoors with the birds, close enough to get a good picture.

Once in a while, though, one of them fails to notice me! *click*
eseme From: eseme Date: February 7th, 2011 03:14 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Thank you!

So true! They are such nervous creatures. Which makes that picture all the more precious.

I do also like the shadows, and enjoyed the snow drifts and dunes in the last set. I see snow all the time up here, but we have more trees to block the wind so we get much less natural drifting.
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