Iced

An after market telephoto lens with really terrible optics can still create intriguing images with its distortion. In these images, rain falling through 29-degree air is coating branches and pine needles with ice.
Branches with icicle stubs. Having fun with terrible aftermarket lens. Jan. 11, 2015.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Warmth

This week’s photo challenge is all about warmth.

The sun, peeking out from under a cloud deck, gave the illusion of warmth on a morning with wind chills in the 20s. The shake on this hand-held seven-second exposure (shivering?) gave this an almost flame-like effect.

New Year's Eve sunrise.
New Year’s Eve sunrise.
Sunrise
What the sunrise looked like without the zoom and the camera shake.

Other eye warming entries:

Fall gallery

Gadzooks! We’ve been off WordPress for a month? Here’s a gallery for a little catching up on some of October’s sights.

Autumn morning, Arkansas style

We’d wondered over the last few weeks if autumn’s tremendous show would ever come to town and lamented that the color change seemed to be later than in previous years. Some years you can see the trees begin to change as early as August. However, fall finally came through and here’s what we saw before going to work last Thursday. (Be sure to click on the image to see a larger version.)

Fall foliage at sunrise.
COAT OF MANY COLORS — Fall spreads its colors over the Arkansas Ouachitas. Taken Nov. 13, 2014. (pano was stitched from multiple photos)

Weekly Photo Challenge: Nighttime

No exotic locations. No great landmarks.  Just nighttime as seen from our deck tonight through a 30-second exposure.

Night time horizon
Looking southeastward from our deck. Little Rock’s city lights are glowing in the distance. Stars sparkling on the right.

And other visions in the night that we liked:

Beauty underneath

Sometimes, the side facing away from the sun presents a better view. These fungi, a rather nondescript white on the top, were quite elaborate underneath. Gazing up the trunk of this tree, the beautiful and distinct rills and curves reminded me of the elaborate scrolls of a Corinthian column capital.

Fungus rills

Winter vs. Spring. Round 3

And the winner is … Spring!

Arkansas did have one more round of snow on St. Patrick’s Day, with enough ice and snow to cause a 10- to 15-car pileup that shut down I-630 during the morning commute. However, Spring has gotten down to business and has taken the state in its firm grip.

Violets
Violets grow on a rocky Ouachita mountain slope.
White tree blossoms.
Beautiful blossoms, but the tree is a mystery.
Robin in nest.
Mama robin minds her nest in a tulip tree at the office.

 

Spring puts its foot in the door

Winter-weary as we are and with a chance of snow lingering in Tuesday’s forecast, spring is struggling to keep its foot in the door. In downtown Little Rock, trees are showing lots of bud swell, with blooms and leaves ready to burst forth. Further west, on campus, daffodil leaves have pushed above the soil. Here on the mountain, we’re a few weeks behind. However, spring is showing its colors. Below are photos taken this morning.

2-23-SpringFloral
SWEET — This very sweet smelling shrub is among the first to bloom each spring, but this year, it preceded even the violets.
2-23-Houstonia
PROTECTED — A bluet pushes up between fall leaves.

 

Weekly photo challenge: Beginning

 

This week’s photo challenge, “beginning,” is an excellent way to start the year. Our entry represents the beginning of a new cycle for our native dogwood trees. These buds are just awaiting spring’s arrival. (The beginning of spring seems like a long way away when the wind chill is in the single digits. Brrrrr.)

Dogwood buds ready for the beginning of spring.
Dogwood buds ready for the beginning of spring.

Other beginnings we liked this week: