Is it the last snow of the year?

Spring was arriving. Green shoots were poking through the ground and dead leaves. A few early bloomers were showing off their color. And then, the Polar Vortex dipped south. The Polar Vortex and I have had encounters before.

Then the snow came. Not a lot, and it melted fast. But it is cold outside! The cold has made the daffodils wilt and buds are likely damaged.

And the little bit of snow brings photo opportunities! I had my iPhone 5s with me and I found interesting images in the snow.

Is this the last snow? Every year, summer arrives. 2016 will not be an exception!

A Winter’s Expedition to See Eagles

Eagles on the Mississippi River are plentiful in winter, if the temperatures are right. Lock 14 has a viewing platform that gets filled with photographers trying to capture eagles, especially when they swoop down to grab a fish. It was about 15 degrees, and we were out about four hours, so being bundled up somewhat hampered movement. Or you just got cold hands.

 

The Gate That Goes Nowhere

The gate that goes nowhere - the influence of humans on nature
The gate that goes nowhere – the influence of humans on nature

My city is surrounded by Forest Preserves. We have lots of nature, places for hiking, photography opportunities, and a good view of the changing seasons in the Midwest. One of the newer Forest Preserves is St. James Farm, using property that was once a horse farm and equestrian showplace. I’ve been visiting St. James since the property was purchased. I’ve enjoyed visiting for walks, 5k runs and, of course, photography. Today I saw something I don’t remember seeing before: a gate that goes nowhere.

At some point in history, this gate likely was joined to a fence and allowed entrance to some aspect of the equestrian showplace. Today, it stands alone. There is no path visible in the snow. There is no fence connected to it. There doesn’t seem to be any reason for the gate to be there today. But as you travel through natural areas, you often see remnants of human occupation. It might be a cement foundation, or the remains of a building, or even pieces of glass or paper wrappers.

We leave a trace of ourselves in all natural places. Sometimes, it takes a major restoration to return a preserve to its former “natural” state. Sometimes, the human evidence become an abandoned building, falling apart and dangerous to enter.

Here, it is just a gate. That goes nowhere. I wonder what it was used for?

Impression of Seasons

There are many ways to mark the seasons of the year. Is there snow? Do I see green? Is anything blooming? Do I need to rake leaves? But for a photographer, it’s all about color and light.  Here are a few impressionist images that mark the seasons.

Spring Flower Favorites

These are a few of my favorite things….spring flowers! Every Spring, I get out to capture flowers as they emerge from the ground, bloom, and even die back.  I have almost 900 in my Spring Flower catalog and was trying to find the best one for the Nature Challenge. These didn’t make the final cut, but they are some of my favorites.